By Ahmed Assarrar
By Ahmed Assarrar
Morocco World News
Meknes, February 19, 2012
It took one year to reflect on the comic program “Komedia” broadcasted on the Moroccan channel Al-Oula. It was only after I had been introduced to the subjects of ‘Gender Studies’ and ‘Media and Society’ then I started to realize that the sketch number 2, stage number 4 delivered by the comedians Said and Wadia in the program “Komedia” (2011), was indirectly promoting sexual harassment. I, therefore, deduce that the sketch will possibly desensitize sexual harassment among the viewing masses.
The sketch tackles the issues of sexual harassment in a funny way that I personally love. It tries to highlight the idea that the phenomenon of sexual harassment in Morocco is hugely widespread. The two comedians present the stories of many boys who commit sexual harassment. The first story is about a boy who is riding a motor vehicle and at the same time gazing at a girl, who passes by. As a result, this causes the boy to have an accident.
The second story is another scenario of the first story. It is about a boy who is also riding a motor vehicle; he sees a girl passing by and he stops to talk to her. Said and Wadia, the two comedians, presented this scene, as the first, in a very funny way to the extent that one can see sexual harassment as something normal and even banal. What makes the matter worse in the second story is the appreciative reaction of the girl. The role of the girl was humorously performed by Wadia who accepts the invitation to take a ride with the boy. This funny scene can have a dangerous impact on the psychology of many viewers, especially young boys and girls who may simply get desensitized against such anti-social behavior. Boys will think that to harass a girl in the street or any other public sphere is a behavior highly tolerated by girls, and girls will understand that accepting such anti-social behaviors is normal that one cannot overcome.
The third and fourth scenes are more dangerous, not because of the way the story was performed by the two comedians, but rather because of the appreciative reaction of the audience attending the performance. The third scene exaggeratedly depicts the story of a young boy who harasses a girl for a long period, from the period of high school until when the girl becomes a mother. The fourth scene pictures two young boys standing in a street to watch and harass passing girls. The two boys end up having a pain in their necks because of the repetitive act of watching passing girls. The reaction of the audience to these scenes was hysterical and full of laughter and appreciation. Of course, one can argue that the audience’s reaction is a normal outcome of a funny sketch. However, one should also question the impact of the audience’s reaction on teenagers, especially when observing how adults are fascinated by the performance of the two comedians in all the scenes that contain sexual harassment.
Lastly, the desensitizing affects of some anti-social behaviors that the media implicitly communicates will absolutely have harmful influences on the Moroccan society in which more than thirty-percent of the population is illiterate, let alone what is called today media illiterate. Therefore, programs such as the one I mentioned above will simply promote some anti-social behaviors like sexual harassment and, therefore, create moral decay. Adding to this, the absence of sexual education as a subject from the curriculum of Morocco’s education system, one can safely argue that the situation is indeed alarming.
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
Ahmed Assarrar is a student of the master program « Communication in Contexts », university of Moulay Ismail in Meknes, Morocco.
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