Of dirty bitches, fucking tourists and mint tea on the house. Or: why Morocco was a struggle.

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It’s hard to find the words and structure a balanced blog post about something that has influenced this travel as much as the following. To write about something so close to my heart. To properly explain the why’s and because’s. I don’t think I can. Yes, I’ve traveled through the country for longer than just a couple of days, but still, I’m aware that my experiences are a glimpse of the overall country. And yet, five minutes into a conversation with another female traveler the topic would inevitably fall on the one I’m going to try to talk about in this post: street harassment.

When I first came to Morocco I posted a quick note on my tumblr, saying how I was largely left alone. How everyone had been super friendly. That changed pretty much the second I hit the “post” button. After that I was almost constantly harassed on the streets. It didn’t matter if I was by myself or with another group of girls. The only time it slightly lessened was when I was walking with a guy (or more) next to me.

I’m not naive. Of course I was expecting a certain kind of attention on the streets. Before I left I was warned by many people. I got told what to do, what not to do, how to behave, what to wear. By strangers and by my family and close friends. Most of it was common sense to me. Sure, I wouldn’t be wearing hot pants. I’d cover up. Respect the country, the culture and the religion. It’s me, after all, who’s the visitor.
I’m the kind of traveler who loves nothing more than to walk through a city with her eyes wide open, a smile on her face and a friendly word quick on her lips. I want to greet and interact with locals and aimlessly roam the streets so I can discover hidden spots.

Morocco quickly taught me the exact opposite.

You might want to know how a country can do this? Let me explain by telling you a couple of stories.

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I started my trip in Tangier, where I lived in an apartment in a good part of the Ville Nouvelle for three weeks. In Tangier especially, it was almost impossible to walk down some streets or through the Medina without getting shouted at, without kissing noises being made as I walked past. Without “Oh hello beautiful!” or “Sexy lady!” or “Oooh, spice girls!” or “Hello pretty flower!”.
I’m not exaggerating. I kinda wish I was, but I could not make these things up, even if I tried.

For the most part I figured out that ignoring them altogether was the best tactic. To just keep on walking if possible and they’d soon leave me alone.

Sometimes though, you aren’t walking. Sometimes you cannot outrun them. Sometimes you’re just sitting on a wall in a small park, enjoying a cool breeze and talking to two other people. And then, when an older man comes up to you and starts talking, and you ignore him, you get shouted at.

“Dirty bitch! Dirty! Dirty bitch! You bring Ebola to us Moroccans! Dirty bitch! Go back home and leave us Moroccans alone!”

How ironic, right? To get told to leave them alone when that’s what you’ve been doing all along? Right when it happened I was just taken aback by the obvious aggression aimed my way. Later, when I thought more about the words he used, the way he looked at us and the way this entire incident made me feel, an odd sense of sadness overcame me.

But that’s not all.

Sometimes you’re just walking through a souk and a young guy comes up to you and asks you if you’re married. And if you ignore him he starts shouting. And if you don’t and say that you are, in fact married, he’ll attach himself to you and say “Doesn’t matter, I’ll be the second husband” and hassles you for way too long.

I soon arrived at a point where I’d just block out everything and I cannot even begin to tell you how sad this made me. It’s devastating because I love nothing more than to interact with locals. I love nothing more than to throw a quick smile at random strangers who pass me on the street. But in Morocco I felt like I couldn’t. In Morocco, if I smiled at someone they’d often see it as an invitation to ask more rude or inappropriate questions.

