S3, Ep 4 Leïla Slimani: Sex, Lies and Morocco's fight for feminism

In this episode of The Pleasure Podcast we welcome Leïla Slimani. She was the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary prize, the Prix Goncourt, which she won for Lullaby. A journalist and frequent commentator on women’s and human rights, she is French president Emmanuel Macron’s personal representative for the promotion of the French language and culture. 

We speak to Leila about her collection of essays Sex and Lies which examine the sex lives of women in Morocco. 

In these essays Slimani gives voice to young Moroccan women grappling with a conservative culture that at once condemns and commodifies sex. In a country where the law punishes and outlaws all forms of sex outside marriage, as well as homosexuality and prostitution, women have only two options for their sexual identities: virgin or wife. 

We discuss what it was like growing up in a liberal family within a deeply conservative society. Misconceptions about sex and sexism in Islam. And whether we can ever know who we are when our country has been colonised.

She asks if it’s possible for the people of Morocco to rediscover their own culture away from the impact of colonialism and if so, whether that would be a more tender, affectionate, and honest way to live. Sex and Lies confronts Morocco's hypocrisy of sexual values and is a vibrant appeal for the universal freedom to be, to love and to desire.

Sex and Lies is published by Faber and Faber and is available HERE

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