Soumaya Noman Guessous is born in 1955, she is a Moroccan sociologist, author of articles and is known as the “champion” of women’s rights. She is a writer of the book “Far from the chastity” published in 1988 on the sexuality of Moroccan women, relying on her academic research during the eighties on five hundred women of different ages and social backgrounds. It quickly became the best-selling book in Morocco with 40,000 copies in five years. It was also a revolution in the French press because it was the first time a Muslim woman dares and names everything (sexuality, body parts) by their actual name.
Even though Morocco is considered an open minded country, but when it comes to sex, or more specifically women and sex it says a taboo. There is no sexual literacy in morocco at school. And maybe it is a matter of religion or traditions, but anything sexual is considered a taboo. So for a woman to defend women rights and to talk freely about sex and sexuality in the eighties’ is something unbelievable and very courageous.
She was one of the first Moroccan women to public a book about what is considered a taboo in an Islamic traditional society. When sociologist Sumaya Noman Guessous prepared her doctorate thesis on the subject of the concept of women sex in relation to religion, rituals and customs, she did not know that her book which printed a first edition in 1987, will produce sales and will be reprinted 14 times. , And that the Moroccans were hungry to break the gender trap. For the first time, a Muslim researcher explored the views of the subjects discussed in the shadows, opinions on virginity, and female sexual frustrations.
In her book, Sumaya Noman Guessous deconstructs the idea of “taboo”. She talks about the relations of power and control over the body of women, through tracking the life of the female from birth, to adolescence, marriage and the power that she is subjected to it at every stage: the authority of the father, brothers, husband, boss…Back at the eighties and the nineties television and journals refused to host her or to promote her book even though it was one of the best sellers for 5 years in the row, but women and even men were all about her, and her signing parties were crowded with admirers and inspirers.
And because she was an obsessed scholar and was inhabited by the questions and concerns of the Moroccan sociology, she kept digging and searching behind closed doors. A lot of extremist and religious figures tried to bring her down, they have even considered her a traitor to her religious and tried to forbid people from buying her books, for the reason that they thought she is the devil and she was trying to get rid of tradition and spread evil and taboos. But that didn’t bring her down and until nowadays she is one of the most respected doctors at the biggest university in Morocco.