It’s a problem everywhere really.

Hailey: Today at school we talked about the gender gap against female pirates.

me:  Um…what?

Hailey:  It’s very male-dominated and also men make more, which is totally not cool.

me:  I mean, I guess there are probably more male pirates than female pirates.

Hailey:  Huh?

me:  But honestly I’m just not sure that being a pirate is even an occupation I’d  want more representation in.

Hailey: Why are you talking about pirates?

me:  Me? You’re the one talking about pirates.

Hailey: What?  PILOTS. We talked about the gender gap against PILOTS. Pirates don’t even exist.

me:  Oh.  That makes more sense.  And also pirates totally exist.  Terrible, sexist pirates.

126 thoughts on “It’s a problem everywhere really.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I was going to mention Mary Read and Anne Bonny but since you were talking about pilots I don’t have to.

  2. My understanding is that sexism is a prerequisite for pirates. Something about that whole “wench” thing, as I recall.

  3. Pirates are nowhere near as cool as Disney would have you believe. Neither are pilots. Except possibly Capt. Sully.

  4. Did you by chance babysit a boy named Frederick? This is totally the beginning of The Pirates of Penzance

  5. The pirating industry actually goes out of its way to hide job openings from women by referring to the position as “privateer” in the classifieds. If they used the word pirate, everyone would understand that the perks include parrot and eye patch ownership, creating a landslide of applicants for very few openings.

  6. I’d lend you my hearing aid, but I find life more interesting when you mishear things 😸 PS pirates are def sexist, but pilots shouldn’t be!

  7. Pirates tend to be men because really, would YOU want to be trapped on a boat for months at a time with a bunch of dudes? Where soap doesn’t lather properly in seawater and nobody’s invented deodorant yet, so everyone stinks? Women are way smarter than that.

  8. Playing Pirates advocate here cuz I’m pretty sure they’re gonna get an unfair hearing.

    I’ve seen the standard issue blouses they have to wear, not to mention the long hair. Pretty sure there are a few women in the mix. And I get it… chance to travel, and say “arrrr Matey” as much as we want.

  9. It’s My understanding that a lot of commercial pilots are former military (air force) so I expect you see some carryover from that environment, with limited opportunities for women. Then of course the vicious cycle where lack of experirnce translates to lower pay and fewet assignments, leading to lack of experience…

  10. 1) Pirates totally exist. 2) Piracy has, historically, always been a career in which the gender gap is marginal. As fields with upward mobility go, I’d highly recommend it for marginalized demographic groups.

  11. Actually female pilots are paid exactly the same as male pilots based on years of service…I’ve clearly lost my sense of humor today….sorry. 🙁

  12. Yeah, pirates definitely exist. And they totally backseat drive when the women have the wheel, and the girls have to swab the deck while the dudes drink rum. And let’s not even talk about the outfits the women have to wear.

  13. Mary Read & Anne Bonney, who sailed with Calico Jack Rackham and told him at his execution “If you had fought like a man, you’d not have been hanged like a dog”.

    Ching Shih, a former prostitute who took control of her late husband’s pirate fleet, married his first lieutenant after he died, and terrorized the coast of China for decades.

    Gráinne Ní Mháille who divorced a husband at the top of her lungs from the top of the tower she got as part of the marriage settlement, and later fought a sea battle within hours of having given birth on shipboard. She was known as the She-Wolf of Galway.

    There may not have been many female pirates, but the ones we know about were AWESOME~!

  14. Well, I guess pirating, in the seas that is, is also a very male dominated field of work, so I suppose you’re not wrong. Cheers! hahaha

  15. This happens between me and my son all the time. He’ll say something and I’ll say, “Why are you going to kidnap a gerbil?!” and he’ll say, “What the hell are you talking about?” because he’s 21 and can swear in front of his mother now and I’ll tell him that I was sure he mentioned needing to kidnap a gerbil and he’ll tell me “You never listen! I’m not repeating things for you anymore!” and I will tell him that when he is old, conversations will be more interesting for him, too.

  16. My NIECE is a PILOT! Really! She flies commercial airplanes – full of people and their baggage. That’s a lot of responsibility, which is definitely why there should be more female pilots. And pirates.

  17. Every Halloween I am amazed that kids dress up as pirates, when pirates do in fact exist and are horrible, murdering assholes. They are not remotely like Johnny Depp. People think that pirates don’t exist because they’ve been portrayed in Hollywood as cool characters. They aren’t. Watch the full movie of “Captain Phillips”, or better yet read the book the real Cap. Phillips wrote, which is called “A Captain’s Duty”, for a glimpse of what real pirates are like.
    Oh that’s really not the subject here. Sorry! Just had to say it.

