Finding love through Facebook

Young Egyptians increasingly find love through Facebook. However, most profiles and status updates are clearly shaped by traditional values. NAI scholarship-holder and PhD student Senni Jyrkiäinen is researching young expectations of love in Egypt.

There are few natural meeting grounds for Egyptian youth. This partly explains why Facebook has become such a popular arena for young men and women in search of a partner.

“A person’s Facebook profile often reveals if he or she is interested in meeting someone or looking for a spousal candidate. It is about making oneself attractive according to societal norms. People may post something about religious or family values that does not reflect their genuine opinion,” says Senni Jyrkiäinen.

Reputation more important for women
A decent reputation is important in Egypt. A young man interviewed by Senni Jyrkiäinen wanted to marry a woman, but her family refused. The man was known for a lifestyle involving alcohol and temporary girlfriends. Soon after his rejection, the man changed his Facebook profile and posted religious references on his timeline.

“Society may overlook mistakes involving sex and alcohol when it comes to men, but for women it is much more problematic. The stains never go away,” Senni Jyrkiäinen notes.

“There are of course also groups of young people who are more radical and progressive. But even many of them are generally opposed to marrying a woman who has had sex before marriage.”

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