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One morning I was walking through the souk in Rabat. I was just thinking how different Rabat was to Tangier. People were friendlier, I got hassled less and found myself breathing easier, smiling more. I saw a small girl crying in front of one of the stands and smiled brightly at her, hoping she’d stop crying and smile back. Hoping to be a small distraction. In the same second I gave my attention to this child, a Moroccan teenager walked past me and patted my shoulders down to my wrist. I quickly pulled it away, completely taken aback by what just happened. Is me smiling at a small girl an invitation to be touched however they please? I threw him a dirty look but everything moved so fast and a second later he was gone and I was standing there with an odd feeling all over my body, my skin crawling, and a sour mood replacing all the positive thoughts I just had.
Two streets further I was still stewing about what just happened when a street vendor looked at me, whistled and said “Ooh, you are beautiful! Welcome to Morocco!” And I couldn’t help myself. I didn’t stop. I didn’t look at him. I just kept walking and before I could help myself I said “Shut up!”
I kept walking and only heard an outraged “What???” shouted back at me.

I immediately felt bad. I immediately regretted it. This is not who I am. This is not who I want to be. This is not who I want to allow the men in this country to turn me into. And yet, the frustration boiled over.
Dear street vendor, if you really only wanted to welcome me to your country, I’m sorry. But please also know that this is not how you make us feel welcome. This is how you objectify us. This is how you make us more uncomfortable than you could possible know.

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On my way to find my hostel in Essaouira I was approached by a young man who offered me a hostel to stay in. I told him no thanks and that I already had a hostel. He goes on “It’s a very nice hostel, I can show you, follow me!” To which I replied “No thanks, I’ve already booked a hostel.” Then he flipped. “Racist!” “Excuse me?” “You’re a big racist!” I should have stopped and ignored him then, but sometimes I just can’t. So I asked him how already having a hostel makes me a racist. He obviously couldn’t explain it to me so he just declared one more time “You’re a big racist!”

A day or two later I was walking through the souks and stopped to look at a little bag. I picked it up, turned it over and the vendor approached me. “I make you a good price!” I told him that it was alright, I was just having a look. He went on and asked me how much I want to pay, we could haggle about it. I said it was quite alright, I was only looking and wasn’t even sure if I wanted it to begin with. Again, friendliness turned into aggression so quickly it made my head spin, and the vendor shouted at me “If you don’t want it, don’t touch it!”

It’s sad, you know. Sad and kind of stupid. Because even if I would go home later that night and decide that I did want that bag after all, I would definitely not come back and buy it from him. All the stalls in the souks basically sell the same things anyways and I understand that competition between them is brutal, but this is definitely not how you make a sale. I’ve never been annoyed by people trying to ask me to check out their shops. This is how they make their living, after all. And even though it can be exhausting to be constantly asked to look at this, or go into that store, it’s all fine by me. It’s the quick and sudden aggression that sometimes followed I have issues with.

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In Taghazout I was around when a british girl, who worked in my hostel, opened the door to welcome a group of guys who’d booked a stay there. They didn’t find the hostel right away so a local showed them the way. The girl said thank you to the local, the guys walked in and before she closed the door behind them she turned around and asked if the locals had, by any chance, seen a little dog. It was the hostel dog that had gone missing that day and everyone was worried. The local turned around and said “Fuck you, bitch!”
Why? Your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps he thought she should pay him for bringing her new customers, but since they had already booked this hostel anyways, what’s the point? If he wanted money for showing them the way, he should have said something to the guys, but it’s easier to lash out on women, right?

I also stopped asking people for the way. I knew that most of the time they’d expect money from me in return. If it’s a tour I agreed on, that’s fine. But if you only ask if you should turn left or right, and then are expected to pay over 10€ for that little piece of advice, then no, I won’t ask.
Locals would also attach themselves to us as unwanted, unasked for tour guides. Just telling them that it was unnecessary usually didn’t deter them so I took on to being super frank. I’d tell them right away that it was lovely of them to want to tell us a little bit about their city but that I have a travel guide and that I don’t have the money to pay them. They usually left even before completely finished that sentence.
I had a map on my phone and knew where to walk, and yet, people would tell me where to go, where not to go and then get frustrated and angry when I wouldn’t take their advice.

