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Imagine a small village in which women and girls have an unheard-of amount of power, where females bear the family name and are expected to foster their continuing bloodline. Located near the Indian boarder, this place is called Mawlynnong, and it is known as the community where “girls rule the world.” 

 

The photographer Karolin Kluppel travelled to Mawlynnong, explored its 92 households, and documented the lives of its girls. With their great power comes great responsibility. From as young as the age of 8, young females are tasked with caring for entire houses and 3 generations of family members. 

 

 

Kluppel’s series Mädchenland (Kingdom of Girls) powerfully evokes the weight of these women’s lives and duties. Shot beside still bodies of water and ornamented in intricate jewelry, these children are seen with the utmost reverence. While the images capture a magical sense of matrilineal authority, bathed in rich yellow light, they also allow for moments of play and childhood abandon. The beautiful tension between the worshipful treatment of these girls with their young age, lost teeth, and tender naps results in an unprecedented view of girls of power. Through Kluppel's Western lens, however, it's difficult to rely on these images to tell the stories of these young women without idealization; what do you think?

 

 

Thanks to Feature Shoot

Images via Feature Shoot