Freedom

Freedom

by marlies|dekkers

How savage are you? Do you chart your own course, even in the middle of a crazy storm? The glorious female pirates in this magazine are savage for sure, but they weren’t all born that way. Each of them reached a point where they felt they HAD to break free. The universe was telling them: do it, NOW!

Reading about 18th-century pirate Mary Read deciding to put on men’s clothes and join the navy reminded me of my own transformation when I changed my future as a young woman by signing up for art school. I never looked back. During the making of this season’s Feminine/Feminist magazine however, the universe started pushing me again (and not only to cross-dress for the first time, the result of which you see on the opposite page). Believe me, I fought it at first. Shooting the campaign pictures myself? Me, a designer? After legendary photographer Ellen von Unwerth’s stunning series for us? But there I was a few weeks later, on a cold, wind-swept beach in the south of the Netherlands with my cameras. Yes, I was nervous, but as soon as I started to shoot the first of our modern-day female pirates, I knew I was doing the right thing. I felt savage, 100%.

From flaming-haired pirate queen Anne Bonny to Chinese lady boss Cheng I Sao, the historical pirates that inspired these collections were a diverse gang of women, all looking for the same treasure: freedom. The freedom to use their talents, to shape their own destiny. I think you can see the same diversity and drive in the women I interviewed. Dutch Moroccan hairstylist to the stars Ilham Mestour for example, who took her destiny into her own hands at only nine (!) years old, or American Laura Sook Duncombe who gave up her legal career to write the defining book on pirate women. And then there are the ten brave women who channeled their inner pirate for me that day on the beach. Ranging in color, size and age (18 to 48), working a variety of jobs from dancer to journalist to domestic violence activist; they all felt transformed by the experience, empowered. I hope the swashbuckling pictures and stories in this magazine inspire you to undertake a similar journey. Yes, there will be dangers, threats and storms, but as long as it’s YOUR journey, you’ll be savage enough to handle it.

Good luck and godspeed!

— Marlies Dekkers

 

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