“Hshouma” by Zainab Fasiki

This article is also available in: Italiano

“Hshouma” by Zainab Fasiki is a real pearl that, in just 120 pages, will show you the evils that grip the sexual sphere of Moroccans both for the aspect of the law and for that of Hshouma, the “culture of shame” . One text we should all read is that it has so much to teach


Hshouma in Morocco means “shame” and indicates all taboo issues that should not be discussed in society or in the family. This is the name chosen by the Moroccan feminist Zainab Fasiki for an art project that is also a denunciation of the oppression of women – not only in her country – and a liberating lesson in sex education. Through drawing and writing, Fasiki redefines the canons of beauty, makes fun of the hypocrisies of patriarchal society and demolishes stereotypes one by one. As courageous and ironic as their author, her women challenge prejudices and conventions, involving the reader in the construction of a new identity. This book collects the art, the message and the struggle of a courageous author who, without abandoning the local reality from which she comes, speaks to women all over the world.

Manifesto for sexual liberation

This incredible comic is a pearl with strong and devastating language and concepts, able to tell the immense difficulty that every Moroccan is forced to experience due to the extremely patriarchal and moralistic structure that is lived within the country, also showing some practical and intelligent solutions to give them back their sexual freedom. Attention: as reiterated over and over again within it, the text is not posed in any way against religion and culture, but against its ignoble exploitation, capable of generating a large number of problems for the population. Wanting to respect one’s faith is in fact something sacrosanct, wonderful and enlightening, but decisions are beautiful and solid when they are made independently and for purity of soul, not when they are imposed from above. In fact, in addition to risking to alienate people from the faith, it gives rise to an incredible number of problems such as, for example: corruption, clandestine abortions, absurd incarcerations and, above all, a culture of shame that impregnates every living being that surrounds it, giving rise to various psychological and social problems in the mind of each individual.


In fact, if the law can be escaped, from the culture of shame (or “hshouma”) no and it is something that unfortunately still today has a specific dramatic weight in the mind of every Moroccan and Arab in general. Suffice it to say that even today, even if the phenomenon is fortunately in great decline, there are women killed only for not having arrived virgin at marriage; something absurd and that, in reality, affects only the female sex, the one who pays most of all for such thoughts and policies as it is considered “manifesto for the purity of the house”. Precisely because of this never required feature, the woman’s body is also the most controlled of all, ready to be condemned both if it is too exposed and too covered. Other extremely affected categories are obviously those of all non-Muslims (which for the de facto state do not exist) and the whole LGBT + community. that in Morocco, just for the fact of existing, risks imprisonment from 6 months to 3 years. The really dramatic thing about the Moroccan situation is that, precisely for the hshouma, it is very difficult to carry on a healthy sexual education, as the general shame and modesty in dealing with these issues mean that certain parts of the body cannot be said in darija (/ Moroccan dialect) without actually saying a bad word; so to speak, it is as if the words “penis” and “vagina” did not exist in English, but only “dick” and “pussy”.

In just 120 pages “Hshouma” not only manages to show us the sexual problems of Morocco in great detail, but leads us to a reflection that involves every population and raises many questions in the reader’s mind about the society that we are and that we want to be. An authentic pearl that should be made read to everyone and even brought to schools because of its immense impact and meaning, a lesson that we should all learn and that represents a first and very important step for a world where freedom and respect (really) reign for each individual.

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