**Update Feb. 3: This post is sort of irrelevant now since, as of the evening of February 3rd, the original article in question has been deleted from Morocco World News. Click here for a link to the Google cached page (courtesy of @Karim_EH).**
[The following is a satirical post based on the article initially entitled “The perks of dating a Moroccan man while living in Morocco,” which was been changed to “On dating a Moroccan man while living in Morocco.” The article initially listed Morocco World News‘ assistant editor, Katrina Bushko, as the author–but her name has since been dropped from the article’s byline without any explanation.]
Not in a million years did I think I would get to exude my privilege while studying abroad! Not being able to stand out at my Ivy League university, I had no expectations that going to Morocco would reveal the deeply embedded hierarchy I would later find myself situated in. But life has a funny way of handing you surprises, and this was definitely one of them.
[Image of Talitha Getty on a rooftop in Marrakech, Morocco. Image via Jezebel.]
Being a child of a multi-cultural marriage has instilled within me an appreciation for flat multiculturalism and to know what to expect when I interact with people who are less privileged. Of course that only got me so far. I have a great appreciation for Moroccan people: the Orientalist tropes about hospitality were totally on point and because Brazilians are close enough to Moroccans, and I love Brazilians, it makes sense that I absolutely adore Moroccans…broadly speaking though. (This obviously excludes the disenfranchised and marginalized classes of Moroccans who scare me with their poverty). So I guess that puts me one step closer to being involved with a Moroccan.
However, what really intrigued me about my exotic and (now ex) boyfriend was the fact that he recognized how my white-passing skin resonates with dominant representations of beauty inherited from a colonial era and sustained through the socioeconomic and political expansion of Western hegemony. On any given day, I could walk through the souq in Fez or in the streets of El Jadida and be stared at, called to, and generally harassed–I understood this as being a manifestation of how Moroccan society defines beauty through common images in media and advertising until I realized that this treatment toward women is not exceptional and that sexual harassment on the streets of Morocco is a serious endemic that merits more than a sentence indicating self-worth. I had written off most Moroccan men as being in either one of two categories: they are sexually deprived animals who prey at the closest thing to a vagina or they want to exploit my position as a white-passing non-Moroccan who is visiting from a country associated with the proliferation of neoliberal policies that have essentially reduced Morocco’s economy into a market dependent upon IMF and World Bank loans and has made Morocco reliant upon tourism as a major source of capital, as such, I must deal with various Moroccans trying to sell me things. But, I luckily found one (I choose to say “one” as a benign expression of my privilege because I see this Moroccan man as a continued manifestation of my objectifying gaze that engenders the way in which I see brown men from a non-Western country). This gives me hope that there is, in fact, a third category of genuinely good Moroccan men who are willing to build a relationship with me based on the power imbalance I have illustrated above without questioning why is it that I have reduced the entire Moroccan male race into 3 mere categories that mirror the ways in which colonial powers created categories to reduce the populations they dominated over and blur over any nuance that could have broken down the premises on which their exertion of power was based upon. So that was definitely a pro of dating this “third category” Moroccan: submission. Continue reading