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Abstract

The nineteen eighties and nineties marked a turning point in Moroccan women’s campaign against gender discrimination and patriarchal hegemony. During this period, Moroccan women’s writings moved beyond the archaic subjects that had been dominating the literary scene during the sixties, such as the call for women’s education, women’s work in the public sphere and women’s domesticity issues, having as a goal to start addressing some of what was considered taboo issues such as the question of the female body, sexuality, and teenage pregnancy. The emergence of such writings heralded an awakening of a feminist consciousness that reflected new and revolutionary feminist perceptions. They provided a feminist definition of the question of the female body and sexuality, beyond common patriarchal views. From the 1980s on, women’s literature unmasked women’s unique feminist approach to writing their bodies and celebrate female subjectivity against what was considered to be unmovable norms. In this context, the very concept of a woman’s body and sexuality remained a taboo that resisted critique. The female body remains submerged in patriarchal discourse that not only neglects it but renders it a passive entity that finds its meaning only within the boundaries of male language and desire. The female body was always represented through the system of patriarchy as a source of temptation and pleasure; hence the view that it should be controlled, protected, and veiled. However, the development of women’s feminist consciousness entails in its tenets, new perceptions of the female body and sexuality. Within this context, this paper examines Moroccan women’s new feminist consciousness of their bodies and sexuality by providing an analytical study of some feminist works by Fatima Mernissi, Soumaya Naamane Guessous, and Ghita El Khayat. Through their feminist writings, such writers attempted to transgress this taboo subject and go beyond the patriarchal assumptions about the female body and sexuality.

Note on the Author

Hanane El Aissi, an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Letters and Humanities, University of Cadi Ayyad, Marrakesh city, Morocco and a permanent member of the Laboratory of Scientific Research LIMPACT. Since she has got her Ph.D. on Cultural Studies and Literary Criticism, she extended her work on Feminism and Gender Studies, hence published many articles on the subject in International and National Journals in both the English and Arabic languages. She participated in many conferences on the question of feminism in different countries all over the world. She has won recently the National Prize of Allal El Fassi for Thought and Literature. She has just published a book in the Arabic language entitled: The Formation of Feminist Consciousness in Morocco. She had the honor to participate with Professor Miriam Cooke in the Sixth African Woman Forum that took place in Tiznit, Morocco 2018. Recently, she has been granted the Erasmus Scholarship for a teaching visit to Lithuania. She has also participated in the World 5th Conference on Women’s Studies which took place in Bangkok, Thailand 2019

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