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Jessica Mudd

Ashlyn Williams
UWRT 1103
October 19, 2014

Assignment Two: Research Paper

Topic Proposal
In the creation of Jerry Bruckheimers Pirates of the Caribbean he includes very strong female
roles, roles that are very uncommon for the time period in which his movies take place. The role of
women in the mid-1800s was very male influenced as they were forced to mainly do house work and
take care of the family. However, Jerry Bruckheimer decided to take these common ideals for women in
society and create a character that would branch out from these forced roles. Elizabeth would become
the brave female role that starts as a wealthy British house wife, being forced to marry the Commodore
for money. She later evolves into a member of a pirate crew, and eventually would become Captain and
King of the Brethren Court. The transition from her life being led by the rules of man, to leading groups
of men would show Jerry Bruckheimers ideas to show a female role as a lead role in society. This movie
series touches on the roles of women in Early Britain and the ways in which women began to break
away from common ideals of society. I will discuss the ways that women were able to challenge the
rules of man to create equality in society, and how the media through time has targeted all audiences to
create a large influence on the way we as a society see women.

Introduction
A Young girl named Elizabeth, captivated by the beauty of the sea, stands staring out into the
vast ocean aboard a grand, Royal Navy vessel. She stands wide eyed and begins to remember mythical
stories her father had told her as an infant about his brave adventures with pirates. At the end of the
opening scene a final gaze into the distance shows a large, black sailed, pirate ship. There is an eerie
gaze surrounding the ship and as it rides off into the distance. The story begins with Elizabeths
realization that there are other communities out there besides her known life and role in Port Royal. She
finds that there is adventure and trouble lurking in the waters of the Caribbean and she is intrigued by
these ideas. Elizabeth gets a taste of fear and adventure and realizes that there is more to aspire to than
the role she is assigned to society. She is expected to live a life of the Governors daughter, to be a role
model to the less fortunate members of society, and to make her father look like he has raised a wellrounded lady. However, Elizabeth seeks adventure; she is not the kind of girl to be placed under
restrictions for her own life. She constantly challenges her role in society, by willingly going captive
aboard Captain Barbosas ship to save Port Royal from being attacked and overcome by pirates. She also
is not willing to follow the rules that women are expected to keep their crude thoughts to themselves, in
the beginning of the first film she tells William that she has dreams about him and when they first met.
This is not a proper behavior for women in Port Royal in the mid-1800s. Elizabeth continually tries to

take lead of situations and offers her opinion whenever she feels it is necessary. A women like Elizabeth
in Port Royal in this time period would have been punished with being deemed an adulterer, possibly
sentenced to jail time for challenging the rules of man in the community, and would have been
considered socially unacceptable for her opinionated and impulsive behaviors.
Throughout the first film we are seeing the storyline from Elizabeths point of view. Being a
young women in Britain during this time period, Elizabeth was expected to behave, and dress a certain
way. The story takes this idea of women in early Britain and portrays Elizabeth as the rebel to the
stereotypes of the time period. She takes on a brave, leadership role throughout the film and challenges
the roles of men in multiple communities. As the films progress it is apparent that Elizabeths role in
society changes as well. She evolves as a character from the first film to the third film in the series. In
the first movie she is presented as a High Class young lady. It is obvious that she was raised to live
under certain standards for women in the time period, her wardrobe and her feminine edicate are two
great examples of a typical wealthy lady in Old England. Throughout the movie Elizabeth is introduced to
different communities within the Caribbean. She is brave enough to go captive with members of a pirate
crew in order to bargain with the Captain to free Port Royal from the attack. She begins to see how
other people live throughout the Mid-Atlantic in this time period and slowly breaks away from her
society depicted role. By the third movie Elizabeth has become fully involved in the pirate community
and is an active part of Captain Barbosa and Captain Jacks crew. She is obviously a character of power
by the third movie, she becomes independent and no longer follows the commands of men in any
community. She has a voice and expresses her own opinions and ideas just as a man of power would. A
women in Port Royal in the mid-1800 is supposed to follow the rules of men, cook, clean, and tend to
the family and the household. Never should a women express any of their own emotions, and they must
have proper edicate. As Elizabeth evolves from being a women of society to becoming the Pirate King
she breaks away from any and all of these ideals. She takes situations into her own hands, she plots,
steals and lies just like any other pirate within the crew.
Jerry Bruckheimers Idea of using Elizabeth Swan as a symbol for women and the roles of
women in the time period is a popular topic that we still see in our own society today. The role of
women and female rights is an ongoing source of debate and changing ideas. Before we look at the topic
of evolution of the roles of women through time, it is important that I identify my position on this topic.
Being a women of modern day society I am interested with the character Elizabeth, and what the roles
of women were like in previous times. I like to think that I am a very independent women; seeing the
character of Elizabeth evolve into a very independent leadership role shows me that some women who
were forced to live to ideal standards could break free from their assigned roles in society. Women have
always touched on the subjects that Jerry Bruckheimer addresses through Elizabeth in the movie series.
Women have expressed their opinions on being expected to dress and act a certain way under the rule
of man for years. It has been an ongoing matter as society evolves that women have always been
expected to play the inferior role to men and arent expected to support themselves or their families.
That was always the role of the man, women were looked down on as the house wives that werent
capable of playing a leadership role. Jerry Bruckheimer uses Elizabeth to show a feminist role; her role
expresses a women who started under the rule of man and became a leader over all men in her
community. He took a common perception of a young women living in England and turned her into the
leasing role that no women was ever expected to have. This sparks a debate on the ever changing roles
of women through our history to today. Women have taken remarkable steps towards equality to men

