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. In order to manifest the transition such a woman cut her hair, donned male clothing and sometimes even changed her name. Male gestures and swaggers were practiced until they became second nature. Most importantly of all, she took a vow of celibacy to remain chaste for life. She became a “he”. This practice continues today but as modernization inches toward the small villages nestled in the Alps, this archaic tradition is increasingly seen as obsolete. Only a few aging Sworn Virgins remain.
I’ve held the opinion for awhile now that, if you stare at someone’s face, it’s very easy to trick your brain into seeing them as the opposite gender. If you shaved my face, gave me long hair and slapped some make-up on me, took a picture, printed it out wallet-sized, went to a friend who didn’t know me and showed your friend and said “This is my girlfriend, Briana,” I doubt your friend would know I was a man. Not because I’m particularly feminine (well, barring my body language), but because we mainly use secondary sexual characteristics to distinguish ourselves from the other sex. Or your buddy was just trying to be polite about poor ugly Briana. Looks like you’ll have to be the one to find out