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Saudi Students In US Seek Segregation By Gender On Facebook 353

Posted by timothy
from the gradualism-and-quantum-effects dept.
Beetle B. writes "A 22,000-member group for Saudis studying in the US on the social networking website Facebook has been split into two groups, one for women and one for men. The split follows a request from the group's female members who wanted extra privacy. The separate page for Saudi women is a valid decision. We took it to fulfill the wishes of the Saudi women in the US. We have been contacted by a lot of women asking for their private group,' Majed Aleid, media chair of the 'Saudis in the US' group, told Arab News in a letter."
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Saudi Students In US Seek Segregation By Gender On Facebook

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  • by gtvr (1702650) on Monday February 14, 2011 @08:12AM (#35198310)
    I guess.

    Here's your burkha.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 14, 2011 @08:17AM (#35198362)

      They want to avoid getting harrassed by male Saudis for not wearing the damn burkha, dumbass.

    • by Kokuyo (549451) on Monday February 14, 2011 @08:17AM (#35198366) Journal

      And why should you want to?

      "Freeing somebody" does not work. Freedom implies, to a degree, independence. You can't be independent if someone else does the freeing for you.

      • by PseudonymousBraveguy (1857734) on Monday February 14, 2011 @08:48AM (#35198554)

        As a german happily living in a democratic and free Germany, I have to disagree. Most more recent "freeing" attempts may have been utter failures, but (proof by example) it is obviously possible to succeed.

        • The key difference is that Germany was already a democracy at the time. It would be more accurate to say that you can't bring democracy to people, they have to come to it themselves.

          Liberation is one thing but as Iraq and Afghanistan have shown democracy doesn't work very well unless it comes from the people.

          • Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea have been good successes.

            • by sydneyfong (410107) on Monday February 14, 2011 @11:23AM (#35200082) Homepage Journal

              What?!

              Hong Kong is not a democracy by any western standards. Half of the legislature is what we call the "functional constituency", which has a voter base of about 3% of the whole population. A few of those seats are exclusively selected by "corporate votes", no real people voting. For example, the legislator in the "finance" constituency only has to secure votes from a few dozen BANKS to get a seat. (You thought just lobbying by corporations was bad enough?)

              The government directly reports to the Central Government of the People's Republic of China, and the head of government in Hong Kong is elected by a small group of about 800 people. Note, you're talking about a city of 7+ million people.

              Not that the state of affairs was any better under British rule -- for a long time, the legislature was appointed until it switched to a system similar to that of today, and the Governor of Hong Kong was appointed by the British government.

              In short, Hong Kong is not, and was never a democracy.

              ---

              As for Taiwan, I am less familiar with its political history. But I am not aware that there was significant "outside" help. The people in Taiwan wanted democracy, and the then president Lee Teng-Hui gave what they wanted, and now they are pretty proud to be the only place in "China" where democracy is practiced.

          • by Shivetya (243324) on Monday February 14, 2011 @09:50AM (#35199090) Homepage Journal

            not agree.

            They Germans have been turning a blind eye to the immigration of "lesser' people for sometime. The highly insular societies built up with in Germany are little better than those from the countries they fled. As with many societies, those of us who were born here (I am not from/in Germany - just a Western Country as in the US) tend to think many things are automatic. Instead we what happens is many of these groups get marginalized by government policies that are there to supposedly help them but keep them isolated instead. This opens up opportunity for some in those groups to enforce the old ways.

            Simply google Turkish Immigrants Germany and you can find many articles, some very recent on the problems faced by them, especially women. Even over there people turn away from the particularly awful problems while talking up all the good that has been done

        • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday February 14, 2011 @09:23AM (#35198874)

          I think the point is that there's a difference between making sure someone has their own choices and forcing the choices you think they should make upon them.

          In canada a few years back it was ruled that women could go topless (equality thing because it was legal for men to walk round topless.). Women gained the freedom to go topless if they wanted.
          If on the other hand the court had ruled that women *had* to go topless whether they wanted to or not then would they be more free?
          of course not.

          Similarly there's a difference between making sure women have the choice not to wear a burka and *forcing* them not to wear it.
          Particularly for older women it can be essentially forcing them to expose parts of their body they consider private.

