It's an odd, digital age we live in -- so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Internet, of all things, can empower Muslim women looking for a traditional marriage. The Associated Press reports that online matchmaking sites widen the pool of conjugal candidates, allowing Muslim women to be "direct and demanding about what they are looking for."
"Sweetgal," a 29-year-old Muslim living in England, turned to online matchmaking after her first marriage -- arranged by her parents -- fell apart. As a divorced mother, "Sweetgal," who asked to remain anonymous, told the AP: "I want someone who is caring and understands where I'm coming from. That's why the site's really useful -- I can be so much more straightforward on the Web." British Muslims in particular are now logging on to matchmaking sites like Shaadi.com and detailing exactly what they are looking for in a mate-- including their preferred profession, complexion, political leaning and marital past.
"In the past, an Asian woman who came of age didn't have too many choices in terms of marriage. But the Internet has increased her options immensely," said Geeta Sri Vastav, head of Shaadi.com, which boasts 10 million registered users. "Whereas before she would meet 10 or 20 people through her family, now she potentially has millions to choose from. She has the initiative. It has put power in her hands, allowing her to shape her destiny when it comes to marriage." Sri Vastav calls it a "major revolution." Right on.
Things have turned up for Internet-savvy Muslim women looking for traditional marriage, it seems. But -- you knew there was a "but" -- just yesterday Reuters reported on French Muslims who are having their hymens surgically reconstructed in order to be considered fit (i.e. virgins) for marriage. Needless to say, there are still many major cultural standards not easily conquered by even the most "direct and demanding" of online dating profiles.