  18. pirates exist, they just have smaller boats now, but to be fair the 2008 Recession economically effected us all.

  19. I’m curious now what Hailey’s class was taught the reason for the discrepancy is. My first guess was being away from home for long stretches, like long-haul truckers (but without the hemorrhoids and bad backs).

  20. Years ago when my husband’s cousins were little girls they were excited about their first airplane ride and asked if they could go see the pirates.

  21. LOL so much like my house. When this happens I always picture the little old lady with hearing problems from SNL as portrayed by Gilda. “Oh – that’s very different then. Never mind.”

  22. Think of all the burning and pillaging women are missing out on. And wenches! I’m not opposed to wenches. Sounds much more fun than working in an office. They won’t even let us burn candles here.

  23. I don’t know what was funnier to read — your post or the comments. Today, I give both thumbs up for making me laugh so hard that I cried. Bless you ALL!

  24. I am so glad I’m not the only one who mishears their child in hilarious ways. 😊 It keeps them on their toes.

  25. If pirates are sexist why do they all seem to wear more eye makeup than most women that I know? Are pirates really just jealous of women & all of women’s makeup, so the prates act all sexist as a ruse to cover up their insecurities & jealousy? And do they wear eye patches because they aren’t good at putting on their makeup & they keep accidentally jabbing the mascara wand in their eyeballs & then they have to wear the patches to cover up their blood-shot mascara-y eyeball messes? Plus pirates seem to favor long hair & frilly blouses and jewelry and lots of accessories and … wait a minute… I think male pirates all want to be women because we’re all so cool & awesome & they’re not & we have all the best stuff. If more women were pirates then pirating probably wouldn’t carry this negative connotation. Instead lady pirates would be the heroines of the sea and all the boaters would cheer when they saw one of our festively decorated lady pirate ships “hey you awesome cool lady pirates! You rock!” Instead of boaters seeing sexist male pirate ships & exclaiming “oh no, pirates, ugh!”

  26. Pirates, pilots, pilates, 2 out of 3 are dominated by men. The other makes you feel like you’ve punched in the stomach.

  27. On the other hand, I don’t recall corporate sexism being in the lesson plan when I was in school, so that’s cool to hear.

  28. When my son was small he surprised me by declaring, I want to be a pirate-baker!! This led to some interesting visual imaginings.
    Years later we figured out he meant Pilot-Baker. Which is still pretty interesting,except not with fancy sailing ships and swords and whatnot.

  29. There were some pretty kickass women pirates, though. Anne Bonney and Mary Read just to name two. Think I’d still rather be a pilot, though.

  30. I do this ALL THE TIME! I once asked my SIL why she wanted me to “lick the window”. And FSM created all the pirates, male and female. It’s only nowadays that the numbers are skewed.

  31. Pirates TOTALLY exist, Hailey! There’s no way they’re for gender equality though.

    However, are there pilot pirates? Maybe. Will research

  32. Bahaha!! That shit happens all the time in my house because The Viking is from Denmark and sometimes he says weird things like “Arm Gas” = deodorant. And “Ass Water” = diarrhea. And he loves Crepes but hates Grapes. And he can’t say ‘r’s so my name doesn’t sound like Lori, it sounds more like Lowi. Aso….pirates are real.

  33. 😂🤣😂🤣😂 It’s even funnier if you read the comments! Also, this is like my conversations with you!

  34. The nanny had this same problem in “The Pirates of Penzance”. You can get it from Netflix (sorry not streaming). Kevin Kline plays the Pirate King and Angela Lansbury is the nanny who confused pirate with pilot.

  35. In Canada, we have a political party called The Pirate Party which you’d think would be all about the pillaging, drinking and sailing around the Great Lakes, but alas–they’re only interested in music piracy. Arrr.

  36. My favorite illustration of the commandment “Thou Shalt Not Steal” is at Old North Church in Boston. Pirated angel statues adorn the church. True story!

  37. I should have taken one from John Oliver’s playbook, after reading the youngin’s remark about the gender gap between male and female pirates. This one comes from a fictional magazine entitled Holy Shit, That’s Not Remotely The Point. The headline reads, “Is there a gender wage gap in child labor?” Runner up was, “Hitler – Nice to his dogs!”

  38. Yunno, I read every single one of your old blogposts in a months-long binge not too long ago, so I can say this with some confidence: You have hilariously way too many instances of crazy conversations that happen because you (or someone else, but mostly you) mishear things or misunderstand things. I love it, lol.