      • by TapeCutter (624760) on Monday February 14, 2011 @08:54AM (#35198592) Journal
        You can unlock someone's cage, but if you force them out then you have taken their freedom.
        • Can't wait for the genetically modified human slave. I mean, they will be engineered to WANT to be slaves. But I'm guessing most of Slashdot will think that will be ethical based on the last pole.

        • by neoform (551705)

          Do you think women would be asking to wear a burka if it wasn't for pressure from men to wear them?

          It might seem like women are repressing themselves, but that's simply not the case.

          • by radtea (464814) on Monday February 14, 2011 @11:58AM (#35200452)

            It might seem like women are repressing themselves, but that's simply not the case.

            Women in sexually repressive societies are almost always one of the major vectors of repression.

            But here's the thing: a woman telling another woman she must wear a burka is just as repressive as a man telling a woman she must wear a burka.

            See, the thing that matters is that the two women involved--and I know this is a difficult concept so please bear with me--ARE DIFFERENT PEOPLE.

            Only a gibbering idiot would suggest that it's ok to repress someone if they happen to belong to the same socially-constructed abstract category as you.

            It would make no more sense to say, "It's ok for women to repress other women" than it would to say, "It's ok for humans to repress other humans." The reification of one particular abstract category does nothing but announce the political agenda of the reifier. It adds nothing but noise to the discourse.

          • by Risen888 (306092) on Monday February 14, 2011 @12:18PM (#35200662)

            "Do you think women would be asking to wear a burka if it wasn't for pressure from men to wear them?"

            Yes. In the conversations I've had with Muslim women in my neighborhood (not to say that we're real good friends or anything, but sometimes I'll be at the coffee shop or something and get to talking with folks), the consensus that I've heard is "It's not about the men, it's about us."

      • Haha go tell a Chilean or a Peruvian, or anyone in Italy besides Sardinia-Piedmont, go tell France and Eastern Germany... you see my point?
    • by OzPeter (195038) on Monday February 14, 2011 @08:34AM (#35198450)

      I guess.

      Here's your burkha.

      Do you feel the same the way about every Christian denomination that imposes a dress code and other restrictions on their congregation???

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yes. Now fuck off with your holier-than-thou self.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Difference being, you are free to leave that denomination and many do. It is apostasy in Islam to leave...and the majority (read almost all) middle eastern countries have that particular infraction punishable by death.

        • And?
          the catholic church used to punish/torture people for stupid things as well.
          The Magdalene laundries weren't all that long ago.

          And the catholic chruch simply maintains that you simply cannot leave. (there used to be a formal defection procedure but they removed it because people were using it after the whole international coverup of child rape thing)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Moryath (553296)

        What Christian denomination imposes anything beyond that which is normally covered in our "indecent exposure" laws or a reasonably normal restaurant?

        Are you speaking of the Amish or Mennonites? They're stuck in the dark ages just like the Muslims, but at least they aren't violent about it.

        Or are you talking about that freakshow cult, the Fundamentalist Mormons?

        • Only one big catholic freakshow cult comes to mind.
          The biggest one.

          The catholic church:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdalene_asylum [wikipedia.org]

          • by Moryath (553296)

            Although popularly associated with Ireland, there is nothing distinctly Irish or Roman Catholic about them, indeed a number of the asylums, including the first in Ireland, were founded and run by members of Protestant denominations.

            You didn't even read your own fucking link, did you?

        • by Arccot (1115809)

          What Christian denomination imposes anything beyond that which is normally covered in our "indecent exposure" laws or a reasonably normal restaurant?

          Are you speaking of the Amish or Mennonites? They're stuck in the dark ages just like the Muslims, but at least they aren't violent about it.

          Or are you talking about that freakshow cult, the Fundamentalist Mormons?

          Pretty much every Western culture requires women to cover their breasts while men can leave theirs bare. I'm not sure of the anthropological history of this particular example, but I wouldn't be surprised if it had Judeo-Christian roots. All cultures have screwy social norms. Most members of that culture can't recognize them.

          Do you consider drinking human blood and eating human flesh normal?

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            Do you consider drinking human blood and eating human flesh normal?

            How else can you possess the deceased's talents and powers? Sheesh!