In Marrakech I was right around the corner of a palace I wanted to see when I was approached by a young Moroccan who told me that the palace was right around the corner. I said thank you, and that I know. Then he touched my arm. I quickly yanked it away and told him in no uncertain terms to not touch me. I kept walking and heard him scream behind me “Fuck you, tourists! I hate tourists! Fuck you! Fucking tourists!”

How bizarre? If you hate tourists so much, why do you care in the first place? The only explanation I have for that is that he could have wanted money from us, for pointing out the obvious, yes, but it’s not like that never happened before.

Then there’s the issue of men “owning” the sidewalk. I’ve noticed quite quickly that men will often not even try to make room for me on the sidewalks. For some reason this made me incredibly angry. I’m a feminist. And I firmly believe in the fact that I not only have the same right as men do, but I also deserve a space on the sidewalk. Especially when it’s clearly big enough for the both of us. I’ll try to make space for you if I see and feel you doing the same. Until that happens I will continue to not go out of the way. The couple of bruises on my shoulders and arms are worth this. I will not make myself small for you.

All of these things make it hard and tiring to travel through Morocco as a woman. It’s the constant vigilance, that’s exhausting. The fact that I won’t have experiences as rich as they could have been, which sadden me beyond words.

Every time I meet other female travelers it’s one of the first topics being discussed. The guys can’t really understand it.
But when you get asked how much you cost for the second time, I think you have every right to flip out. To shout. To make a scene. To tell them in no uncertain terms that this is NOT okay. That it’s derogatory and disgraceful. How can this not be the main topic of discussion?

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Let me make one more thing very clear. I have also met the nicest, friendliest and most helpful men here. I have seen fathers lovingly dote on their daughters, I’ve seen young men help elderly women down the stairs or give them their seats. I’ve been treated with kindness. I’ve been offered free tea in a restaurant, and high fives when I came back to my regular dinner spot for the 3rd time in a row. I got joked with and smiled at.
And this makes this entire situation even sadder to me. Because of the actions of some people, I often don’t even notice anymore when others are nice to me. When they warn me to not walk down this alley because it’s a dead-end. When they give me back money because I handed them too much or when they genuinely just try to show me the way and I’m immediately wary and think “How much money will he want for this?”.

But still, it’s tough. Some days are harder than others. Sometimes, the frustration level is high. Some cities are more relaxed than others, sometimes it’s better being in a group, sometimes it’s worse. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. I embraced it as part of this experience, but sometimes it was almost unbearable. Sometimes I was so disgusted I could barely take it. Have I ever felt really unsafe? No. Have I been beyond annoyed to the point where I’d loved to scream and cry? Yes.

There are many possible explanations on why Moroccan men see and treat western women the way they do. We could blame it on the media, the pop music, or the poor command of the English language. I truly believe that sometimes people didn’t understand just how grave it can be if you call a young girl a “bitch” on the street. Is that an excuse though? No, I don’t think so.

I know that this post can be seen as a collection of negative examples. Of the single experience of a young girl who couldn’t deal out there in the big world. You are right, to a certain extent. These are my experiences. These are the stories that happened to me, but every single girl I’ve met along the way had stories just like mine. And yes, I am frustrated and saddened, but this trip has made me stronger in many regards. Trust me when I say that it’s not culture shock. It’s not the feelings of a scared little girl who’ve barely traveled before. It is not. I’ve been to many countries and I’ve seen people of many cultures get angry and frustrated but never have I felt this kind of aggression. Towards me and others. Never have I felt so unwelcome in a country.

Again, let me say one more time that you can, as a girl, travel to Morocco. You can walk through the souk by yourself, you can go have dinner by yourself, you can do it all. You don’t need someone with you. In fact, I urge you to. Just expect a certain level of harassment, but don’t let them get to you. Kill with kindness and you’ll emerge as a stronger, wiser, and better person in the end.

So please, travel to Morocco. The culture, the history, the architecture and the majority of the people are amazing.

Do it solo, do it as a girl. But be aware that it might be tiring.

_____

* pictures taken by Krystin Ross.

