modern educational system for women in Morocco at the time of Merissa’s
Dreams of Ttrespass
,They could attend Koran courses or a French school only with their father’s permission. Somegirls were allowed to have secular educations in some cities, but older women did not havechance to obtain that kind of education. Those who were not able to achieve their goal would tryto ensure their daughters had better educational opportunities.The male members of the family like grandfathers, uncles, fathers, brothers, andmale cousins tended to support limited education for women. Their aim of keeping women under strict controls in harems might have two reasons: first, they might have been afraid of women‘s power, second, they felt empowered when they limited women’s freedom. Men knew thatknowledge is power for everybody especially for women, and only comes through a realeducation, not by imitating or blindly following traditional beliefs in traditional Koranic schools.They knew that teachers like Lalla Tam, who was the headmistress of the Koranic school whereFatima was sent, was teaching lessons like: “Education is to know the
the sacredfrontiers.” (3) Men also knew that powerful women would never accept sharing their husbands,so polygamy would come to an end; Hududs were established to keep women within limits.Being educated or not had no difference for most women in the harem. Cousin Chamawas a good example because although she was literate, she was not allowed to listen to the radioor read newspapers. To resist presented many theatrical plays to the women in the harem. Chamawas seventeen and always talked about “women’s invisible wings” and taught Fatima that her wings would develop when she was older. Perhaps she was talking about the knowledge whichshe would gain through education. (22) Aunt Habiba’s tales in the other hand made Fatima “longto become an adult and an expert storyteller myself.”(19) Thus Fatima was able to treasure her French education all the more because she saw the women around her being deprived of basicknowledge.