We’ve got yet another new contributor to introduce! Welcome, Izzie!
Recently, I got a Facebook friend request from a two-year-old boy. This wasn’t created by one of those enthusiastic parents who create Facebook profiles for their children as soon as they are born. This was of a Muslim woman who didn’t have a profile of her own, but who was interacting with her friends and family under her son’s name. I was largely irked out by why she didn’t use her own name, and how this practice was glorified in my family circles. A few days later, I received another friend’s request, and apart from a familiar surname, I couldn’t understand who it belonged to. After a lot of brainstorming, I realized it was the profile of a close female relative of mine, who had reversed the letters of her name. Now, I am all for switching up names if it’s your fake profile. But if it’s a profile through which you hope to interact with people, send friend’s requests to cousins, uncles/aunts, and long lost friends, how is it going to help if you reverse the letters of your name?
What was causing these Muslim women and girls to hide behind their children’s names and pictures, or to wish for anonymity? I understand that how a person represents themselves in Facebook is a matter of personal choice. It is also a matter of how we are feeling (about ourselves, our spouses, our children) that particular week or month, or about a desire for privacy. However, this is not the reason why some Muslim women chose this path. I’ve seen a number who do it for the sole reason of being accepted within a society which equates having a photo uploaded as being a non-chaste Muslim. This is more evident in the innumerable Facebook pages that promote similar ideas about how visible Muslim women should (or shouldn’t) be on Facebook.