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35 thoughts on “Of dirty bitches, fucking tourists and mint tea on the house. Or: why Morocco was a struggle.

  1. well … im moroccon .. basicly all what u said is right and trust me its not all the truth.
    people here ar narrow minded and just like social horny animals, i was hopin to defence or idk cause im moroccon but … how can i ??? i see this stuff everyday and because i dont do that ppl says alot of bad things abt me
    because im curious abt relegion they call me atheist
    because sex isnt a preority they called me gay
    because im open minded and likes to discover new culture … well u can heuss what they called me…

    • It’s so interesting to hear this from your perspective, thank you for commenting!
      It was never my intention to generalise, I’ve heard from many people (female solo travelers and others) that their experience was totally different to mine. So this was just a recoount of what happened to me and I’m sad that similar things happen to you.
      I’ve had great conversations about religion with moroccans though, it’s absolutely fascinating to hear and see a different perspective. I can only hope that you don’t lose those traits and stay true to yourself even though the morrocan society doesn’t seem to make it easy for you. That is just terrible.

    • No, you should definitely not be ashamed to be Moroccan. It’s a wonderful country with so much history and so many lovely people. You should be proud! This is just one aspect from my time there. A big one, yes, but still only one side.

  2. I totally understand what you’ve been through. Women here don’t have it easy in the streets, especially when they’re walking around alone.
    One story comes to my mind while typing this. I was once in Tangier walking in the “boulevard” at night, it was crowded and there was a couple of young female tourists walking in front of me, whenever they walked past a group of guys they have been harassed, at one point they got tired of it, stopped, and waived for a taxi. It wasn’t the only time i witnessed such behavior. And I’m not even talking about all the men sitting at the cafés on the sidewalk checking every woman that passes by.

    • Yes, I’ve heard similar stories from almost all women I’ve met who traveled through Morocco. It’s so sad. I know men have such a different experience in Morocco, it’s hard for them to relate, but as soon as the topic falls to this during a conversation with other women, they immediately understand and relate.

  3. Hey. I’m a Moroccan guy as well, and I just wanted to share my thoughts.

    I think you’re either exaggerating or you’ve been to places where you shouldn’t even go near. Because I’ve been around hundreds of tourists in most of the major cities, and trust me, I’ve never seen someone treated this “aggressively”. Also, most of the touristic attractions are usually crowded, people would be ashamed to even talk to you, let alone lay their hands on you. I’m not saying you’re lying about those stories, they could happen, but definitely not in known attractions.

    And about the bruises and the sidewalks part, well, that’s just .. and pardon my french, it’s just bullshit. WHICH PLACES IN MOROCCO DID YOU GO TO? SERIOUSLY!

    Well, I wouldn’t be lying if I said I anticipated the “I’m a feminist” part as soon as you posted the link for your tumblr.

    Another note is that you’ve only written one positive paragraph about your experience.

    Anyway, on behalf of the nation of Morocco, sorry about your negative experience and good luck with your University studies.

    • Hey, thanks for taking the time to comment.
      There are a couple of points I’d like to adress here:

      1) Trust me, I’m not exaggerating. Like I said in my post, I really wish I was, but for almost all of the stories I’ve told I was around at least one other person who can assure you that these things happened and these were exactly the things those men said or did.
      I also don’t think I was ever in places I “shouldn’t have been”. In Marrakech, when a man grabbed me, I was just around the corner of the El Badi palace, when I was called a dirty whore I was sitting in a park, just outside of the medina in Tangier, surrounded by otherwise pleasant Moroccan families and other tourists. These things always happened in, or just outside of the medina, during the day, surrounded by a ton of Moroccans and tourists.
      2) I don’t understand your point about feminism and how that is linked to tumblr.
      3) This is a post about street harassment. It is not a post about all the great experiences I had while I was there, it is not a post about the lovely people I’ve met. I have yet to find the time to do this. The only reason why I mentioned it at all was that I felt like all of my earlier points could come on as a bit too strong and I wanted to make clear that it wasn’t all bad. However, street harassment was something that followed me around everywhere, which is why I felt the need to get this off my chest.
      4) You don’t have to apologise, but thanks for the well wishes.

