Since it was published in September 2019, the “Hshouma” comic book has raised many questions about gender taboos and gender equality in Moroccan society.
Rabat – Written by young Moroccan feminist Zainab Fasiki, the book has sold thousands of copies and is becoming an educational resource about society’s forbidden topics.
The book describes sexuality and taboos surrounding women in Morocco’s conservative social norms. Having won several awards for promoting women’s rights Fasiki wants society to open up about its mental images regarding women’s bodies and freedom.
“Hshouma” displays a collection of drawings about gender and sexual taboos in Moroccan society.
The book, published by Massot Editions, is currently available in Darija (Moroccan Arabic) and French but will be translated into other languages, according to the initiative official website. “It will be in all bookstores in French-speaking countries including Morocco.
The title “Hshouma” is a frequently-used Darija word that signifies shame and taboos. In Morocco’s conservative society, taboos center on issues of sex, religion, and race.
In her book, Fasiki wants to clear misunderstandings around women’s bodies and pays tribute to the courage of Moroccan women.
Who is Zainab Fasiki?
Born in Fez in 1994, Fasiki is well-known for her feminist activism and art. In her childhood, Zainab fell in love with drawing and robotics. Later, she started a journey of her own by creating comics, focusing on her artistic career after graduating as an engineer in 2017.
Fasiki’s activism revolves around breaking taboos surrounding Moroccan women, a theme she explored in her other works, “Only Between Us” and “Feyrouz Versus the World.”
Through her art, Fasiki is trying to create change and a clear understanding of the female body in Morocco. “Art and literature are two powers that changed many nations to peace,” writes Fasiki on her book’s social media page.
International success and recognition
The Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation acknowledged Fasiki’s initiative in Morocco in promoting equality and fighting patriarchy.
The foundation described her as “a Moroccan feminist comic artist whose goal is to fight patriarchy through art, and encouraging women to join her fight for women’s rights and gender equality.”
Amnesty International gave the Moroccan feminist an award in 2018 on the International Day of Women Human Rights Defenders. In October 2019, Time magazine named Fasiki a “next generation leader” for “Hshouma.”
Touring the world in 2019, Fasiki met Moroccan readers of “Hshouma” in countries such as the US, France, and Italy.
Fasiki has also given book signings both in Morocco and abroad, with recent events in Rabat, Casablanca, and Paris.
An educational platform for about sexuality
“Hshouma” has been tremendously successful with 3,000 copies selling out, requiring a new printing, according to Classy Addiction.
Now an educational platform, “Hshouma” intends to sensitize both Moroccan women and men about issues of sexuality and gender. The platform relies on education to bring understanding and clarity to the taboos in society.
Fasiki is also active on the web and social media to spread awareness among Moroccans. She communicates about her artwork and activities on Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram.