Women’s Religious Voice

I have written a lot about Gender as a subject in this topic. One area that this is really coming through has been the past weeks readings. The idea of speech in the “Women’s Suq” being a mix of private and public speech takes me back to my trip to Morocco. While speaking to a Moroccan woman from the Cross Cultural Learning Center, she shared the history of women in the public space.  She described the private space as belonging to women and the public space belonging to men. However in today’s culture the street, a public space, is filled with women.  So the gender divide is shrinking.  According to Farah (the woman from cclc) Women have moved out of their private spaces and into men’s public space. This has changed dating culture, gender roles, etc… Speech has changed also, both men’s and women’s. As Deborah Kapchan presents in her book, “Gender on the Market” women now have a place at the market place, and that place is exemplified in their speech.  Women salespersons and shop owners use speech to convey their intelligence and their religiousness. Using classical Arabic speech Moroccan women in the market place take this public position to draw attention to their wares as well as themselves. These majbudas or entranced ones derive authority from saints, even though they are women.  Even with its religious tones, mentioning the prophet and prayer, Farah’s grandmother would have been appalled by women being out in the street let alone, working in the Suq. Morocco and its common gender rules have changed vastly in the past half century. Women are deriving religious authority and proclaiming it in the streets.

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