A new AUB research paper has revealed that perspectives on family honor and chastity are changing in the Arab world, at least among the Facebook population.
The study, which interviewed about 170 Arab Facebook users aged between 18 and 60, showed that approximately 48 percent disagreed with the statement “Family honor resides in the chastity and self-control of women,” while 27 percent agreed and 10 percent were undecided.
Conducted by graduate student Rasha Wajdi Hamad under the supervision of Professor Nabil Dajani, the paper addressed “The Roles of Attachment and Honor in the Experience of Jealousy on Facebook from an Arab Perspective.” It was submitted in December 2013 as a partial fulfillment for her MA degree in media studies from the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies.
Despite the relatively small sample polled, this study may suggest that chastity no longer holds as much importance as it did in previous times with internet-savvy Arab nationals, and therefore how honor is defined and protected today might be entirely different from how it was in the past, explained Hamad.
“The idea for my thesis stemmed from a personal experience several years back when a surprising hurtful piece of information, related to my then-relationship and partner, came to my attention on Facebook,” said Hamad. “I vividly remember thinking, ‘Funny what Facebook can reveal’ and began considering Facebook to be more than just an entertaining website, and rather a platform to potentially discover hurtful news.”
With that particular incident having shaken up her curiosity, Hamad undertook her study to see how the designs and features of Facebook, particularly photographs and public displays of affection, were found to heighten feelings of possession and jealousy in intimate relationships in the Arab world.
Study participants were consenting Arab national adults who were Facebook users, coming from Lebanon (66.5%), Jordan (10.6%), Egypt and Morocco (4.7% each), Palestine (2.9%) and the remaining 11.6% from other various Arab countries. Out of a total of 278 participants, only 170 (89 females and 76 males) were included due to missing values. The average age was about 31.
The study’s data analysis brought the following results to light:
- Individuals with anxious attachment are more likely to experience higher degrees of jealousy.
- As jealousy increases, so will monitoring one’s partner‘s Facebook page.
- Men with higher degrees of attachment anxiety have a higher chance of accepting intimate partner violence especially under contexts of abandonment, criticism and/or shaming.
- When features of Facebook contribute to threatening one‘s manhood, men are likely to justify brutality as a way to punish their women for behaving dishonorably.
Moreover, the study noted that people who have an anxious attachment style had inconsistent caregivers as children, where their needs were not adequately taken care of, and at times with affection being forced on them. As adults, they struggle with feeling worthy and self-loved; have a strong need to be close and protected; and continuously worry about their partners’ availability. As such, they tend to be clinging and controlling in order to obtain partner support and involvement.
“This study generated rich data in exploring how honor and attachment are associated with Facebook jealousy from an Arab perspective,” said Hamad. “We were able to learn from a sample of Arab nationals what circumstances threaten their honor, which components about Facebook are linked to jealousy, how this translates to romantic relationships and which situations allow people to excuse and justify partner violence.”
“Perhaps we must not underestimate the potential power Facebook has in provoking jealousy between partners, and also take into consideration cultural perceptions of honor which may heighten feelings of jealousy or nudge our instinct to act violently,” concluded Hamad.
Article Source: AUB Website