The Paradoxical Concept of Virginity in Morocco

The Paradoxical Concept of Virginity in Morocco


[symple_box]khalid boulbourjKhalid Boulbourj is a teacher trainee at the CRMEF. He graduated from the University of Hassan 2, Mohammedia, Morocco. [/symple_box]

One of the most beautiful things I love about life is the concept of logic. It is something that lets you understand and interpret things in a reasonable and convenient manner. But logic does not always function as the one thinks, as in some cases, logic seems to be of no value. In Morocco, logic will all but help you understand the social construct of the Moroccan society, and will surely prove to be quite ineffective in understanding the Moroccan mindset.

The only adjective that can describe the Moroccan society adequately is “paradoxical.” Yes the Moroccan society is paradoxical since much of its collective unconscious lack reason. Let’s start by marriage as seen through the collective unconscious of Moroccans. Marriage is an institution that is highly valued by Islam and Muslims. And since Morocco is a Muslim-majority country, Moroccans cherish marriage.

Taking into account the fact that the Moroccan society is patriarchal, we can shed light on some of the regulations that govern marriage in Morocco. An oft-cited marriage prerequisite in Morocco is virginity. Virtually all Moroccan males say that their would-be wives are required to be virgins, otherwise they won’t marry them. They believe that a woman must preserve her hymen as this membrane is entwined with a so-called “Family Honor” concept. The internet is full of stories of Moroccan men who decided to call off their marriage after discovering that their wives’ hymens were not intact, even though their wives assert, with the support of a gynecologic, that the hymen was not broken due to sexual intercourse, but torn during childhood from activities such as ballet, horse-riding, bicycle riding, or gymnastics.

This concept of virginity is flawed when it is seen through the lenses of logic. If we judge the virginity of girls by checking their hymens, how are we going then to check the virginity of males? Is a male who experience a nocturnal ejaculation no more virgin? And if a man has several sexual intercourses, how could we prove, on the legal framework, that he is not virgin? Of course, just as males have the right to ask for virgin would-be wives, women, by the same token, have to ask for chaste partners. But sadly in Morocco, no one actually speaks about this or even looks at this issue from this angle. This is due to two reasons. The first one is that males are privileged in this advantaged stand. The second reason is fear; males refuse to speak about this in fear of being prosecuted by a male-dominated society.

An even more troubling cultural issue is the problem of forgiveness. Often, forgiveness after a sinful act is something that is exclusively reserved to males. If a male has a sexual intercourse out of the wedlock; his sinful act is immediately forgiven, since according to Moroccan males’ logic “Allah is the most gracious and merciful.” However, if a female does the same, she will be subject to insults, physical assaults, and may even be killed under the pretext of protecting the “family’s honor,” as if “Allah is no more the most gracious, the most kind.” No need to wonder why men cannot be prosecuted, even though, by the same logic, they also tarnish the “honor of the family”. In an English dictionary, the aforementioned has a name: patriarchy.

The bottom line is that Islam strictly prohibits sexual intercourses out of the wedlock. Sexual intercourses out of the wedlock are prohibited for both sexes, be it a MALE or FEMALE. Islam does not differentiate between sexes and reserves the same punishment for both genders. Nobody has the right to instrumentalize Islam and Quranic verses.