This Photo Capture How a Matriarchy Breeds Self-Confidence

Prepare to be transported to a village known as the “Kingdom of Girls”

(Hari Mahidhar /

There’s something different about the girls of Mawlynnong. In this tiny village of 500 inhabitants tucked away in the jungles of northeast India, women rule. Mawlynnong is home to the indigenous Khasi tribe - one of the few matriarchal and matrilineal societies on earth. Here, women inherit land, children take their mother’s surname, and men marry into their wives’ family homes. In her series, Mädchenland, which translates to “Kingdom of Girls,” German photographer Karolin Klüppel seeks to capture “the outstanding role of the females” in Mawlynnong.

Klüppel’s arresting portraits are not intended to be a statement on the girls’ social, familial or societal context. Rather, by capturing the Khasi girls in their everyday physical environments,  Kluppel portrays their “strong self-awareness and pronounced air of self-sufficiency.”

In an interview for Fotografia, Klüppel notes how women’s special standing and exceptional role in this society produces a great self-confidence in the girls. She adds “I was so impressed by their self-assured appearance, and thought that this must be how matrilineality becomes visible.”

There’s no doubt, Khasi girls are different. In a society where women are revered and respected, self-confidence flourishes, self-sufficiency blooms, and maturity thrives. And here’s the photographic evidence to prove it.

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