Thursday, August 11, 2011

We need a feminist pirate, savvy?

The good news: The fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie (On Stranger Tides) has a kick-ass, strong, swashbuckling female pirate (Angelica, played by Penelope Cruz) who can impersonate Captain Jack Sparrow and get away with it. She and Jack have a playful, love-hate relationship, and she gives as good as she gets. Jack loves her for her feistiness. I thought she was an improvement on Elizabeth Swann, whose primary purpose in life was to look lovely and be with her man.

The bad news: Captain Jack deflowered her and then left her when she was a young nun. She is devoted to her father, a horribly violent pirate who only values her for the sacrifice she makes. She gives up her life and her values to him, and he uses her and discards her.

The good news: Johnny Depp.

The bad news: 'Nuff said. I saw the movie because of Johnny Depp. Yes, I am shallow.

The good news: Kieran loved the movie.

The bad news: I abhorred the mermaids storyline; in fact I thought it was incredibly sexist.

First we have sexy mermaids--who lure men to their death underwater
Then we have soft porn, horror mermaids--who are quite terrifying as they attack the men and pull them under

And then we have prisoner mermaid--naked in a glass coffin
Let's see how many female stereotypes we can fit in here: sexy, beautiful, and alluring; deadly, sexualized man killers (ala vagina dentata); imprisoned; and sacrificial. Most critics were not crazy about the film, but most of them also did not point out this disturbing and blatant sexism.

I think it's high time for a proper female pirate film as the next sequel in the Pirates franchise. No man-eating mermaids please! I'd like a sequel with Angelica taking on her own adventures...maybe she should rescue Jack Sparrow in the next film.

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