in everyday society. The subject that I will touch on is ever changing and provokes continual research
and ideas of women as todays society changes.

Review of Relevant Literature


While gathering my sources there were many different themes in my research that surfaced
about ideas that can be found in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. The movie series touches on a wide
variety of ideas about life in the mid-Atlantic during the 1800s and how piracy and gender influenced
the roles of people in society. The themes I found in my research were, gender and fashion influence on
society in Early Britain, Relationships between characters in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, the
relation between Piracy and Early England, and the roles of pirates in the mid-1800s. A theme that has
been prevalent in our society since the early 1700s is the idea of dominance, a sense of power and glory.
In early British society gender and fashion played huge roles in who had power, and who was un-fit
to have a dominant role in society. Throughout history it has become a re-occurring idea that if you are a
wealthy, male figure in society you have authority over others. This was the idea in early British society,
if you were part of the dominant male gender you had power; if you were a wealthy individual in society
you had power.
These ideals were enforced and not many individuals questioned them, citizens let these ideals
come about as the society developed. But what about those who thought these ideals were the unfair
and full of crap. Although my sources touched directly on the roles of women in early British society
they failed to mention how women challenged the roles placed on them in society. Most women in
society were set apart from the start as being worth no more than their ability to cook and clean. What
a degrading role that was. Unfortunately it was a rare event when a women would actually defend her
rights to be an equal citizen in society. However, it did occasionally happen. Women would challenge
the roles of men in society by striking, going into the work field undercover as men, and forming
societies that shared the same goal of equality among men and women.

Entering the Conversation


The idea of women coming to power has been a popular topic for TV, movies, and stories since
the early 1800s when women first began to challenge these rules. Jerry Bruckheimers Pirates of the
Caribbean is a great example of a movie that takes a common role of a women and changes her into a
leader, and a hero. He creates a sense of a bad ass women with his character Elizabeth, by creating
her to be a bold, witty character who says exactly what comes to her mind no matter the consequences.
Although, women were seen as incapable of playing a lead role in society, Elizabeth, provides a great
example of a women with a strong will to change the ideals of women in Early Britain. Elizabeth joins a
pirate crew and breaks away from her common life as a house wife in Port Royal; she learns the trades
and tricks of the pirate crews around the mid-Atlantic and makes her way to becoming a Captain of her
own crew. She uses her intuition as an asset and slowly puts her own opinions and ideals into the pirate
community. She is then elected as King of the Brethren Court, a well-known pirate association that
makes the rules of the pirate community.
Social media today has created more and more works with strong female leading roles. The
inclusion of a powerful women role interests both men and women in todays society. Men find it hot
when a women plays a lead role and shows independence, making them more desirable and mysterious,

