Sworn Virgins

Traditional Albanian society was not exactly pro-women's rights. Women were expected to marry and produce children, and that's about it. They were forbidden to partake in any "male" activities, such as smoking or wearing a watch.

But there was another option. A woman could choose to become a "sworn virgin," in which case she would become a man in the eyes of Albanian society, allowed to do all the things that men do (including being able to inherit property). The big drawback was no sex or marriage for the rest of their life. The punishment for breaking the vow was death.

SFGate has an interview with one of the last "sworn virgins" in Albania. There's fewer than a hundred remaining. A 2007 Washington Post article also has a video interview with a sworn virgin.
     Posted By: Alex - Mon Oct 06, 2008
     Category: Gender | Gender-bending

I know quite a few people, male and female, who would have benefited society if they would have been sworn virgins. Unfortunately their genes are happily swimming around in the deep end of the gene pool.
Posted by Madd Maxx on 10/06/08 at 12:30 PM
NOW you come up with this story! We had a flock of Albanians painting our house last week but they're all gone now!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 10/06/08 at 01:04 PM
Wearing a watch is a male activity?
Posted by KW in Dallas, TX on 10/06/08 at 05:26 PM
KW -- you don't want mere women knowing when they're going to die, do you?
Posted by BikerPuppy on 10/06/08 at 07:20 PM
Well since smoking is prohibited for women too, maybe it is so they can't count the time away waiting for their husbands to die.
Posted by Madd Maxx on 10/06/08 at 08:38 PM
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