New Girl Law: Drafting a Future for Cambodia
by Anne Elizabeth Moore Author
When Moore, a writer and independent publisher, brought her experience in the American cultural underground to Cambodia on the cusp of the global economic meltdown, she intended to share a skill that would allow young people the opportunity to archive their own stories. Instead, the second generation of Khmer Rouge survivors she worked with ended up rewriting history.
The Cambodian Chbap Srei is a 17th-century book that intended to establish a code of conduct for young women. Staunchly traditional, but repressive and frustrating, the first large group of young women in Cambodia decide to rewrite it with Moore. The year-long process culminates in a grand discussion of human rights and gender equity, and a hand-bound book for all participants. Tragically, the completed book was banned and censored in both Cambodia and the U.S. But what these bold young women learn next about when they are allowed to speak, and to whom, is chilling.
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Comments & Reviews
"The resulting Chbap Srei Tmein ("New Girl Law") is something more just and uniquely theirs, where laws such as "Be brave enough to make eye contact with and speak to boys" coexist with others on imports and wage standards."
Alissa Bohling - Truth Out
A “post-Empirical, proto-four th-wave-feminist memoir-cum-academic abstract [that] makes our country’s Mommy Wars look like child’s play—and proves ... why we should be paying attention to Cambodia’s record of human rights and gender equity.
"It was an oppressive set of rules [Moore writes in her introduction to New Girl Law] but it was familiar. The only way I have found to explain the pressure to adhere to the rules of the Chbap Srei to American women and girls is by asking them this: What if advertising in the U.S. carried the weight of law?"
Rosa Ellen - Phnom Penh Press