Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Albanian Virgins as "Family Men"

I'm relieved to be told in this report that the custom of women swearing to be virgins and then living as family men in northern Albania is fading. Here's the story from today's NYT. The custom was apparently associated with families that had no sons and needed one to care for the family in a society which severely circumscribed women's roles. Here's an excerpt that quotes Pashe Keqi, 78, who took the oath at age 18 and says she would not do it again:

“Back then, it was better to be a man because before a woman and an animal were considered the same thing,” said Ms. Keqi, who has a bellowing baritone voice, sits with her legs open wide like a man and relishes downing shots of raki. “Now, Albanian women have equal rights with men, and are even more powerful. I think today it would be fun to be a woman.”

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