    • Hey. I’m a Moroccan guy as well, and I just wanted to share my thoughts.

      Just because you’ve never seen something happen doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. She did, I did (as a spectator), and it’s always surprising hearing men saying this doesn’t happen when, if you just hang out enough in the street or have a diverse group of acquaintances, you’ll probably witness it and your own friends will show that behavior and/or talk about it very openly. Maybe try speaking with more women in morocco to get their perspective.
      Also, why does it matter how many paragraphs she writes about what’s good lol it’s her own blog post and she can choose whatever topic she wants. You’re free to start a blog with your positive experiences as a man there whenever you want.

  4. Thank you for posting. I am a woman who lived and traveled in Morocco, and my experience was so similar to yours it brought tears to my eyes at the memories. I lived with a kind, loving family and met so many amazing people there, but the harassment I experienced in the streets was almost debilitating at times, and most men will never understand and never believe you because they have never experienced anything like it. I had my breasts grabbed by a boy on a bike, been grabbed from behind, followed for almost a mile down the beach while being called an American Whore for ignoring him, and a thousand othe experiences. It was practically non-stop. Moroccan women also had such stories, and said that all you can do is ignore it, but that in itself can feel so crushing to the spirit. As a woman you just feel as if you are trespassing on the streets, as if they belong only to the men. I still struggle with the effects of it over a year after returning to the US. And I can’t talk about it withough having to justify why I was in Morocco in the first place, and assure them that I always wore culturally appropriate clothing. Everyone’s first reaction is to try to find the thing I must have been doing wrong in order to deserve or attract it.

    • Oh no. I’m so sorry this happened to you, that’s absolutely horrible! Your story shows how far we have to go in our own countries still. There’s so much work to be done to avoid these stereotypes and ideas of the fault having to lie with the women.
      In my circle of family and friends I never had to explain myself when I told these stories. They know that I’ll wear culturally appropriate clothes and do everything I can to be respectful to the people and their religion. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have to explain yourself to everyone, that has to be so frustrating.
      I still think about the things that happen often and wonder if there could have been anything I could have done differently: engaged in random conversations more, be more gracious to others on the street, be more firm,… I don’t have an answer for this yet but I think we don’t need to. I know it made me a different, yet stronger person and I hope you also took positive memories with you from your time in Morocco.

  5. Thankyou for sharing your story. I have a question, and it’s just a question. It’s not meant to insinuate you were doing anything wrong, and I trust you wore modest clothing (by Western standards), and even if you wore hotpants, its irrelevant. But: What do the young women of morocco wear while walking the streets? Do they walk the streets alone? In small groups of girlfriends? I am just curious to know if i wanted to go to Morocco, could i cover up more than might be recommend and have an easier time of it?

    • Thanks for your comment!
      I wore either long, loose pants or floor length skirts. I paired both with T-shirts at first but after I saw young moroccan women wearing tank tops, I also wore tank tops every now and then, but I waited until I got a feel what moroccan girls around my age would wear on the street.

      Morocco is very diverse. You’ll see young girls wearing headscarfs and heavy dresses, covering their whole body, but you’ll also see women wearing super western clothes, with cute hairstyles, no headscarf and heels. They hardly ever wear shorts or skirts that don’t cover their knees but like I said: tank tops were not uncommon.
      I hung out with a girl around my age while I was in Tangier and she went out with friends, but they would always be cautious and knew exactly which bars and places to avoid and which were fine.
      My french teacher once told me that her own daughter (who’s studying at university) often dreads leaving the house because she gets harassed so much.
      I don’t think it was the clothes that provoked the harassment, but my advice would be to wear long pants or skirts and pair them with tshirts or tops. Just have a look at the moroccan girls around you and get a feel on how they dress and what’s appropriate.