  39. Whenever I think of pirates, I get a mental image of Peter Sellers in his Pink Panther pirate disguise reinflating his leaky inflatable parrot.

  40. But pirates DO exist! They’re not as glamorous as they used to be, but who is? Yeah I was a pilot, too, and there aren’t enough women doing it. Too bad because they tend to have a little more finesse than men (I know, sweeping generalization) and you really want that from a pilot. Makes for a smooth transition from air to ground and back and that is always a good thing.


    Also, yes, we need more female pilots. Currently only 2% of U.S. Air Force pilots are women (up from 1% a few decades ago).
    More data than you probably want:

    Tell Haley to contact me if she wants to know more about being a female pilot – I and many of my friends are, and can tell her all about it.

  42. Asilomar has a building called the Pirates’ Den, so yes, they totally exist. Arrrr!

  43. I have this type of conversation at least once a day. You want an OPINION? I thought you said OPIUM and I don’t have any of that. Loads of opinions though.

  44. Just here to recommend the book PIRASAURS! to everyone. It’s about pirate dinosaurs. The pirate captain is a FEMALE dinosaur and a Strong Female Character.

  45. Ching Shih, Pirate Queen of the China Sea, would like to say a few words to the class. She’s just outside trying to find somewhere to park three hundred ships….

  46. And for those of you who like to sing with pirates, there’s this group:

  47. I have never noticed that Pilates is sexist….but there do seem to be more women there..Hmmmm

  48. This reminds me of the time my cousin had a prostitute teacher at her schooll. “You know, when the regular teacher is out sick they have a prostitute teacher fill in.”
    The school administrators narrowly avoided being eviscerated by my enraged aunt that day.

  49. Women actually make the best pirates. You read about the female pirates and they were always badasses that amassed entire fleets or fought with their tits hanging out to distract the men. Fucking awesome.

  50. Well she was sorta right…there was a HUGE gender gap when it came to pirates. It was considered bad luck to have women on ships and the women who DID become pirates (like Anne Bonney and Mary Reid) generally did so in drag.

  51. My thirteenth great grandmother was Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen! Female pirates are badass.

  52. This mishearing thing happens to me every day. When I saw Guardians of the Galaxy in the theatre and the villain intoned “They call me terrorist” I thought he said “They call me Terrance” and I laughed out loud just before I thought “Wait, what? That doesn’t fit the scene.” People turned to look at me when I laughed. Sigh. Still, it makes for an interesting life.

  53. There were probably a lot more women pirates than we know of. Scabbies and scurvy are the great equalizers.

  54. There’s a class action lawsuit being launched against a WestJet pilot here in Canada who has allegedly sexually assaulted many many female employees. I’d take my chances with the pirate.

  55. I had to share this to Facebook. The conversation sounds so familiar, just instead of mother and child, between hubby and me! Thank you

  56. I have these same type conversations with my kids! And let Hailey know pirates are totally real!

  57. New life goal: I’m going to be a pirate, and I will get more booty than all the male pirates. They will call me names, but I will have a sword and probably a hook from accidentally cutting off my own hand but everyone will fear me because I’ll say I did it on purpose to prove a point.

    It’s possible that I should put more thought into this plan.

  58. There’s also the terrible, sexist Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team, the members of which include ZERO women. The bastards!

  59. Pirates totally exist, but an even better occupation that Pirates is Pirate Hunter… I know someone who has that job (sure their official title is Armed Maritime Security Personnel…but he’s essentially a pirate hunter…the crazy thing is that no one is supposed to know about it so it’s also a secret identity. lol.

  60. Our family had a conversation like this when my son was young, which is now affectionately known as the awkward accidental sex ed discussion.

    Son: What’s a virgin?
    (Husband snickers in the kitchen almost dropping the dish he’s rinsing in the sink)
    Me: Well… the Virgin Mary?
    Son: No mom, what’s a virgin?
    Me: Um, its when a woman hasn’t tried to make a baby with a man yet. That’s a virgin
    Me: OH, you mean VERSION!
    (Husband has to leave room because he’s laughing so hard..)

  61. There were some rather famous female pirates. (But women are underrepresented in piracy.)

    Anne Bonny, who was the first mate on Calico Jack Rackham’s ship, the Revenge; Mary Read, close friend of Anne Bonny, cross-dressed as a man to hide her femininity; Cheng I Sao, who retired as one of history’s most successful pirates, and went on to run a gambling house until her death; and Grace O’Malley, who led a 20 ship fleet against the might of the British monarchy.

  62. This reminds me of a conversation I had with my fifth grade class years ago. I told them that my brother is a pilot, to which one boy responded, “He’s a PIRATE?”

