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.
Naima Zitane’s Revolutionary Play, Dialy: Using the Vagina Trope to “Talk Back” to the Islamist Party’s Calls for ‘Halal’ Art in Morocco.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 22(1), 246-269.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol22/iss1/15