My Invisibility Glasses

“What’s it like as a woman living in Morocco?”1 Well, let me tell you…

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  1. I get this question approximately 238974837902 times every week from friends, family, strangers, tourists, and pretty much everyone else. []

6 Responses

  • This seems to hold true even for blondes (so far). Your trick almost outweighs the perils of my bespectacled vision. In another country, my corrective lenses concern would be walking into a parked car. But with traffic in Morocco? I’ll try my luck with the wolf whistles instead.

  • Wow Serena!

    This reminds me so much of my experience travelling alone in Morocco and I just wish I had these amazing glasses with me at the time. I recognize all the sequel of words and strategies used by Moroccan men, I’d only add “gazelle; gazelle.. tu es mariĆ©e gazelle?”, so typical of Marrakechi men who think they are such great hunters that they can even consider referring to you as being their prey.. n’importe quoi!

    Courage!:)

  • Stumbled upon your cartoon from the legation site. I don’t know that my glasses are working so magically, but nonetheless this is hilarious and all too true. Well done!

  • There’s another way of getting rid of those men, and that is to simply wear an abaya/jilbab and hijab. That way you’ll get some respect and they’ll leave you alone as well (if you wear it properly) because your beauty will be minimized. That’s one of the reasons why Muslim women wear such things anyway, its to earn respect and not have guys chasing them around wanting sex.

    • As a foreigner living in Morocco, I do my utmost to be culturally sensitive. I cover my arms and legs in public, avoid revealing or tight clothing, and never make eye contact with men in the street. I have heard this argument before, of course, but I simply don’t buy it.

      My experiences have been far easier than many women I know here. But surprisingly, out of all my female friends, the Moroccan women–covered and uncovered–report far higher rates of harassment. Their encounters tend to be frequent, invasive, and uncomfortable bordering on a feeling of violation. Some have had worse experiences. I know Moroccan women who are deeply religious and follow their religion to the letter. Yet they still encounter these daily violations.

      Regarding clothing, even in the United States women who are victims of rape sometimes encounter arguments like “This happened to you because you were wearing tempting clothing.” Do you think that justifies a sexual assault? Can you see the similarity to what you’re saying? What if I told you that I think men should cover their skin and hair to minimize their beauty? Would it be okay for me to verbally harass, touch, or sexually assault you because of what you were wearing?

      Men–in any culture–should strive to behave like human beings, not animals. What does it say about their own religious beliefs if they are constantly seeking sex? What does it say about their upbringing? Their manners?

      I’m not casting aspersions on your beliefs; I’m merely pointing out that everything I have encountered here in the past two years points to a cultural, rather than religious, issue.

      There are many things about Morocco and Moroccan culture that I think far outstrip the United States. Family is valued here in a way that it has not been valued for decades, maybe centuries, in the US. In nearly every way, this culture is the warmest, most welcoming one that I have ever encountered. I love living here. If some cat-calls on the street are the price of being part of a culture that I think is inspiring and wonderful, then I’m willing to accept that. But that doesn’t mean I can’t laugh about it a little, too.

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