  63. Wow, awesome coincidence: this morning I was writing about my heroes visiting a den of pirates, and the leader of the pirates is (of course!) a kick-ass 40-something woman, because it’s MY book, and if I want awesome middle-aged lady pirates in it, I can totally put in as many as I want!

    Also, she’s kind of a pilot, too, because they’re sky pirates, who have a fleet of airships. My book’s world is way too cool for mere water-going ships. 🙂

  64. Reminds me of the time I thought someone said “dialect” when she said “Dalek.” Ah, the laughter at my expense. 😉
    The stories about actual lady pirates are amazing! I don’t think I could have lived that life, though.

  65. i would rather be a wench than a scurvy scalawag any day! actually, i take that back. i’d rather be a passenger in a plane, taking me to glorious exotic places. that don’t have pirates. i guess that means i would rather be any one other than me… hmmmmm.
    well, kudos to Tina for quoting Gilda Radner as Miss Emily Litella. ‘What’s that you say? Oh, that’s different. Never mind. Bitch’

  66. My favorites are the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything. And I’m pretty sure girls could join the group, no problem. They’re all veggies anyway, on Veggie Tales.

  67. given how shittily women were treated in the golden age of piracy, it’s no wonder many of them did in fact turn to a life of crime on the high seas in drag. Get out some of that pent up aggression. Didn’t Mary and Anne get out of hanging by claiming they were pregnant? All “you can’t execute us! We’re up the duff and you wouldn’t kill an innocent babe now would ya?” canny girls.
    Of course if i’m remembering rightly one of them died in captivity anyway, probably from complications around the whole being pregnant thing but the other one disappeared into the sunset.
    I’m not sure we can really claim much moral outrage at a lot of piracy in the 16-1700s because everyone was so dang corrupt anyway. I mean, there were pirates who were actually paid by various of the royals (spain, england, france) to sink their enemies ships for them. Captain Morgan (you know the rum?) managed to make a bloody fortune by getting on the english good side and retired with a hefty sum because he only targeted Spanish vessels who England were at war with. So England arrested him, brought him back to London, basically threw him a fricken parade and then made him governer of jamaica. And that’s the thing, if you were a canny privateer, you could get effectively sponsored to sink ships and raid and sack towns as a sort of soldier for hire.

    Now modern pirates are assholes, but the ones from the golden age? probably no more dodgy than the rest of the population and certainly likely no more dangerous than the politicians of the islands.
    The Caribbean was a chaotic mess back then full of squabbles from the big players trying to claim as much territory and money and such as they could.

    But of course, she meant PIlots which isn’t the same. I suppose you could argue both travel the world and cross oceans and wear fabulous headgear?

  68. I feel like a fly on the wall dying from laughter! Pirates should totally be on the curriculum. I know NOTHING about pirates!

  69. And now I need to go watch Pirates of Penzance again. I suggest you & Hailey watch it too 🙂

  70. When I first moved to a new neighborhood, my neighbor asked what I did for work and I told her I was a pilot (I am). She avoided me for months because she thought I said ‘pirate’. She is Japanese btw.

  71. I know Hailey’s totally a theatre geek, so she should listen to the cast recording of “Come From Away.” There’s a song on there about the first female commercial captain (pilot) called “Me & the Sky.” Which makes me cry, because if I hadn’t been a fool, I could have been her (but that’s another story completely).

  72. Hailey’s too grown up! Talking about gender gap in the airline industry (vs. the seabound one)! WAH!!!!!

    … and pirates totally exist, and yes, there is a YUUUUUGE gender gap in that industry!

  73. When my daughter told me she was collecting pirates I didn’t understand.

    Pyrex …

  74. So pirates are totally real. And there is a huge wage gap for women pilots. But sexism is rampant with pilots and pirates. So really both of you are right.

  75. This ie JUST like a conversation I would end up having with one of my children! Except they would get super exasperated over the fact that I couldn’t understand them

  76. Pirates tended to keep boys and women off the ships so it was easier to keep order. I’d like to think there was at least one female pirate captain somewhere in history. A Joan of Arrrrrgh. 🙂

  77. I don’t have instagram because I am terrified of the nonexistent privacy options and I have bio-fam issues AND anxiety. But, I saw your teddy bear post on the sidebar, and O-EM-GEE! I love your dress. Is that an Eshakti one? Because they’re my favorite and I recently got a galaxy print one with space stuff on it, but a little different pattern and I call it my Miss Frizzle dress and everyone compliments me when I wear it because everything they do is amazing. That was all. Carry on.

    (It is totally an eshakti dress and I call it my Miss Frizzle dress too. ~ Jenny)

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