like a challenge. Women see a strong female role as a role model for their own lives, they have a desire
to be like the women they see and read about in media being leaders today. We can see the idea of
women challenging their given roles in society through many different forms of media. The movie Shes
the Man, by Andy Fickman and the Disney movie Mulan are perfect examples of stories with the idea of
females taking on lead roles. The popular Disney movie Mulan features a young Chinese women who
doesnt want to see her elderly, wounded father be drafted into the war. She knows that if her father
goes off to fight again that there is a good chance he may die. She takes matters into her own hands and
becomes the lead role in the movie when she joins the army illegally, in the place of her father. She cuts
all her hair off and steals all her fathers army gear to head off to war. Women in China were not
allowed to fight in the army, she went to defend her father anyways. This shows a great example of one
of the many ways women challenged their roles in society, they took the place of men undercover and
showed their own strengths proving that they were just as useful as men and should be treated as
equals. In the movie Shes the Man, by Andy Fickman, Viola Hastings lives in a family that has high
expectations of her becoming a well rounded lady. Her mother desires for her to become a debutant
and a pageant queen; However, Viola wants to play professional soccer. After the girls soccer team and
her school gets cut for more funding towards the guys team, she goes to college in her brothers place to
prove that she has the same skill level as the college boys soccer team. Viola cuts all her hair off and
disguises herself as her brother, when she makes the team and wins the championship game for the
college her coach re-considers cutting the girls team.
The media today shifts our ways of thinking and interpreting the roles of women in modern
society. These examples show that the idea of changing the roles of women in society target not only
older audiences but our societys youth and children. Mulan is a popular childrens movie and Shes the
Man targets a teen audience; media takes these ideas and puts them into a younger targeted
populations to bring about gradual growth through time of these ideas. Today we view men and women
more as equal members of society then we did back before media and groups of women challenged the
idea that men were the dominate species. It is less common to see a women have to fight for her rights
to society today. The sources in my research mention how women were expected to act and what roles
they played to society then verses now, but they never mentioned how we as a female society got from
point A to point B. Rosa Parks was one of the greatest influences to womens rights and black rights
throughout American history. She stood up for her beliefs as a black women and did not give up her seat
on the bus for a white man. She became a leader and was in charge of her own decisions in that
situation. Because of her actions she became a great inspiration for women all throughout American
history.
Although there has been great significant change in the way women are viewed in society today
verses back in the early 1700-1800s, there is still a great deal of male influence over the female
population. In Jerry Bruckheimers Pirates of the Caribbean move series, he includes the ideas of female
change from the time period he set his movies in, to todays society. His reasoning for doing so was to
show the audiences in todays society how the roles of women have changed from early British
civilization to modern day. In the time period the movies were set in it was looked down upon for
women to have any authority in society. Because it was so common for men chose the roles of women
in society women began let this unfair authority go unnoticed. Women had become used to the roles
that they were expected to play in society, even though they were being set unequal to men. Rarely
would women challenge dominate male roles in society. When women would stand up for their rights

they became heroes; Elizabeth became a hero in Jerry Bruckheimers Pirates of the Caribbean movie
series. The purpose of showing a strong female role in the movie was to explain to the audience the
roles of women in the mid-1800s verses the role of women in society in 2003. The same roles of women
that we see today were very different from the roles that were expected of women in the mid-1800s.
Women were forced to do house labor and were expected to act a certain way, clearly through time
something had to trigger the change that would gradually evolve the way society saw women. What the
sources in my research fail to mention is that it was the influence of strong women, like Jerry
Bruckheimers character, Elizabeth Swan, that would change the ideals of women in society. In 2003
women were thought of as having a more equal role to men then would have been present in the time
period that Elizabeth lived in in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Throughout the evolution of
womens roles in society from the mid-1800s to 2003 there has been an easily distinguished change, and
from 2003 to today in 2014 we have seen even more change in womens roles in society. In the past
couple of years we have seen women run for congress, president, and take on lead roles in society that
would have been completely unacceptable in the time period the Pirates of the Caribbean was set in.