          • by Moryath (553296) on Monday February 14, 2011 @09:37AM (#35198982)

            Pretty much every Western culture requires women to cover their breasts while men can leave theirs bare. I'm not sure of the anthropological history of this particular example, but I wouldn't be surprised if it had Judeo-Christian roots. All cultures have screwy social norms. Most members of that culture can't recognize them.

            Yeah seriously, check out what the Chinese [reuters.com] used to do to girls.

            If you want REALLY weird, check out the Mormons and their Magic Underwear [exmormon.org]. These freaks also practice "baptism by proxy", wherein they "baptize" dead people using a "stand-in" so that every "family member of a Mormon" gets a "Mormon Baptism"... turns out every few years, some German Mormon nutter gets it into their head to baptize Hitler [mrm.org], then they excommunicate him, then the cycle repeats.

            Jehovah's Witnesses believe that "consumption, storage, and transfusion" of blood is 100% verboten. They won't even pre-donate their own blood if they have to go in for a surgery where there may be extra blood needed.

            As for the whole deal about cultures and what they will sexualize... I hereby direct you to Rule 34 [xkcd.com]. Or Rule 34. Or Rule 34 [tvtropes.org]. Rule 34 [google.com]. In other words, Rule 34 [encycloped...matica.com].

            Clear?

          • by CRCulver (715279)

            I wouldn't be surprised if it had Judeo-Christian roots.

            Decent (i.e. non-prostitute) women were expected to cover their breasts in ancient Greek and Rome long before Judeo-Christian ideas came to Europe.

        • by Jawnn (445279)

          What Christian denomination imposes anything beyond that which is normally covered in our "indecent exposure" laws or a reasonably normal restaurant?

          Are you speaking of the Amish or Mennonites? They're stuck in the dark ages just like the Muslims, but at least they aren't violent about it.

          So you're suggesting that "muslims", with no further qualification, are "violent"? Riiight.
          Sure you can handle that big, broad brush all by yourself there, Sparky?

      • I believe "property rights" are a mystical notion forming the basis for the religion that is "capitalism".

        Just as Marx's theory of Revolution forms the basis for his religion.

        In the end, any formally established moral code always ends up with some circular argument. The best you can do is follow your emotional sense of compassion, refine your ability to empathise, and not be a dick in life.

      • Seriously, fuck christianity, islam and any other primitive superstition, god is a construct of the human mind, invented as a means to explain the world around him. The gods used to be the sun, the fire,the wind, the rain, the summer and winter, the lightning bolt and the thunder, now the gods are just an excuse to cleave someone's head in two.
    • Culture determines what many consider freedoms let alone quality of life. What we may see as repressive others may see as comforting and safe. I am quite sure there are many rules in the good old U.S. of A. that are repressive to others in the world if not those who live here.

      • Culture determines what many consider freedoms let alone quality of life. What we may see as repressive others may see as comforting and safe. I am quite sure there are many rules in the good old U.S. of A. that are repressive to others in the world if not those who live here.

        Absolutely.

        Many cultures are backwards in their own way. But, the Saudi people and every other patriarchal society are stuck in the Bronze age. The Saudis are one of the most backwards and repressive societies on Earth.

      • by rjstanford (69735) on Monday February 14, 2011 @09:00AM (#35198646) Homepage Journal

        Yup. How many people in the US would be comfortable on a nude beach? Or even a topless beach? The fact that our broadcast TV standards can produce a half-million-dollar fine for a nipple while allowing gratuitous carnage to be shown is considered very strange to a lot of the rest of the West - much of it enthusiastically supported by our fairly conservative religious culture.

        • by cgenman (325138) on Monday February 14, 2011 @09:49AM (#35199078) Homepage

          The French government identified a problem a few years ago: Too much STD transmission was going on, because people weren't using condoms enough. To help address this problem, the government sponsored a series of 5 short pornographic films (10 minutes or so), that prominently featured condom usage. These were shown repeatedly late at night in 1998 on broadcast television.

          Can you imagine the public backlash against the US Government trying that?

