Photographs by Pepa Hristova.
Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, 2013. 228 pp., 71 color and 63 black & white illustrations, 8½x10½".
Northern Albania is still home today to so-called »Sworn Virgins« – the last men-women in Europe. A collection of laws from the Middle Ages, passed down over the centuries by word of mouth, allows families who have lost their patriarch – not seldom through blood feuds – to select a woman as head of the household. But only under the condition that she make an irrevocable vow to remain a virgin for the rest of her life. These sworn virgins are highly respected by their families and attain the status of men. They do men’s work and dress and behave like men, but are regarded as male in a social rather than a sexual sense. The sworn virgins fill their roles so per- fectly that, over time, they are no longer regarded as women outside their own family.
Read Karen Jenkins' review of Sworn Virgins on photo-eye Blog.