Conclusion
Womens roles in society has been a popular topic through history as we look back on life from
the mid-1800 to our present day lives. Women have been portrayed as inferior to men in the past, and
these ideals still exist in todays society. Their roles to society being summarized as caretakers, in charge
of taking care of the house and family while the man provides for the family. The man is looked on to
support women because they were thought of as incapable of doing so. These ideals made women
categorized as the weaker gender and inferior to the powerful men of society. Jerry Bruckheimer
includes very strong female roles, roles that are very uncommon for the time period in which his series,
Pirate of the Caribbean, takes place. He touches on the roles of women in Early Britain and how women
begin to challenge the rule of man through his leading role, Elizabeth Swan. The purpose for my
research was to examine and explain the ways that women were able to challenge the rules of man to
create equality in society, and how the media targets all audiences to create a large influence on the
way society sees women.
I observed Jerry Bruckheimers character Elizabeth Swan, her ability to break away from
common ideals of women in her time period interested me. I began to question the ways other women
in real scenarios challenged the roles of men in early societies, and what the roles of women were like in
previous times. As Elizabeth evolved into a very independent leadership role Jerry Bruckheimer shows
his audience that some women who were forced to live to ideal standards could break free from their
assigned roles in society. He uses Elizabeth to show a strong female role; her role expresses a women
who started under the rule of man and became a leader over all men in her community. Although Jerry
Bruckheimer creates a story showing the measures a women had to take to defend herself in her
society, most of the research on this topic didnt touch on all the actions women took to break away
from ideals. Instead the research would skate around the subject, telling the audience about the success
the women had and talking about powerful women in history. The research failed to include how the
women came to be powerful leaders in society.
Women would form protest groups, go on strikes, and disguise themselves as men in society
and perform jobs to prove that they could do the same work men could do. This is important to the
evolution of equality in society among men and women because it shows how society got to where it is

today. Women would challenge the roles of men and demand equality, if women had never performed
these actions society could possibly still be male favored. Women today such as Hilary Clinton are great
examples of women who have the goals of leadership and equality in society. Hilary Clinton was the first
women to run for U.S Presidential office, this was a large step for women in todays society and shows
how women can stand up to men. In the Disney Movie Mulan, Mulan goes to war dressed as her father
in his place to prove that she can defend her father and she can be a member of the army. Another
contribution to the way we see women in society today is through social media. Social media today has
created more and more works with strong female leading roles. The inclusion of a powerful women role
interests both men and women in todays society. This is important because it tells us that the media
can have a large effect on the way we see ourselves as women in todays society. The media can have
both a negative and positive impact on the evolution of strong female leaders. Articles and images that
depict women as nothing more that objects to look at are demeaning to us as a gender group. This kind
of negative media can backtrack equality among men and women in society.
From here we can conclude that the evolution of womens roles in society is an ongoing topic
that can be further researched as the evolution of our society continues. The roles of women in society
has been changing since the start of human society and will continue to change as time passes. Women
in society today have made drastic change since the mid-1800, women and men are closer to an equal
role in society then could be seen in earlier time periods. As evolution of society continues there is no
telling if women will eventually become the dominant gender, or if they will recede back into the
weaker gender of society, or if society will continue to work toward equality between men and
women. Further research can be conducted on this idea that women may eventually become the
dominant gender in society. The idea of where women will go next in society is a popular idea that can
be further explored and examined as society progresses through time.

References

Williams, J. (n.d.). Pirates and Power. Retrieved January 1, 2013.


Williams talks about the role of Elizabeth in the movie series using five main power bases that
can been seen in her character throughout the movie (referent, coercive, reward, legitimate, and
expert). Williams discusses Elizabeths referent power over her father, Governor Swan, and
Commodore Norrington, who intends to marry her. She has referent power over them because both will
do whatever it takes to protect her and defend her. Williams also discusses how Elizabeth takes on a
lead role in her society and manipulates situations in her surroundings. She has coercive power over
Barbosa and his pirate crew when she decides to come aboard the Black Pearl as captive and uses the
threat of dropping the cursed gold into the ocean as her own personal leverage against the pirates. The
article touches not only on Elizabeth as a whole character but the instances in the movies where she has
significant power over other characters, giving her a lead role.

Pomerance, M. (2005, January 1). Johnny Depp Starts Here. Retrieved January 1, 2005.
Pomerance discusses the appeal of the character Jack Sparrow, and why he becomes one of the
more interesting characters that Jerry Bruckheimer creates for the film series. His eccentric image
attracts attention to viewers and implies a mysterious personality of his character. Jack Sparrow is one
of Johnny Depps roles that he felt he could connect to, he put some of his own conflicting personality
into his acting of the character Jack Sparrow. In the Movie Jack Sparrow is a sneaky, conniving, but also
heroic character. He has taken on multiple personalities in the movie series. From leading enemies to
the whereabouts of the pirates in order to save his own life, to sacrificing his chances to rule the Flying
Dutchman to save Williams life. Pomerance also talks a great deal about how Johnny Depp as an actor
has an influence on all of his roles. His background, his smoking habits, and his gaze, and his looks can
help create the character as well. The role of the character is more than just the acting but also how the
actor presents himself or how he looks.

Shapiro, S. (2004, January 1). Sex, Gender, and Fashion in Medieval and Early Modern Britain.
Retrieved January 1, 2004.
Shapiro talks about the way that men and women dressed in Early Britain were to show the
important differences between masculinity and effeminacy in society. Women were to dress mainly
in dresses to show their femininity in society, they were not allowed to wear pants or show and kind of
masculinity as that would be against the ideals of society. Men would wear Pants and often a frilled shirt
or blouse, this would show masculinity in the time period. When it becomes a topic of social rank we see
men competing with each other using clothing. Men who were of higher social standing would dress
regal. Gold and paisley patterning woven into clothing would convey the message to others that the
man had a great deal of money and power.

Wiesner, M. (2000). Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe (2nd ed., Vol. 2).

Wiesner talks about the roles of society in Early Modern Europe and how most societies were
ruled by kings. The role of the common man in early modern Europe was to serve the crown. Wiesner
discusses the way the governors staff and household furnished a means by which to knit ties of
clientage with important local nobleman, thereby reorienting their interests to serve the crown. The
important citizens in a given society would form alliance to make sure the rest of society was doing what
was depicted by the king and following orders of superiors. The article describes women in Early
Modern Europe as caretakers, those who tended to the needs of man. The common European navy was
to serve the crown as well. The kings orders were strictly followed by army generals, the navy worked
to protect the land of the crown and the people of the crown. The gradual establishment of this
administrative framework made societies in Early Europe equipped for war and rebellion with other
societies.

Ali, T. (n.d.). Pirate of the Caribbean: Axis of Hope.


Ali talks about the tales of pirates and pirate crews that were present in the Caribbean in the
Early 1800s. The book guides us through a world divided between privilege and poverty. Hugo Chavez
was the foremost challenger of the neoliberal consensus and American foreign policy, and was outlawed
by the Venezuelan elites, and Western governments. He became a pirate to the Caribbean region
because he decided to undermine the government and pillage for himself and members of the poor
Venezuelan community. He was looked at as a hero for the poor by deliberately taking from western
governments, this was an example of the meaning of piracy in the early 1800s. The book was written to
show the views of pirates and piracy from both the governments point of view and the poor
Venezuelan societys point of view. Chavezs radical social-democratic reforms have brought him
worldwide acclaim among the poor.

Vitkus, D. (2001). Piracy, Slavery, and Redemption: Barbary Captivity Narratives From Early
Modern England (3rd ed., Vol. 2). JSTOR.
Vitkus discusses the relationships between pirates, the British Navy, and other cultures in Early
England throughout the 1800s. Barbary Captivity narratives provide an important lens through which to
view and understand the diplomatic, economic, and cultural relationships between early modern English
Protestants and their captives. The book includes the history of capturing persons convicted of piracy
through England, Scotland, and Ireland in the time period when piracy was most popular. Captivity
brought about an intermixing of peoples, races, and religions that were rarely seen during this time
period of history. Piracy was a way for Englishmen to examine and understand the accounts of the
customs and cultural practices and general ways of life of the captives; most commonly the Moors and
North Africans. The periods of captivity allowed the British to gain an insight of the types of societies
that were based off a system of piracy. The British could better understand the cultural practices of
those they captured giving them a strategic edge over the societies dealing with piracy.

