By Antonia Young
Most folk conceive of gender as a culturally trained reaction to a organic valuable. yet such inflexible notions are overturned through convinced girls in distant areas of Albania who choose to 'become' males easily for the benefits that accrue to them accordingly. They crop their hair, put on men's outfits, roll their very own cigarettes, drink brandy and hold weapons. in brief, their lives are a lot freer and no more regimented than different contributors in their intercourse - yet at a value. those girls needs to foreswear sexual relationships, marriage and youngsters. they've been dubbed 'Sworn Virgins'.What is fascinating is that during this quarter of the Balkans, just to gown as a guy and to act as a guy will earn those ladies a similar recognize accorded a guy. this can be no suggest virtue in a space recognized for sexual inequality and the place such a lot of males have suffered violent, untimely deaths, thereby heightening the necessity for extra family heads. usually as heads of family, males are respected and the ladies who attend them totally subservient. yet in contrast to 'normal' ladies, Sworn Virgins can inherit and deal with estate, and, in truth, may also be raised to imagine the male position by way of mom and dad who've no male heirs.Based on vast interviews, this e-book tells the frank and engrossing tales of those ladies, but additionally units their lives in the wider context of a rustic present process radical upheaval and social transformation.
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Extra resources for Women Who Become Men: Albanian Sworn Virgins (Dress, Body, Culture Series)
However, most of my contacts gave as a primary motivation the need for an inheritor and household head where no suitable male was otherwise available. 23 Notes 1. Barjaktaroviæ, M. (1965–6), ‘The Problem of Tobelije’, Glasnik Ethnografskog Museja, Belgrade: Knjiga 28–29, p. 132. 2. Until the recent slaughter and forced emigrations, Albanians made up the largest ethnic group after the Serbs within present-day Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), and also the second largest in Macedonia. Very approximate distribution of Albanians in Albania and in countries/regions immediately surrounding Albania Population Albanian population % Albanian population Albania 3,300,000 Greece 10,500,000 Kosov@ 2,000,000 Montenegro 512,000 Macedonia 1,913,000 3,168,000 100,000* 1,840,000 41,000 440,000 96 <1 92 8 23 * This figure is from the Greek 1997 census; it is not compatible with Albanian figures of emigration to Greece, which reached 350,000 by 1999.
AY: Boga, 1993 slur on her character. Even today in Albania, girls’ schooling and activities may be severely curtailed in order to ensure their good reputations. Although Post found that some teenagers were breaking from the old norms of arranged marriages by marrying for love, still many families keep their teenage girls away from secondary school believing it ‘is a place for love stories’. She interviewed Ina, a teenage girl who told her: 25 Women Who Become Men TO VIEW THIS FIGURE PLEASE REFER TO THE PRINTED EDITION Figure 11.
I worked only a short time because my parents arranged a marriage for me. I was engaged and married quickly, knowing nothing of my husband or his family. It was worse than I expected it to be and I have had to face all kinds of hardships alone . . Although my husband has treated me badly, I couldn’t consider divorce because of the social consequences I would suffer. 57 The ritual sobbing of a bride at leaving her parents’ home signifies her own loss of identity. It may well be a sad day for her as she leaves the familiarity of her own extended family which she is likely never to have left before.