In 2012, at the outset of the “Moroccan Spring” and the election of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) to power, Naima Zitane, a Moroccan feminist playwright and founder of the Aquarium Theatre, directed and released her controversial play Dialy (“Mine” in English) inspired by Ensler’s text The Vagina Monologues and drawing on the real-life testimonies of 150 Moroccan women. In a context where the recently elected Islamist party was calling for ‘clean’ and ‘halal’ art, the play tackled the topic of female sexuality and one of the biggest taboos of the Moroccan society- the vagina. Combining a textual analysis of the play’s script with an interview I conducted with Naima Zitane, my analysis revealed that Dialy aims to “talk back” not only to a hegemonic political discourse that restrains Moroccan artists’ creativity and freedom of expression, but also to the dominant social norms that alienate female sexuality by depicting the vagina as the ultimate social taboo. While it was initially banned from being performed in Morocco, Dialy managed to create a nationwide controversy around issues of (female) sexuality and artistic freedom; it remains, undoubtedly until today, one of the most famous plays in the history of Moroccan theatre.

Author Biography

Maha Tazi is a Ph.D. candidate in the Communication Studies Program at Concordia University. She is interested in women’s creative disobedience in post-Arab Spring North Africa as her research focuses on women’s visual arts, theatre political cartoons, graffiti, slam poetry and RAPtivism in contemporary Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia. Maha also actively engages in feminist research-creation. She has previously published an art photography project in Feminist Media Studies to raise awareness about the backlash against women’s rights in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Maha is currently working on an audiovisual production, called “103-13”, to raise awareness on the extent of gender-based violence in Morocco and create a conscious feminist call for action.

Contact: maha.tazi91@gmail.com