Disclaimer: SEX & THE BLED is a chronicle I created to talk about sex in our country, and the Arab world generally, it is in no way hateful of men, it is hateful of the pressure installed around sex in our countries.
As a young Arab girl raised in a Moroccan society, I grew up in a world which is denying the existence of sex and yet, my country manages somehow to make it to the top charts in “explicit content” views. Yes, Morocco -the tajine cultured country- consumes sex probably more than bread.
Sex has always been a subject that no one would talk about, and if you ever do, you get hit by the finest slipper on the head. Yes, I am talking about that education, the one we all had, the one where we are thought to never argue with an elder person especially if it’s a man.
In an Arab world where the man is always right, the woman is always wrong. This I had to learn at a very young age.
I remember being in primary school, I was probably 8 or 9 y/o, when a boy had a note passed down to me through our classmates, it said “I love you” he even proudly signed his name, drew flowers and a bad shaped heart, it was all cute until my teacher asked me to give her the note. I hesitated, but I had no choice. I knew for some reason that I would be in trouble even though I did absolutely nothing wrong. I walked up to her desk gave her the note, next thing I knew my mom was called by the principal, she had her come to school for a “disciplinary” meeting, I remember being there at the end of it, looking at my moms face when the principal said to her “we don’t do such things in our school, we don’t tolerate this kind of behavior” and then she turned to me and asked me to “make sure it doesn’t happen again”. The boy did not get in any trouble, he was in class doing math or reading a poem with my classmates, having a somehow “normal” childhood while I was sitting outside the principal’s office being educated the Moroccan way.
I was bullied by my own teacher for the whole year, she would take any chance to call me a “slut” and humiliate me in front of the class. For, A, Whole, Year. It was long.
What is mortifying to me apart from bullying a child and calling a little girl names, is that she was a woman, she could’ve stood with me in this situation, but she is not really one to blame as the society puts the responsibility on women. One time I even got yelled at because our neighbor (married man and a father to three kids) was staring at my breasts. It’s like we are the ones who are supposed to cover up, instead of teaching men to look away. If it was the other way around, we would be pulling out narrow-minded men’s eyes and walking all naked, feeling no shame what so ever. I sometimes fantasize about that I have to admit.
It’s always women’s fault, you get harassed in the streets? it’s because of the way you’ve dressed? You get raped? That’s because you were all slutty and probably asking for it.
It’s like playing minesweeper game, you never know when it will blow into your face and there is absolutely no clear rules written somewhere nor a logic.
Now the funny thing in our world is that sex is so taboo and forbidden than it became the greatest temptation of all. As Zineb Rachid quoted in one of her Insta stories “To forbid is to incite” (it was not related to this topic, but it spoke to me).
Sex is a big matter in our society, yet not addressed it’s like that elephant in the room, everyone is trying to avoid it and act like it’s not there, when every move is planned around it. From where I come from you can go to jail for sex, you can see your reputation ruined because of sex, I even might be called names after I post this article.
Now, why is everyone in the Arab world afraid of sex?
Are people afraid of sex or from women to discover the power they hold in it?
I think Arab countries are fearing the day when women will no longer depend on men, the day when a girl won’t need to get married to have her children, the day when she will demand to be satisfied sexually to her man without fearing that he would look at her differently.
Today with the current “no sex before marriage” rule, men are torn, they want you but they hate you because they can’t have you. This is why you would hear men insulting you in the street if they find you attractive, what a paradox! They’ll still hate you once they get you because you are not supposed to surrender to your instincts and desires as opposed to men, as so they would let us believe. This valse will continue until they find “the one” and settle down, and even after they do, some of them might start to feel about their wives, the same way they did about their girlfriends, because marriage is not the solution to everything, the real problem is that our society is based on judgment and chit-chat and that everyone grows with this illusion of marriage as a fix rooted in their minds, the social pressure is too great for a brain to understand.
I think that the solution to the current sexual guilt trap installed in the Arab world will go through a long process of women changing the education they give to their children, we need to stop glorifying a boy over a girl just because of his genitalia, we need to give credit equally to both genders, to encourage them and help them grow into a better version of ourselves.
We need to let girls play with cars and boys with mini kitchenettes if they want to, we need to stop putting people in boxes. boxes don’t fit, they never did, they will never do.
Would love to read your thoughts about this in the comments section.