Albanian Sworn Virgins: A Visual Representation of their Transformation
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This piece of art is a flipbook, analogous to the ones children play with as they make cartoon balls bounce with the quick flipping of pages between their thumb and index finger. However, instead of a playful scene, this flipbook is a commentary on Albanian Sworn Virgins. These are women from Northern Albania who, in their youth, swear to celibacy in order to gain the societal power that is exclusive to men in their culture. This flipbook demonstrates this cultural male-to-female shift and comments on its inability to ever be fully realized. This commentary is inspired by the words of Albanian Sworn Virgins in Elvira Dones’ documentary, Sworn Virgins, who feel betrayed by their biological need to menstruate and who view their reproductive system as a permanent obstacle in completing their societal shift. Just as a child’s flipbook tells a story, this flipbook illustrates the Albanian Sworn Virgins’ forever-unfinished transformation.