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New Girl Law Handmade Edition
Published by Pressing Concern
6"x6", hard cover, perfect-bound, screen-printed gold ink, patterned endpapers, pink ribbon bookmark sewed in
New Girl Law is a rewrite of a traditional Cambodian text known as Chbap Srei, or Girl Law. The Chbap Srei indicates proper female social behavior and includes everything from mundane advice about navigating society to provisions on accepting physical punishment from one's husband, and remaining silent. Although the document is thought to have fallen out of use by foreign feminists and scholars, many young female students in Cambodia are well aware of its contents and many keep copies on their desks. While gender equity would appear to be a driving force behind this book, the reader will note a gradual shift in the text toward a call for basic human rights, and thus an unusual effort on the part of the authors to not just free themselves from oppression, but to work toward social justice to benefit all of Cambodia.
This beautiful handmade edition is produced by Fulbright scholar Anne Elizabeth Moore who lived and worked with women in the Harpswell Foundation Dormitory and Leadership Cetner for University Women in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Pages are beautifully screen-printed with cursive gold lettering and there's a pink ribbon, but the real joy of this art piece is in the subversion the traditional rules in Chbap Srei. Different rules this edition suggests include: "Women and men should have access to a true democracy and human rights" and "A minimum wage should be established for work done in public service."
This book was created with the generous assistance in Providence, Rhode Island. Funding was provided by an InCUBATE Sunday Soup grant and a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.