Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program

Balkan sworn virgins

ADDPMP107
Balkan sworn virgins - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program

Balkan sworn virgins (in Albanian: Burrnesha) are women who take a vow of chastity and wear male clothing in order to live as men in patriarchal northern Albanian society, Kosovo and Montenegro. To a lesser extent, the practice exists, or has existed, in other parts of the western Balkans, including Bosnia, Dalmatia (Croatia), Serbia and Northern Macedonia. National Geographic’s Taboo (2002) estimated that there were fewer than 102 Albanian sworn virgins left.

The tradition of sworn virgins in Albania developed out of the Kanuni i Lekë Dukagjinit (English: The Code of Lekë Dukagjini, or simply the Kanun), a set of codes and laws developed by Lekë Dukagjini and used mostly in northern Albania and Kosovo from the 15th century until the 20th century. The Kanun is not a religious document – many groups follow it, including Albanian Orthodox, Catholics and Muslims.

The Kanun dictates that families must be patrilineal (meaning wealth is inherited through a family’s men) and patrilocal (upon marriage, a woman moves into the household of her husband’s family). Women are treated like property of the family. Under the Kanun, women are stripped of many rights. They cannot smoke, wear a watch, or vote in local elections. They cannot buy land, and there are many jobs they are not permitted to hold. There are also establishments that they cannot enter.

The practice of sworn virginhood was first reported by missionaries, travelers, geographers and anthropologists, who visited the mountains of northern Albania in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Photography : Jill Peters.

GAINSBOURG BURNING 500 FRANCS - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP116
GAINSBOURG BURNING 500 FRANCS
Peter Cain's Cars painting series - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP089
Peter Cain's Cars painting series
The Urantia Book - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP005
The Urantia Book
Kalinin K-7 - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP255
Kalinin K-7
Self-Hypnosis - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP023
Self-Hypnosis
Polyphemus - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP130
Polyphemus
MV Blue Marlin - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP205
MV Blue Marlin
Pickpocket - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP143
Pickpocket
Jho Low - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP226
Jho Low
Shuttle Endeavor in the streets of Los Angeles - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP241
Shuttle Endeavor in the streets of Los Angeles
Lowdown Da Sinista - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP059
Lowdown Da Sinista
Largest Hiking Boot - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program
ADDPMP170
Largest Hiking Boot

You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.