“Sworn Virgins” in the Balkans
This essay is about one of the third gender roles. “Sworn Virgins” While researching I came across very interesting sites that talked about these woman that became men in their society. These Albanian women were from the northern and southern parts of Balkans. This essay will talk about their lives living as a man, the process of it and the reasoning for their choice. Here are the sites I gathered my facts from: www.slate.com/blogs/behold/2012/12/21/jill_peters_documenting_sworn_virgins_women_who_live_as_men_in_albania_photos.html http://www.academia.edu/660834/SWORN_VIRGINSAS_ENHANCERS_OF_ALBANIAN_PATRIARCHAL_SOCIETY_IN_CONTRAST_TO_EMERGING_ROLES_FOR_ALBANIAN_WOMEN1 http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/places/culture-places/beliefs-and-traditions/albania_swornvirgins/ http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/25/world/europe/25virgins.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2299903/Sworn-virgins-Albania-Antonia-Young-explains-women-honorary-men-remote-rural-Albania-absence-heir.html
From all the research I gathered they were often given the choice to take on the role but for some their parents made the choice for them at birth. The common reasons were; at her birth if the family has no male heir and knows they never will, at the death of the family's only male, or at her refusal to marry the man her family wish her to accept as a husband. Often when these women take on this role it will transform who they are instead of being a woman with no rights or powers. She will become a “Sworn Virgin” a man. And with this status she will be granted all the rights of a man and also the responsibility of a male role as well. Such as being head of household and working. In the process of becoming a “Sworn Virgin” The Albanian woman will take a celibacy vow to remain chaste for life. In order to complete this transition she will cut off her hair, wear male clothing, and sometimes might even change her name....
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