© Pepa Hristová
"Sworn Virgins" are women, who have sworn for a life-long virginity in order to fit into the role of men. This has nothing to do with transsexualism. Instead, it is about a rise in the hierarchy of the strictly patriarchal society in Albania; from there on they are classified as men. I was interested in the continuation of this ancient tradition for the preservation of the male domination in a country, which, belonging to Europe, is located no further than 1200 kilometres from the western educated world. Secondly I am very interested in the striking role change of these women, which also has a great impact on their psyche and physiognomy. Over the years their facial features hardens, their voice becomes deeper, outside the family they are not recognized as females anymore. Many of them were also saying that they have never experienced menstruation. They renounce every kind of sexuality for their entire life, which includes any kind of partnership and marriage. I have great respect for these women and the life they have chosen. I am fascinated by the power of this inner attitude.
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See more of Hristová's 'Sworn Virgins' series here.