The objects of travelwriting have changed
throughout history. With the rise of the colonial revolution, a travelwriter’s
journey has moved from being a voluntary act with no hidden intentions to a planned
move of support towards the colonial objectives of one’s own country.
Stereotypical images then were used in travel narratives in order to convince
the readers that the colonial act is right and that it was mainly executed with
cultural motives, not political ones. Besides, a negative representation of the
conquered country can help shape a strong and powerful image of the colonizing
side which would always be viewed as superior and more civilized than the
Many travel narratives can be used as
reliable references inwriting the history of a country. Hence, all the
stereotypes and lies built on the culture of a country start taking part in the
construction of its history, which will surely never be forgotten. In the past,
and during the times Morocco was still under the control of the French colony,
Moroccan homes were receiving British and French travelwriters and they would save
the visual captures of their experiences to later write about the social life
of the Moroccans in their narratives. The writings would feed the western
readers’ hunger for the exotic, the strange and the purely unfamiliar world and
equally help them build a visual image about the country in question.
The capital usually represents the best
a country can give, which makes anything written about Fes (the old capital) so
important in building a fair image of Morocco. The representation of women is
of equal importance, we cannot expect a nation to be developed if its mother is
still lagging behind. That was exactly what brought my interest to the chapter
where Eugène Aubin, a French writer, describes the social life in Fez and the
life of its women in particular in his book Morocco of To-day (1906).
The proposed research will take the representation of women in that passage as
a subject of study and the extract will
be analyzed and dealt with in both a close and a distant overview.
Several researchers dealt with gender
representation in colonial discourse before. Some of them stood for the Indian
woman in British literature, others asked for a proper representation of the
Guinean woman in French travel narratives, but as far as I know, no one was
there to criticize the way the Moroccan woman was represented in the French
works during the protectorate. Which is why I believe an appropriate
investigation about the matter should be put into practice.
In a female-centered subject of study, no theory
could best suit the matter than a feminist one.
The application of a feminist approach will give us a clearer vision of the
changes that should occur in the affair as it can provide a richer and less
subjective viewpoint of the problem.
The subject of our study should be dealt with in
both a narrow and a broad analysis. In order for the approach not to be too subjective,
we will first have to treat the wider concern which is colonial discourse. The
use of a feminist theory will come second in order to focus on how women’s
identities and bodies are being used and represented in a false or biased view.
Finally, the results of the preparatory study will
be used as a support for deeper analysis of the chosen passage. All the main
findings will be applied in a closer overview of the extract where Eugène Aubin
described the life of the women of Fez in the 15thchapter in his
book :Morocco of To-day (1906).Every single aspect in the description
will be analyzed, one at a time, forming a proper division of the study.
In the course of
this study, we will analyze how the colonial discourse can affect women. A
woman living in a conquered country can be doubly colonized, as both patriarchy
and colonialism would combine forces to turn her into an object to use in any
way they find profitable.
The main aims of the proposed study will be to fight
traditional stereotypes in relation to women’s bodies and identities and
equally encourage the formation of a new representation of the Moroccan woman
in both history and literature. The results will be to inspire a rewriting of
an accurate history of the “true” Moroccan woman, a proper and stereotype-free
representation of the Moroccan culture and a convenient documentation of the
Moroccan woman’s fight against both the patriarchal institution and the
1Colonial discourse of otherness : stereotyping and fetishism :https://www.brown.edu/Departments/Joukowsky_Institute/courses/materialworlds/1857.html