Monday, 22 July 2024 20:30

Round-table discussion: "Our bodies as a battleground: writing at a time of feminist and humanist revolution".

    "Our bodies as battlefields: writing in the era of the feminist and humanist revolution" was the theme of the second round-table discussion organised by the Council of the Moroccan Community Abroad (CCME) at the Rabat Book Fair on Thursday 16 May 2024. A free discussion led by the French-Moroccan novelist Samira El Ayachi together with her guests,Rim Battal, a Moroccan poet and journalist living in France, and Fatima Ouassak, a French-Moroccan political scientist and lecturer.

    Their writing - essays, novels and poems - crossed paths to explore a revealing stage in a woman's relationship and interaction with society, namely motherhood, a personal and intimate choice that ultimately has "a social and political dimension".

    Rim Battal argues that the way in which "white" feminism thinks about motherhood implies that "a woman who chooses to be a mother abdicates from feminism because she is alienated by it".

    Fatima Ouassak tried to change this assumption when she published her first book, La puissance des mères (The Power of Mothers). She contrasts the French feminism that "considers mothers to be alienated beings who are only concerned with feeding their children, as Simone de Beauvoir, who had such a contemptuous approach to motherhood, might have argued" with the sacredness of the mother's place in Moroccan culture, "this strong person with the power to change the world". She explains that she sought to bring this sourced vision into our Moroccan culture in order to protect her children against structural racism in France, by reconciling feminism and motherhood.

    Referring to racism and feminism, Fatima Ouassak described a " societal paradox ". Referring to her mother, she wondered "how a woman who leaves her native country, which is supposed to be less free for women where she could move around freely, has found her freedom diminished by being confined to a very small space in an apartment block where racism and Islamophobia are widespread".

    As Rim Battal points out, it's not only in housing estates that women's freedom is compromised. "As I grew up in Morocco, I had a great desire for freedom and, like many young people, I imagined moving to France, but I realised after 10 years in Paris that women's rights are still very limited in Europe and my positions as a woman are both transgressive and disturbing, even in France".

    In addition to feminism, the representation of the female body and society's relationship with motherhood, the panellists talked about borders and freedom of movement.

    CCME

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