About Me


I want to emphasise that I’m intending to share what my personal perception on these topics was. During overall seven months I tried to get as diverse an impression of the country as I could and did see many different sides of it. Starting with the warm welcome from Ahmed and his Family in Agadir ,I then roamed through the surf hotspots Imsouane and Taghazout, bigger Cities on the bottom of the usual itinerary such as Meknés or ElJadida  and went to places like Essaouria and Chefchaouen, as well as traveling with my local male partner all throughout the country. Only the small non touristic towns I did not even feel comfortable traveling by myself, and no opportunity crossed my way to spend significant times in those.

While I often enjoy moving through countries and cultures by myself, I had great struggles to do this in Morocco and proceeded to choose the comfort of a group over my own ambitions for the day, especially in Essaouira which was the most uncomfortable place in terms of sexism and racism for me. I can only speculate where these behaviours are rooted in and do not want to go into these here since they do not matter a great deal to me. Understanding the cause might help with making excuses for the other party but I believe that everyone is responsible for their actions, and you cannot excuse those with culture or history, to me it only shows unawareness of your actions and missing reflection of your patterns and motivations. I also want to point out the individuality of these experiences, everyone has different perspectives on the same situations, your mental state, own believe system and ability to cope with uncomfortable settings have a great impact on how things are perceived.

For me personally there was a great deal of sexism and racism present in everyday interactions with local people. And while this is so far the only country outside of Europe that I have travelled to more than once, I did not feel judged and handled so disgustingly because to my race and gender this much in any other place I have been to. I had the pleasure to meet several amazing people in this country and do not want to judge that every Moroccan behaves this way but in my time the number of interactions that made me feel reduced to my gender and origin were overwhelming.

In terms of racism, I felt like people see me as a wondering money machine with my white skin and European features. Wondering around the streets of Meknés common people going about their business would turn to me, reach out their hand and inherently ask for money. The first few times I gave them the benefit of the doubt and politely declined, but after becoming aware of the pattern that the only white person will get asked repeatedly and no one else is asked to support their struggles, I felt the approach of – hey, you are European, you must have money to give around to the ones in need and you are obliged to hand it out without question-. Equally, every possible business made me pay more than regular price. At the bus station I had been to with a local friend the day before to check the price, I was asked for 150 DHM instead of 100 and after some negotiation where I insisted on the correct price, they smiled complaisant and say “ok 120” and blocked any further conversation. My negotiation skills are ridiculously bad, and I do not enjoy any part of arguing about money where both parties pretend like they are in the right but one is just being rude, hence these situations added a great distress to my days, especially once they got paired with the general observation that people think – white person means loads of money.

In the eyes of many men, I was apparently not entitled to my own space and opinion which I felt like was a mix of racism and sexism since I experienced pressure of this sort from male Moroccans towards western looking women only. To this day I cannot understand with which reasoning in themselves, they would approach me when e.g. walking along the beach with my headphones on full volume (so I wouldn’t hear the cat calls) not looking at anyone. How can someone feel like it is ok to aggressively invade one’s space by stepping into my way, answering my attempts to ignore them with more shouting and physically stopping me. I would try to stay respectful and tell “I just want my own space and walk”, often the men would proceed to talk at me “I Just want to practise my English and show you around” in a tone that implies I should be thankful for their approach. Me clearly communicating my needs, would be ignored and I might even get called a bitch or shouted at in Derija for not giving them the attention they were seeking. And yes, this kind of ignorance is present anywhere, but I could not walk or sit anywhere for more than 5 minutes without being approached in Essaouira specifically.

Poster on the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland

Furthermore, being a white, maybe even my ginger hair intensified this, young woman seemed to trigger thoughts of easy sexual pray in a lot of the men of any age. I am passionate about how women are treated in our time and pay a lot of attention to the energies that people interact with and for that I was in constant alert to all the objectifying that happened to me. Seeing the amount of it, is surely connected to my attention to it, but if I would pay less attention, it would not be less present even though it might have made my time easier. I see that lustres men pick me and other light-coloured young women out of the crowds of local and foreign people walking the streets and I know that that is not by chance but clearly judgmental objectification to my gender and appearance, which seems to inspire this aggressive, disrespectful contact.

In some places this sexism-racism is openly communicated, here I want to tell the story of a little popular bar called the hole in the medina of Essaouira. It is said to be a fun and authentic local bar, I went with a group of travellers from the hostel I was helping at and was impressed by the vibe of drinking and smoking in this little stone hole, sports playing on the screens and snacks being served with every drink. I did notice that the local customers were men only but did not think too much of it since Moroccan women are commonly not very visible in their leisure life. I then found out, that local women are specifically told that they are not welcome here and refused entrance. This is said to be because the men want to drink in peace and that this is not a place for women, historically being a Sailors bar where the woman present were only for the sexual enjoyment of men. Allowing foreign women in the bar gives a clear statement of how we are seen and valued, frankly as loose sexual objects.

During my first time in Morocco, I went into exchange about this topic with fellow travellers as well as local men and women and it became clear that there is a definite pattern of young white women being targeted for these disrespectful, sexualised approaches. Many even suggested to just go out in male company.  Later, while travelling with my partner I experienced a very different side of the same judgement. By the side of a male Moroccan, I was not the target of harassment anymore but nothing more than his company. Many people would make no effort whatsoever to connect with me. Me not speaking the language surely made it easier for them to talk to him but I would not even get looked at and felt very much on the side of most encounters. At times I would pay for our items and readily await the change which would be handed to him without a notice of my presence there. Also, he became the target of harassment, getting many comments on how good it was for him to be with a European woman.

I want to note that all of this did not make me feel unsafe, since I have a strong energy, people (except one particular Essaouira surf boy) would not cross the line of rude verbal and energetic attack. I have many more stories like the above and worse to tell, but do not write this to complain about single situations. They should only illustrate the core problem, that females and white people get treated with a very specific judgment and this makes me angry and sad, mostly though it makes me not wanting to return to this country. Therefore, many amazing people and places do not get the appreciation they deserve form open travellers like me because we are forced to put up a thick wall for protection or do not visit at all. On my mission to talk about everything truthful and openly this was an important piece for me to write, to spread awareness in the small circle I reach and support sisters with similar experiences by letting them know it is not about them personally and that this is a deep, systematic problem. It also is one of the hardest I ever wrote because I must choose my words very carefully and do not want to pass judgment on my side eighter. I believe by talking about these things we take away some of the power and support awareness which is an indispensable step towards change and tolerance.