          In most of the rest of the world you can wander around outside with a Beer in your hand. In many places in the US, that will get you arrested. Here in Cambridge, bars have to close at 2AM, and liquor stores have to close at 12. Heck, here in Cambridge you have to be *Licensed* to sing on the street for coins. In Mexico, if you want to throw a dance party you go ahead and throw a dance party. In the US, there are all sorts of rules and regulations around gatherings above 8 people with public music, etc. In Mexico, if you want to fill a truck with 20 people, you install some grab ropes on the back of your truck, and you fill it with 20 people. In the US, you'd get arrested on sight.

          Heck Jay Walking is still a punishable offence in most of the US. Building and selling your own toys is illegal (you need an expensive Lead test). Adult toys are still by and large illegal. Go to the rest of the world, and you'll see that while we do have a good amount of freedom in this country, every other country has certain ways in which they are more free than us.

    • by mrops (927562)

      ah, come on, "free" really. Isn't freedom what you want to do. How come you imposing your culture's point of view on another culture freedom. No wonder middle east is pissed with west, this exact problem. Stop the higher than thou attitude. Talk about true freedom.

      Today's fashion industry has to certain extent objectified women, women are demoralized if they don't look pretty, billions spent on fashion. I can definitely imagine a society not wanting this.

  • who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by someonestolecc (1038714) on Monday February 14, 2011 @08:12AM (#35198314)
    am i missing something - how is this news?
  • by magloca (1404473) on Monday February 14, 2011 @08:13AM (#35198322)

    the group's female members who wanted extra privacy

    And Facebook is so the right place for that.

  • They aren't asking for segregation on facebook. They requested a group for female students (in addition to the main group).

    Are people so uptight about everything that we need to freak out every time someone wants to mingle with a specific group?

    • by mjwx (966435)

      They aren't asking for segregation on facebook. They requested a group for female students (in addition to the main group).

      Damnit, stop being so level headed and rational.

      This is the evil Mooselims we are talking about.

      Because women of other cultures dont form their own groups with other women of similar age and interests to talk about the things that they want to talk about in private. This would never happen in good old western culture.

    • by Draek (916851)

      This is Slashdot, mingling of any kind is utterly alien to us so it's natural we'd fear it to the point of freaking out.

  • but I fail to see why I should care about this. It's not like they've been banned from each other's presence, it's just Facebook. Besides that, it's not like they can't be friends... it's just a Facebook Group that's been segregated.
  • Is this the same Facebook who is traditionally terrible about privacy settings? It is surprising to see they are helping a (probably large) group of their users gain extra privacy. Certainly, an action like this is an isolated incident and doesn't imply that Facebook is turning over a new leaf. Or maybe Facebook is beginning to take privacy more seriously?
    • by Aladrin (926209) on Monday February 14, 2011 @08:21AM (#35198384)

      At first it appears so, but in Facebook's eyes, they haven't got any more privacy than before. In fact, they have less... Facebook employees can still read the group (at least some of them, I'm sure) and now the group has clearly marked its advertising demographic. This is a major win for Facebook in every regard. Especially if people keep saying Facebook helped these people have more privacy.

  • Look, I'm all for religious freedom and such, but I'm getting sick of this kind of bullshit. To be clear, I don't think FB did anything wrong here -- they're a business, and they listened to the wishes of their users (didn't say customers, 'cause their customers are the advertisers they sell your personal data to). What I'm sick of is seeing some people fighting and dying for freedom in one part of the world (lookin' at you, Egypt), and others digging themselves deeper into outdated, bullshit traditions and
    • Facebook didn't do anything wrong here because Facebook didn't do anything at all here. The group was split by the people running the group.

      • Not only did Facebook do nothing, this will not segregate the groups

        What is stopping a non Saudi joining either group .. nothing
        What is stopping a non US Saudi Student joining either group .. nothing
        What is stopping a man joining either group .. nothing
        What is stopping a woman joining either group .. nothing

        It's about as safe as any other Facebook group .... ie. not at all ...

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Look, I'm all for religious freedom and such

      Your sig says otherwise.

      but I'm getting sick of this kind of bullshit

      What?

      The girls just wanted a group to talk about girly things with other girls?

      What the hell is wrong with that. They can still communicate with the male students, they just have a group where they can talk about how dreamy Abdul is amongst themselves.

