Swipe Left: The Problem with Online Matrimonial Platforms

Could all the real Muslim men please stand up?

Our community (and I think society as a whole) is faced with a crisis, thanks to the lack of real men. I've spent the past month putting myself "out there" via various online means for marriage-seeking purposes, and it's been incredibly entertaining (and shocking) along the way. If you ever need a good laugh, open up a profile on Minder and spend time browsing the profiles on there. I'm blessed to have developed an antennae for fake-man-crap thanks to my previous marriage, and therefore I refuse to engage with the men behind the entertaining and sometimes groan-worthy profiles (most of whom are Pakistani and Arab, by the way). But it's scary to flip through profile after profile of straight "what the hell were you thinking when you wrote that?!" or "YIKES! How is that picture appropriate?"

In fact, I've calculated the ratio of fake men to real men on any given Muslim matrimonial website to be around 30:1. So for every 30 "men" with a profile, there's probably 1 that appears normal. It's maddening.

I don't even know where to begin with what's wrong with Muslim men. Part of it stems, I think, from their upbringing and this relates especially to desi men, of which there seems to be an abundance of whom are looking to get married. I'm sorry to sound so harsh, but Pakistani mothers need to do a better of job of severing the umbilical cord from an earlier age and allowing their betas to gain life skills, responsibility, and oh, I don't know...maturity?! The relationship between some Pakistani men and their mothers teeters on the verge of being abnormal with a Freudian twist. Looking back at my own ex-husband's experiences growing up before we got married, they did nothing to prepare him for real life. And online, I have come across Pakistani men's profiles (some of whom are at least 5 years older than me), and they leave me literally speechless. The way they express their views on marriage makes me realize that they know nothing about it from a healthy relationship perspective, let alone the Islamic one.

Are these really our future husbands and children's fathers?

(Note: I really don't want to stereotype all desi and Arab men in the same way. There are mature, down-to-earth and serious men out there who break the stereotype - these are the ones who have experienced life because they were encouraged to, have a solid sense of who they are, take Islam to be more than ritualistic practice, and may have even been through challenging events that have taught them life lessons that wouldn't have been learned otherwise).

Another issue is the fact that these men don't know how to properly portray themselves. The number of car selfies, bathroom selfies, gym selfies, doing-something-stupid selfies, group selfies, and "oh look, I'm exposing my upper chest like a monkey" pictures are appalling. How on earth did men come to the agreement that these pictures are what women find attractive? And let me please harp on the Muslim women for a second, because having set up fake men's profiles (to check out the competition and for research purposes!), many Muslim WOMEN are no better. Duck-faced selfies, cleavage selfies, and "oh look at me with my friends" selfies (dude, how are men able to know which one is YOU in that picture?!)...and the sheer lack of thought that goes into their profile material is also astounding.

I do also think that part of the problem is that many Muslims do not know how to properly use online matrimonial websites and apps to their advantage. Incomplete profiles, profiles with spelling and grammatical errors (my largest pet peeve), inappropriate pictures, slick and groan-worthy pick-up lines (i.e. "can I have your number so I can wake you up for Fajr?"), selfies, etc...these are all mistakes that could easily be fixed if people actually spent some time ensuring that what they're putting out there reflects who they really are. The lack of self-awareness is shocking, and unfortunately, social media often brings out the worse in people. If people actually spent time researching how to use online sites and apps to their benefit, they may actually have more success.

And let's not even go into how many Muslim men choose to initiate a conversation with a woman...wow. Thank goodness for the "block" option.

I do have to say that there definitely are "normal" Muslims out there who are true to themselves and those they communicate with. They often get overshadowed by all the groan-worthy profiles, and it takes patience to be able to find them, but they're out there. It just sometimes seems that they are few and far between. Not to mention that when you do find them, compatibility and so forth is not guaranteed in the least.

I could go on and on about this topic. It's bloody maddening, especially when you're doing everything in your power to remain serious, mindful and well-intentioned and you're getting nothing but doozies back. It takes energy and effort to keep putting yourself out there in the face of sub-par profiles, but most of us really have no other choice. It's not like we're surrounded by eligible Muslim bachelors on a daily basis.

On a lighter note, my friends and I have had a blast sharing stories from our experiences. While it's frustrating, it's also incredibly entertaining. But I also can't help but feel a little scared - if this is the way things are now for our generation, what will happen in the future?

I really think it's up to this generation of parents to change things around. These eligible Muslim men and women are where they are for a reason, not out of sheer luck. I think it's up to parents, communities, and advocates to focus in on these issues and instil a sense of respect, dignity, maturity, and self-awareness. We already have a divorce rate in our community that's hovering around 50%. What else needs to happen before there's a revolution among our men and women? 

Comments

  1. Salaams Sister, are you still based out in Calgary? Would love to chat more about your OT background

    ReplyDelete

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