  6. Or in other words, how an ignorant female thought she could conquer a foreign culture and impose her delusional standards on others by whining about “objectification” and justifying asocial behavior by saying “the males in that particular country changed me into this”.

    You are arrogant, we Moroccans are better off if you and your degenerate kind keep your distance from us with your poisonous concepts of life.

    • Please tell me where in this post I said that I wanted to conquer a foreign culture? And what exactly the delusional standards are that I want to impose on others? Respect and dignity? In that case I’m not sorry.

      I’m sorry you feel that way but you hardly know me. If anything you’ve just proven my entire argument: quick and sudden agression, not being welcomed in a country. If hate’s the only thing you spread, why take the time to comment at all?

    • Not sure if you are trolling or not Samiya, but I’ll take the bait. I think if you were to reread the blog post again you would find something much different than the idea of an “ignorant female coming to conquer a foreign world” and if you had read any background you would realize that a 20 year old woman coming to a Muslim country to learn and experience it on her own does a much greater service to our country than beating them back and calling them poison does.

      I am an American volunteer who has lived in rural Morocco for the past two years of my life and I can unequivocally say that the majority of Moroccans are wonderful, generous people.

      I can also say that life here as a female Brrani, (outsider) is incredibly difficult. I too have witnessed terrible sexual harassment from the medina of Rabat to Marrakech to almost any other major tourist destination. It is a real problem and before you go off hating on this girl who took the time to come to your country where tourism is so vital to its very existence, take a look inwards and really try to understand your country from a different perspective. Try and be a voice of reason to so many Drari who think its okay to objectify and harass unassuming strangers. By doing so you will make your own country better and more welcoming to people who want to learn and experience all that Morocco has to offer.

      God bless your parents.

    • So feminism, civil behavior, politeness are poisonous concepts of life ? Do you really think that or are you implying she had delusional standards that moroccans could never reach ?
      Either way of thinking is just sad, and I’ll tell you what many stupid moroccans will say to many women innocently walking in the street (REALLY surprised you’ve never heard this one before): “you’re a pretty stupid bitch”

  7. I am an American man currently living in Fez. All you Moroccan guys who are deploring this behavior: help, do your part. When you see harassment, call out the guy(s) involved. A simple “La tkoonsh hunzeer,” “Don’t be a pig” works great. Usually all you’ll earn is a few insults in return, but I’m convinced that the shame is enough to make even the worst offenders think twice the next time a girl walks by. It’s not all peaches: I’ve had a couple of fist fights so far, and have to keep looking over my shoulder whenever I’m in a certain part of the medina. But shit, I don’t have it as bad as the girls.
    On a side note, I’ve seen Moroccan women slap and throw stones at men who cat-call them. I’ve even seen them cheered for it. Try it out.

    • This is one of the best comments here. You provided a solid solution, but i doubt Moroccan harassers would take being slapped kindly. Women being hit back is a possibility still, and unfortunately it is more likely to happen. Therefore i suggest the opposite, just keep on ignoring the pigs.

      • Do not keep on ignoring the pigs my friend, FACE THEM, this is what real men do, they stand up and talk, and protect the defensless, instead of letting the thugs and the ignorants to impose their law on us.

  8. I’m Moroccan too, and trust me it’s not only western women, you just can’t walk outside without being harassed, especially the local places. if you’re a tourist they expect money from you, if you’re showing a little too much flesh you’re technically a whore and they have the right to touch you. Sorry you had that experience :(..

