Social Hypocrisy

It baffles me how many female friends/acquaintances have disappeared from my facebook friends’ list. I don’t take that personal as I know that it is always related to a new kind of relationship in that friend life – usually an official one like in engagement or marriage -.

Disabled facebook accounts, male friends’ removal, or tightened privacy settings are not uncommon among Jordanian women when they engage in a serious relationship, actually it is becoming more of something that is expected! Why would a married woman keep male friends on her facebook list? We still can’t think of people’s relationships outside gender binaries, do we?

How many women are out there who have suspended their online social relations for the sake of their families? which is, in other words, to avoid problems that may arrise with their husbands. How many women are out there who do expect such behaviour from their men? and actually give them legitemacy by claiming that it is our culture. We can’t break off it, can we?

How many men are out there who carry on such behaviour not because it does really threaten them, but because it is what they believe people expect from them, including their own wives? Would she lose respect of him if he didn’t get mad over her facebook account? Maybe some would, and it may better to act the way they expect me to act, no?

Isn’t it easier to just break off – even slightly – from social expectation? When will Jordanian women stop excusing men abusive behaviour under the name of our culture?


  1. I remember discussing the issue with my father, i was preparing myself to go out with my friends.. and he was joking around asking me which girl from my “shelleh” i like.. and when am planning to hit on her.. though am not against friends dating and all.. but i really think of my friends just as friends.. not as potential girlfriend/wife.. and i tried hard to explain my point of view to him.. and at the end. he was like “ok ok.. u r too shy to admit it.. fine.. enjoy your night out”

    So yea.. the social norms until now are putting those gender barriers.


  2. Hi There,

    This reminds with a discussion i had with my aunt who lived most of her adult life abroad, un-wed, till very recently. The discussion was not about facebook, but rather over religious and social barriers as thought of as imposed by society. I had a totally different opinion.

    While she thought that sometimes, our thinking is highly restricted by how our society and culture tell us what is acceptable and what is not, i kept on getting the impression of this: “we jordanians know the society and culture impose such restrictions, and since we know no better we continue to duck our head in the sands as they say and continue with our daily lives”… I actually feel it is not quite the case: i know of the cultural impositions (not sure it is the correct word), and i know most of what the “west” consider as imposed thinking, and honestly, in some topics i prefer the way our culture deals with it, if it didn't, our society will end up quite differently that what it is today.

    Am not saying we are perfect, basically that we have our differences, and some of what is imposed is part of those differences that can be projected in a positive light.



  3. You’re right that this is a common phenomenon. Not just in Jordan, even amongst arabs in the west. I used to share your same feelings regarding the issue until I was in a serious relationship, then I started thinking a little bit differently.

    I’m not speaking specifically about removing your fb friends of the opposite gender, but I do think it’s inevitable that there will be a change in the nature of your relationships with people of the opposite gender. To me it’s not an issue of trust or hypocrisy. For one, you relationships could really bother the person you’re with. So for me making my relationships with guys less casual is a compromise I make for the sake of our relationship whether his insecurity is justified or not. Just like if he had girls that were “just friends” who like to call him regularly just to chat like friends do-it would bother me. Why do I have to explain or justify why it bothers me in order for him to be able to alter his behavior? It just does! and I would really appreciate it if he distanced himself from those relationships.

    Regarding trust, you can fully trust the person you’re in a relationship with at a given moment but you never know when they’re going to be in an altered state of judgment. We’re human and we’re not perfect. Also even if you trusted the person you’re with you don’t know if you can trust their friends. It’s common that people have crushes on married acquaintances and you can’t trust everyone to act appropriately so I think it’s better for people in a relationship to set some standards or implement social changes that single people don’t necessarily need to observe in the first place.

    One of my good friends who I addressed on my blog a few times recognized that her husband did have girl friends. Some relationships did bother her but she didn’t make a big deal of it because according to her she trusts him and she wants to give him his space just like he gives her his space. A year and a half into the marriage she found out that he cheated on her. It happens!

    I’m not saying that people who don’t have friends of the opposite gender don’t end up cheating on their mates, but these things are usually gradual and one thing leads to another so I can’t fault anyone who expects their significant other to change the nature of their friendships with the opposite sex.


  4. I know girls who did it here in Canada. They kept removing guys from their account first. Then disabled their account, but some guys didn't buy it, and demanded to have access to their account (ie. password to reactive account), and to spend time looking for stuff. Why do Arab guys care so much and spend so much time doing it. What about him? Doesn't he have a “list of girls.”


  5. I agree with Rebellious Arab Girl. My friend, who is (well, was) engaged had her user and pass and accessed her account all the time. It's absurd. She also has his, but he controlled her account, and disabled it a couple of times. Ghabi.

    I have seen many of my friends removing other friends from FB, but I still find it absurd. If I have some reservations against one of her friends I will be honest about it and see how we can deal with it without having her to cut out that friend completely


  6. Digging a bit deeper i don't think thats an arabic or a cultural issue (that plays on a different cord of this issue). This is the issue how posessive and jealous you are in a relationship and waht your insecurities are, and both parties play in it. The culture only plays a part in establishing the acceptible threshold and the folly of all is to consider those emotions as natural and legitimate when they are just destructive emotions at the end of the day.

    both parties play it, asoom is a perfect example of both emotions … she's insecure about loss and jealous of the competition so she becomes possesive of her mate's space.


  7. I need to jump in and defend asoom. I would have a problem if I had a boyfriend and he had female friends. It has nothing to do with trust. Sometimes things happen. I don't think asoom is being unreasonable at all. It's one thing if the friends of the opposite sex are mutual friends, but if it's just one person's special friends then that is a problem. Everyone likes to think that they are so open minded until they are in that situation and then it's a different story.


  8. I forgot to check back the replies.

    Reb and KJ, I agree that it's ridiculous for your mate to expect to have your personal account passwords and vice versa. Are you my significant other or my babysitter? Seriously!

    Bambam….hahahahaha. I was speaking more hypthotically and perhaps playing the devil's advocate to counter the argument and wasn't talking about things that happened in my relationship specifically. Obviously you have some other issue with me because you addressed me personally whereas everyone else was speaking in general/hypothetical terms. PLUS what you said about me makes no sense. How would I be “jealous” of the “competition” if I'm in a committed relationship with the person? Ummmm what competition? Seriously dude!

    Since you wanted to get personal-I personally wouldn't waste my time being possessive of anyone's space. If it's not working out then it's not working out and there are other fish in the sea. That's how I see it.

    Tina…thanks babe


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