The Arab Gulf & Moroccan Women: Time to Break the Stereotypes

By Assya B. Moussaid

Morocco World News

Montreal, November 9, 2012

Yesterday, I came across an article written by a talented Moroccan lady, about the preposterous documentary on the four foreign females (implicitly, but not so discreetly suggesting to be Moroccan nationals) in the UAE who are evil home wreckers and that “the law should be adjusted to restrain women from that country from entering the Emirates.”

I cannot begin to describe how mind-bogglingly offensive that was. However, in this spontaneous piece, I will convey what I think about the khaleeji man/Moroccan-woman /khaleeji “victim” woman triangle.

Fighting hatred with hatred doesn’t solve the problem. While khaleejis in general and khaleeji women in particular stereotype about Moroccan women, the latter also, to a considerable extent, reciprocate the indirect hate by generalizing and sometimes assuming that all Khaleeji women are or feel the same way.

I have khaleeji girlfriends that are intellectual, beautiful and talented. To be honest while some were initially open minded and against stereotypes, others had had a negative idea before meeting me and then changed it as we became friends and proved the stereotypes wrong. It felt like getting their “approval”.

Khaleeji men in Morocco

Yes we have prostitution in Morocco, and yes we relatively are a country with plenty of freedom. But that doesn’t mean when a khaleeji man lands in Morocco all the girls welcome him with “arms” open. There are places for that sort of fun some in which khaleeji men visit morocco for; Clubs and bars. I don’t know all the corners and tactics, but you get the idea.

One of the sad realities that those who judge Moroccans don’t know is that the khaleeji men who come to Morocco with the intention to fool around, do annoy girls who have no interest in playing around. Some people might say we had it coming, but since when does the behavior of a portion of people become everybody’s mess to deal with?

I remember once I was in a cafe with my young uncle. When he left to the bathroom, a Khaleeji guy came up to me and told me he liked me. I didn’t speak back. I wasn’t dressed provocatively or anything. Regular loose jeans and a long shirt. I probably should have taken that as a compliment hmm, Not! I was sixteen!

The other victims

The stereotypes are not just hurting Moroccan women, they are offensive to the khaleeji men as well. Some of them do visit Morocco strictly for business, some of them are happily married to a woman from their country and are just visiting to relax, enjoy the ability to go for a swim in January in Agadir and the next day go skii in Ifrane, or take photographs that depict the beauty of Morocco, as in monuments, mountains and the colored cities.

Not every Moroccan girl is poor, and not every poor girl is a gold digger

What do you do when you have a problem? You try to find a solution for it, and the length to which you go depends on your personality, your principles and beliefs. Now imagine a pauper young lady who’s been blessed with physical beauty, perhaps also a charming conversational tone. She sees her family go through extreme poverty, perhaps has an alcoholic father and an irresponsible older brother. She has been raised in a family that couldn’t afford to even pay the minimum fees for public schools, or even worse, at times, forced her to be a maid.

This young girl meets a khaleeji guy who is mesmerized by her beauty, he offers to marry her, take her somewhere where she can, not only be married but also help out her family financially, how do you expect her to turn him down?

Most of the time these men never confess that they already have a wife. And even when they do, well, you guessed it, the girl is too desperate to care.

As for the ones who sell their bodies, I and most Moroccan women think that there is no level of poverty that should justify a woman doing that. While some girls fight through poverty to provide for their family by being maids, or getting a blue-collar job at a factory, other girls seek the easy way. So, a beautiful desperate pauper girl -minus pride and self-respect- becomes a prostitute, causing shame and endless embarrassment to the rest. Us decent Moroccan women have to always work hard, be great and remind you of the great Moroccan women in the Olympics and science to prove we’re not all the same.

Yes we all do that.

Sorcery or magic of personality?

It is exhausting how a lot of people keep joking about sorcery every time they meet a Moroccan girl. At school, “Oh you’re Moroccan, I should be careful, haha.” or “Oh I heard that you people have special ways to get a man, teach me!” Excuse me?

It is always either “sorcery” or “hashish jokes,” and I don’t do either one, nor do I think it’s funny. So for those who thought it was going to be a funny ice-breaker, I say it was a fence-builder.

Many khaleeji men have been asked why they like Moroccan women, some of them have never visited morocco, some of them have a Moroccan colleague who invited him for dinner and was impressed by the wife’s cooking and caring for her husband and home, some others have attended university with a Moroccan girl and appreciated her intelligence and kindness.

And so these men say: “Moroccan women enchant you with their personality and not actual sorcery.”

The Secret:

Imagine being a genuinely great person who’s earned the appreciation of someone, and having others offend you by giving all the credit to something as infuriating as sorcery. It is like being a rich assiduous polite student and then being accused of having bribed the professor when obtaining a good grade!

Some khlaleeji women undoubtedly are amazing, beautiful, care for their home and are happily married. In every relationship, in every marriage there are problems, but these women are open minded and work hard on their couple’s happiness and even when they have careers and hobbies, they make sure they find time for their home. I know some of these women.

I had to mention the great ones first, so it is clear that I am not generalizing but then there are the other khaleeji women who are self-absorbed with fashion and family parties and end up neglecting the most important person in their life, that’d be the husband. A neglected man or woman might just end up falling for someone else. And most of the time women tend to blame the other woman and almost never the man, or her own role in the failure of the relationship. And the easiest justification to escape one’s responsibility and the core problem is to blame some metaphysical power initiated by some selfish evil woman.

Moroccan women have a secret for that personality spell that has nothing to do with sorcery, and yes I’m giving it out for free! Mind you, the marketing professional in me has thought about providing this to you for $9.99, but for the sake of clarifying matters, I’m doing it free of charge. Our secret is that most of us are raised and told “you can be beautiful and educated but when you’re at home with your husband and kids and your in-laws, you leave your profession and success outside, and put your family first.” Correct me if I am wrong, but what sane man doesn’t fall to his knees for a woman who’s charming, presentable and takes time to cook, treats her in-laws like her own family and makes time for cooking even if she has a maid or two at home? I’m not saying all Moroccan women are like that, but this is the general pattern of the culture.

Making a difference one “like” at a time

I always wanted to inspire and make a difference; I’ve always been opinionated with a vehement sense of defending what’s right, and standing up for the weak.

And you can never stand up for anything better than the things that are personal, that touch you the most; your country, your reputation, your being.

I have decided earlier this year to show my talents on the social media in a bolder way: My photography, my humble polyglot sayings, artwork and other. I’ve had feedback from people around the world, including the Middle East and the Arab gulf. Some khaleeji women have written that I was surprisingly creative and interesting, and for a second, I wasn’t sure if I should be flattered or offended. But I was definitely flattered when I realized how properly representing Moroccans one post at a time, one “like” at a time, does make people change their mind or at least re-think their stereotypes.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy

Also published on Morocco World News

The Arab Gulf & Moroccan Women: Time to Break the Stereotypes

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One thought on “The Arab Gulf & Moroccan Women: Time to Break the Stereotypes

  1. Hi,
    I went to Tanjah and it was a great city. I really loved the area near the train station and Marakab al-Rabe’ and the beach. The only problem I would say, and this is a matter of personal taste, is that Moroccans are not rice eaters.

    It is interesting, that I can pass for Arab, though I am not. Every Moroccan would come up to me and ask me where I am from since I spoke Arabic with a heavy accent. Finally I made it a guessing game. In the end one guy said, “Hey, you are a Muslim! Come on bro, let’s get a beer!” I don’t go that way, but I understand his well wished.

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