Jill Peters: "Portraits of Albanian Women Who Have Lived Their Lives as Men"

"Portraits of Albanian Women Who Have Lived Their Lives As Men: For her project Sworn Virgins of Albania, photographer Jill Peters visited to the mountain villages of northern Albania to capture portraits of “burneshas,” or females who have lived their lives as men for reasons related to their culture and society.

Photograph by Jill Peters

Peters describes what it is like for women, and why some women choose to live as "burneshas" who are respected for the choice they made to live this way - Peters explains:
"The freedom to vote, drive, conduct business, earn money, drink, smoke, swear, own a gun or wear pants was traditionally the exclusive province of men. Young girls were commonly forced into arranged marriages, often with much older men in distant villages. As an alternative, becoming a Sworn Virgin, or ‘burnesha” elevated a woman to the status of a man and granted her all the rights and privileges of the male population."