    • Yes, I’ve heard this from my moroccan french teacher as well. Her daughter hardly ever goes out because of it. It is very upsetting, to be honest =/
      I’ve been criticised for this post to be centered around myself and not taking into account that other women, moroccan women in particular, have the same experience (while also, simultaneously denying this is an issue at all…. uhm… what?!). I’m very aware that it’s an issue for moroccan women as well, as I’ve been out with them too, but I purposely made this a post about my very subjective, very specific experiences. I tried (and probably failed) to stay factual with my stories, but I never intended to exlude anyone. I’m starting to ramble again, sorry.
      I’m sorry this is your reality as well. I’m hoping it might change in the future – for the better. :)

  9. Sorry to read about your experience, and how it was ruined by constant harassment. Unfortunately, it is true and I don’t doubt your story’s credibility for one second. As the majority of ‘decent’ looking Moroccan girls suffer from the same kind of harassment. The Moroccan society is still a couple of steps behind concerning ‘social evolution’ and being a Moroccan guy, we tend to overlook this problem since we rarely are reminded of it. My only guess when I think of this problem and what makes it a problem is the sudden transition that happened within this society, concerning shorter and tighter cloths, the unexpected exposure to SEX through TV and the net and etc…
    For instance, comparing both the American and Moroccan societies, sex was introduced gradually in the America, whereas in Morocco, it was really sudden and quick. with the introduction of the internet in the early 2000s. And to emphasize the gradual process further. You guys started with magazines, then more magazines then VHS tapes to DVDs and long came the internet. If i ask my father for example, not saying that I can nor dare to, about his source of ‘adult entertainment’, he’d probably tell me about prostitution, which was very rare and underground in the 70’s-80’s or his imagination to get the job done.
    Another mention-worthy point is the ‘Liberation’ of women that happened through America and Europe in the 60s, 70s and 80s which gave women somewhat of a fare-share of value in the society. Keep in mind that Moroccan women had and have no part in that. Not until lately. The Moroccan woman is surely free to an extent, she can drive, have a career and have equal chances as men in any field, which is a positive thing. But social equality is still to be achieved.

    And Islam might appear as an easy factor to blame, but it’s not. Islam states that women should cover themselves properly, respect their husbands and be obedient. However, it also tells men to treat women in the same manner if not even better, so religion is not something to blame here, but the misinterpretations of the religion by Muslims is.
    And lastly, your media is to blame also. The image of the ‘easy’ western or European women is all over our phones, computers and such, which engraves a false idea within our minds that needs education to be removed.
    These are some factors that I thought of since this is an issue that bothers my girlfriend also; who cannot go out except with me next to her to fulfill the part of both the boyfriend and the bodyguard.

    Hope this made sense to you and clarified things a bit, and on the behalf of Moroccan society, We’re sorry you had to endure that shit, and hopefully such harassments will no longer pose an issue to tourists with time, since that’s what this society needs. Time to develop.

    • Oh my god. Thank you for your detailed and insightful comment! I’ve been very interested in the issues of “global sisterhood” and various forms and stages of feminism(s), since obv, western, middle class feminism, is very problemativ if applied to other cultures. This is why it was fascinating to me to be out with moroccan girls my age and see how they handled not only themselves, but also unwanted advances from the opposite sex.
      I hope this post didn’t come about me blaming it on religion because I don’t think that’s to blame at all. Sure, it dictates different things than, say, christianity, and some of it might be hard for people from other confessions to grasp, but I personally know, and have met, so many devout muslims who have been nothing but kind, respectful and nice.
      It is interesting that you mention the media, because that’s what I’ve been told as well, but never got to “experience” or see first hand, so I never really got to relate to how the media portrays western women.
      I still feel deeply saddened by how this is affecting women – no matter if they are morocan, or western.

      Thank you, again, for taking the time to comment, and please do not apologise, that was never my intention. With people like you, taking the time to explain issues like you did, I’m confident things will change in the future – for the better!

  10. Since my style of writing is usually a manifestation of my mood, emotions at that particular moment, I apologize in advance for my vulgar language. To those mother fuckers who felt the need to attack the author, you can go fuck yourselves. The truth is more than half of the population are illiterate and have some type of psychological disease. I guess with all the “fucking” cousins are producing. I am Moroccan and I live in Morocco. Here, Moroccan pigs treat animals with no fucking compassion and you think they will treat a tourist who happen to be attractive with any respect? Moroccans have no respect for women because the majority see them as a piece of ass or if you are a foreigner, you are his meal ticket out his shithole.
    I don’t really know what to say but I think you have been generous in your description of the shit you went through. You should have been more brutal and let the fucking apologists go fuck themselves. The reality is that foreign women who visit Morocco go through horrible experiences when our ignorant mother fuckers interact with them. Assholes who think they are defending Morocco are nothing but wannabe nationalists. They are not helping, they are fucking hypocrites when they know the truth otherwise they are fucking blind.

