"Most of the cultures in Southeast Asia are more based on equality than domination," the photographer explained. For this series 'Souveraines', which was commissioned by Arthaud Publishing, de Vallombreuse "selected four remote cultures where women play decisive and central roles in governance and spirituality—the Khasi, a matrilineal and matrilocal society in northeastern India; the Palawan, a non-hierarchical community in the Philippines; the Mosuo ethnic group in China; and the Badjao, a sea-dwelling group that prefers boats to houses."
It should be noted that female sexuality is more more embraced in these societies, as we've written on AOC, and often it is women who choose their sexual partners, if only for the night. These realities dovetail back to our historical understandings of women's lives before the deterioration of women's rights, escalating dramatically after 10,000 BC.
De Vallombreuse says one of the most striking things he observed in these societies included "fluidity, simplicity, and normality" between men and women. "This should be normal everywhere," he said.