Sworn by Oath

Captain’s Log   5,669

You learn something new every day.  At least I hope you do.  I was reading a Facebook entry from my old friend who works as a therapist in San Francisco.  She works mostly with children, but every now and then she posts something about another part of the world where cultures are so different than here.  In this case, it was Albania.

The sworn virgins of Albania.  This was news to me.  Here is some background information.

Albanian sworn virgins are women who take a vow of chastity  and wear male clothing in order to live as men in the patriarchal northern Albanian society.

A woman becomes a sworn virgin by swearing an irrevocable oath, in front of 12 village or tribal elders, to practice celibacy. Then she is allowed to live as a man. She will then be able to dress in male clothes, use a male name, carry a gun, smoke, drink alcohol, take on male work, act as the head of a household (for example, living with a sister or mother), play music and sing, and sit and talk socially with men.  They can choose this life for themselves at any time.

This has been a social practice since the 15th century.  In a patrilineal (neener) society, it was the only way for some families to control inheritance and wealth.  In other cases, it was a way for a girl to escape the confines of an arranged marriage…or any marriage for that matter.  Or it may be a way for transgender people there to live without fear of reprisal.  I’m not sure about that because I cannot find any male/female equivalent practiced in that region.  Then again, most societies have a harder time with males who express femininity.

It is still practiced today, though not as widely as it was in the past.  Social norms for women are changing and the culture in the region is less oppressive.

All I can say is WOW!  For a male-dominated culture to embrace something like this is astounding.

virgin 4

At the turn of the century (no better resolution available)

virgin 1

In his golden years looking content and wise

virgin 2

Looks like a philosopher, eh?

virgin 3

Honoring the past and the present

virgin 5

Modern woman who made the choice

They take the vow of celibacy very seriously, so this is not about sex.  So many fundamental right wingers see things like this as “excuses” for people walking a “different” path (translates as abnormal in their eyes) to lead lives of decadence and debauchery.   These women choose to live this way and declare it in front of witnesses.   It is a sacred choice for them and the culture that embraces them.  

Anyway…..this blew me away.

So did last night’s dinner with Mage and George.  She has made SO much progress with her hip replacement!  She walked from the parking lot to the restaurant.  No more limping!  She scrambled up the stairs (as much as one can scramble when recovering from this surgery).  Like a monkey, she was!  So glad to see that.


Filed under Captain Poolie's observations

11 responses to “Sworn by Oath

  1. susanna

    Then they are allowed to dance and sing! Sounds like a deal to me.

  2. Patty O'Reilly

    That is all new to me. But then, what I know about Albania could be stuffed in a thimble with room left over. You find the most fascinating things!

  3. How awesome to hear that Mage is up and around and doing well! I’m glad for all concerned.

    Technically speaking all of these women were transgender, at least to the extent possible without surgery. It was the only alternate-gender option available before modern surgery

    I will dig up the GOT books and read them after the TV show is over, more than likely. Too hard for me to concentrate these days. I went from consuming a book a day to where now I’m on the second month of trying to read just ONE book. (And nothing as deep as GOT)

  4. What very kind words dear you. Thank you again for leading me through the checked boxes on WordPress. Hope you got a good nights sleeeeeep.

    • poolagirl

      I watched some Game of Thrones, read a bit (Game of Thrones) and conked out. I might go out and buy myself a wolf today so I can experience Game of Thrones more fully.

  5. joe

    Wow Is Right WOW

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