  11. I’m sorry to hear about your experience , truth is most of the Moroccans are opportunists and arrogant to the point they will often try to rip you off and they will even feel clever for doing so, while I understand that from your feminist point of view it must have been a living hell know that some of us locals (and this coming from a Moroccan man) feel just the same and yet we have to coope with this every single day , as for harrassement it had unfortunately became a standard in our so called “muslim” controversial society.

  12. My daughter(born in Oakland CA) told me the exact same thing, when she was walking the streets of a small town in Morocco. I find it difficult to forgive them for what they say and do to all women, and I feel ashamed to hear stories like this one, because I am a Moroccan/American man, who taught that things have changed around here, after being absent for 25 years. NOTHING have changed, unfortunately Nothing, just stupid people breading more stupid people, nonstop…

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m sorry that this has happened to your daughter too :(
      If this post helped this issue being discussed by some people then I think I have done what I set out to do: spark (insightful) and productive conversations :)

  13. Hey, just my two cents here as a western guy;

    Except for the part of sexual harassment, I experienced the rest as well. I’ve never experienced something like this before and was baffled; they really hate you or expect money for nothing.
    It takes the fun out of traveling, but I hope it’ll get better once I’m in the more rural parts.

    • Traveling is so different from person to person. I’ve talked to girls who spent weeks in rural parts and only had lovely things to say about the moroccans they interacted with. They were shocked when I told them about my experiecnes. I hope your travels weren’t all bad and you were able to enjoy that beautiful country!

  14. As a male living in Tangier, I can say that most of what happend to you happend for 3 reasons
    Xenophobia, Racism and and a bit misogyny, not a very good cocktail
    IMHO this is why this three things are experienced by female foreigners ( but also males in some cases )

    A lot of people hate Outsiders for various reasons : France and Spain ruled our land from 1912 to 1956, so I lot of people who lived in this time despise ” outsiders ” or how they called them ” Gwara ” in my city, and the generation that followed was thought to never trust and hate on outsiders because they made us ”suffer”( even though you or any other foreigner aren’t responsible for what some people did 100 years ago), not just from France or Spain, they also don’t tolerate other races : for most people here Asian / Black people are considered ”filthy” humans ( Yes I shit you not they call them ” Khanzin ” wich means Filthy ) they also think that we’re superior to them for some reason ( Every time I hear my grandma and mother talk about this it makes me cringe … )
    And when it comes to woman well …
    Idk the exact reason, but like you said: not all of us are pigs …
    Story time: when I was still younger ( 16yo) I was walking with a ” friend ” when he started catcalling a girl who was dressed in a revealing way, I felt really uncomfortable, when we passed her He asked me why I didn’t join Him, to wich I replied : It’s childish
    He started to insult me and asked me ” Are you a faggot ? stop being a pussy etc etc ”
    Needless to say I cut my ties with him a long time ago.

    Sorry You had a bad time here :(

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and give more insight.
      Colonialism is such an intricate topic (and it pisses me off when people (like my grandfather sometimes) say stuff like “oh well but it ended so long ago, those countries had their chance to recover and make it right”) it still happens. It happens not through nations but through internatinal institutions and I cannot even begin to understand how this must impact the lives of so many people.
      I’ve heard that story about – especially people from subsahara africa being called all sorts of names too. A hostel owner told us that those people are “worth less than moroccans” we were shocked – to say the least.
      Peer pressure is an ugly thing, but thank you for telling me that story, I really appreciate it!

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