By Abdelhakim Alioui
By Abdelhakim Alioui
Morocco World News
Meknes, March 3, 2012
Two weeks ago, I read an article by Mr. Ahmed Assarrar, a Morocco World News contributor, called “Desensitizing Sexual Harassment on the Moroccan Channel ‘Al Oula“. The writer argued that a sketch about street harassment presented by two Moroccan comedians, Wadea and Said, on the Moroccan channel ‘Al Oula’ encouraged children to harass girls in the street because of the reaction of the harassed girls in the sketch, and the positive feedback from the audience towards the way they performed that sketch. Instead of writing a comment at the bottom of his article, I prefer to tackle this issue overtly in a separate article to give my own point of view, and at the same time to show the pitfalls of Assarrar’s arguments.
There are a lot of criteria that should be taken into account when analyzing things. One of these criteria is a holistic analysis of texts or talks. The analyst needs to analyze the text, in this case the sketch, holistically, which means from its beginning to the end, instead of selecting certain scenes that further his/her claim. I watched that video used by Assarrar to support his allegations about desensitizing street harassment, but he did not pay attention (may be deliberately) to the last parts of the three scenes of the sketch. From the sketch, he focused just on what he thought could support his claim, and ignored what happened to those people as a result of harassing girls, such as the accident that happened to the one who was riding a motorcycle.
The second criterion is the context (who said what to whom, when, where and how). Without taking these circumstances into account, any analysis will be inadequate. Thus, the comedians were in a competition, and they were constrained by time. That is to say that they had to present something digestible in the time allotted. So, their sketch tackled the issue of street harassment, within our Moroccan context in particular. I personally think that the sketch gave a clear idea about the malady of street harassment, and urged people to avoid it as a deviant behavior, and not the opposite.
Wadea and Said presented the sketch to their viewers, especially Moroccans, in the appropriate manner. And I will not go back to the sketch in order to depict what happened, but rather I will focus on some parts of it so as to give the counter-argument to what Assarrar said. Let us take, for example, a question asked by Wadea, as a harasser, to one of the girls in the sketch about her job. He did not receive an explicit answer from her, which means that she was unsatisfied with her work, and this is an indication that not all girls are the same, but only deviant ones. Furthermore, the feedback from the audience at the end of the show was another indication that the comedians succeeded in their mission in entertaining as well as informing their audience about street harassment, and how some youth spend their time.
I do agree that the media has a great impact on people. The book Psychology of Media by David Giles (2003) confirms the idea that watching violence on TV or playing video games may make children more aggressive. But we cannot apply that to this sketch since it is hard to predict at a glance its impact on children without extensive studies that prove this, as media researchers claim. Furthermore, I myself do not notice any use of scenes on our national TVs that encourage or depict street harassment as a benign behavior.
To conclude, I dare say that the interpretation the writer gave to the sketch was not unique. It was his own interpretation, and, as we say, “reality is in the eye of the beholder”. I, therefore, recommend a very interesting book called Interpretation and Over interpretation by Umberto Eco (1992) to the reader in order to know more about the idea of interpretation and over interpretation of a text.
Alioui Abdelhakim is a student of the master program « Communication in Contexts », university of Moulay Ismail in Meknes, Morocco. He is Morocco World News Contributor.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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