Gender and Verbal Violence: a Form of Psychological Abuse in Moroccan Popular Culture

Mohammed Derdar


Language is a mechanism of communication that is constructed to provide a shared environment
with mutually understood terms and ideologies. Language is both constructed by society and it
constructs society. The words people use to communicate ideas reflect the ideologies people hold
and how they think about the world. Indeed, language can be used to convey violent ideas and
feelings. Although "violence" is presumably physical, it can extend into the verbal realm of
spoken and written communication in a way that produces both physical and psychological
effects. It is within this theoretical framework that the present study tends to reflect upon verbal
violence as a form of psychological abuse against women. Based on qualitative data, this study
argues that Moroccan popular culture, especially through some words and expressions constitute
a key form of violence against women. Words such as “divorced”, “infidel”, “spinster”, and “
‘aqrusha” are used to serve and maintain the patriarchal system through upholding a set of
gender binary pairs where women are linguistically relegated to a passive other.


gender, language, violence, women, Moroccan culture, patriarchy, stereotypes, feminism.

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