Pollock, E. (2014). Popular Culture, Piracy, and Outlaw Pedagogy: A Critique of the
Miseducation of Davy Jones (2nd ed., Vol. 1). Google Scholar.
Pollock Discusses his works in Popular Culture, Piracy, and Outlaw Pedagogy which explores the
relationship between power and resistance by critiquing the popular cultural image of the pirate

represented in Pirates of the Caribbean. Pollock talks about the relations mainly existing between
Sparrow and Jones by discussing their corruption to society and their differences of leadership roles
through the given society. What became evident in Pollocks research is how corruption through
imperial and colonial codifications within seventeenth century systems of culture, class hierarchies, and
language succeeded in its representation of the pirates in pirates of the Caribbean. This erasure is
apparent in Western portrayals of Somali pirates as corrupt Beings without any acknowledgement of a
government role in provoking pirate resurgence in that region. What we learn from Pollock in the article
on pirates is that the pirates teach us and are potential ways to stimulate the erasure process by
engaging a pedagogy of passion, purpose, radical love and loyalty.

McClung, G. (n.d.). Leader As Buccaneer. Retrieved January 1, 2007.


McClung talks about our societys interest in pirates and the actions of pirates. In the Article
McClung says, Perhaps it is the perceived life of danger that they led, their apparent devil-may-care
attitude, or our tendency to glamorize those who rebel against the system. This quote is the main
purpose for the works of the article. At first glance pirates, privateers, and buccaneers may not be the
best examples of role models in society; however, there is evidence that suggests differing and new
perspectives of this topic. In the Pirates of the Caribbean movies we see Jack sparrow as a character who
has no regard for law or a system of rules; however, this is not the case. Jack Sparrow takes on a
management role as a pirate Captain, he takes on the responsibility to manage an utterly rebellious
crew, manage tensions between others involved in the crew, practice a brand of servant-leadership, and
adhere to a pirate code of ethics and values.

Leeson, P. (n.d.). An-Arrgh-chy: The Law and Economics of Pirate Organizations. Retrieved
January 1, 2007.
Lesson talks about the system of governing that pirates form and follow, a guide of ethics and
laws that all pirates must follow in order to form a functioning society. Throughout time it has been a
stereotype that pirates have no sense of governing and can do whatever they please, these ideas
created by man through time are false and it is apparent as we look back at facts from the past. Pirates
required mechanisms to prevent internal predation, minimalize crew conflicts, and maximize piratical
profit. Pirate crews had systems of checks and balances to constrain Captain Predation. Pirates used
democratic constitutions to minimize conflict and minimize piratical law and order. Pirate governance
created a system of laws and order that made pirates the most successful and sophisticated criminal
organizations in history.

Mudd, J. Assignment One: Pirates of the Caribbean, October 2 nd 2014


In Assignment One I talk about the figured world of the Pirates of the Caribbean and how Jerry
Bruckheimer created a world in his movie series that contributes behavioral ideas different from our
own society. In my observations of the Pirates of the Caribbean, I include my findings on the artifacts,
communities of practice, practices of the community, and the actors in the figured world. These terms
help the audience to understand the main purposes of the figured world and what ideals are present in
the figured world. I took observations of 30-45 minute periods of the first three movies in the series and
recorded my observations of the behaviors, ideas, and actions in the specific segment of the movie. The
observations include the main plot of the movie and how the characters are connected to the figured
world and to each other. The last portion of assignment one was to conduct interviews of other fans and

supporters of the movie series. This portion of Assignment One gives the audience other points of view
of the movies over my impressions of the movie. This makes my findings less bias and includes the view
points and ideals of others who are interested in the movie series as well. My interview questions
discussed how the characters in the movie were connected to one another, how the behaviors in the
movie differed from our society today, and what scenes in the movie stood out the most to the purpose
of the films.