  • O_o (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AlexiaDeath (1616055) on Monday February 14, 2011 @08:21AM (#35198386)
    Having a women's group and men's group is fine, but they are deluding themselves thinking that they can do without a mixed group... Girls wanting a place for girl talk happens a lot in all sorts of environments. Many social forums have female only and male only sub-forums. But splitting the bazaar down in the middle with a wall... Nobody is going to be content with that. In fact the whole idea is rather backwards and primitive. And checking ones gender on the internet is a bit tricky, so expect covert mixing. No wall is as attractive to climb over as the one with the opposite gender on the other side...
    • by vertinox (846076)

      Its not that hard to create a fake profile on FB. Even a person of the opposite sex than you.

      A really neat trick is to put yourself in a relationship with the fake person and then have fake public love conversations to make other females think you are a normal guy. Then fake your alter ego cheating on you and then set your status to single.

      Then you'll get sympathy from all the real females...

      Not that I know anything about this though....

      But seriously, it wouldn't be too hard to fake your gender on FB. Espec

  • Freedom to end freedom and equality, cannot be a freedom.
    • by KiloByte (825081)

      Freedom to end freedom and equality, cannot be a freedom.

      Yeah, that's why I prefer GPL over BSD.

  • For maximum privacy: DO NOT USE FACEBOOK! You freaking morons.
  • This whole thing smells of situation ethics. Is discrimination on the basis of the right thing to do? Certainly when requests the exclusion of it is okay. However when requests the exclusion of it is clearly evil. Why? To grok that, we have to consider the entire social, political, economic, religious, and cultural heritage with their interwoven sensibilities, sensitivities, and non-sequiturs.

    I call bullsnap.

    • This whole thing smells of situation ethics. Is discrimination on the basis of {gender} the right thing to do? Certainly: when {gender A} requests the exclusion of {gender B} it is okay. However when {gender B} requests the exclusion of {gender A} it is clearly evil. Why? To grok that, we have to consider the entire social, political, economic, religious, and cultural heritage with their interwoven sensibilities, sensitivities, and non-sequiturs. I call bullsnap.
  • "We have been contacted by a lot of men (women) asking for their private group,' Majed Aleid, media chair of the 'Saudis in the US' group, told Arab News in a letter."
  • by Zingledot (1945482) on Monday February 14, 2011 @09:01AM (#35198656)
    I hear this plan has a security hole where the men can see it all...
  • After a person's basic Maslow-level needs are taken care of, finding a mate and mating are realllly strong drives. These drives are at the core of evolution... every function of every bit of DNA in every sexually reproducing organism is about successful sexual reproduction, indirectly at least.

    So, people who seek to control humans.... and evolved systems that benefit from controlling humans... they have this easy as can be way of grabbing humans by the gonads: Claim to define proper and improper inter-gend

  • ... which means someone can set up a non-segregated Saudi page if they wish.
  • Paraphrasing Tom Hanks in some corny movie: I don't get it!

    What's the exact rationale for this I ask myself?
    • Saudi women care for their privacy more than women of other nationalities. (Not very likely.)
    • Saudi women are more afraid of men than women of other nationalities. (Not very likely.)
    • Saudi men are more to be mistrusted than men of other nationalities. (Not very likely.)
    • Or maybe a certain religious movement in Saudi culture "induces" women to initiate such division. The "inducement" is enforced thr
  • They should start their own. They could call it Muzzibook
  • Yeah, right. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034) on Monday February 14, 2011 @12:23PM (#35200732) Homepage

    Note that the person saying that the women want this is a man. Typical.

    For many young Saudi women, an education in the US is their one time of freedom in life. Some years ago, I was chatting with a Saudi woman about to finish Stanford, and she mentioned that she was going to drive across the United States, then fly back to Saudi Arabia from the East Coast. I asked her why the long drive, and she said it was the only time in her life she'd be allowed to do something like that. (In Saudi Arabia, women aren't allowed to drive.)

    I like the red-state solution to this problem. Someone at a Texas company wrote that an Islamic female co-worker was being harassed by an Islamic male employee who just assumed that, since he was male. he had the right to her if he wanted. So the Texan took the woman to a shooting range and taught her how to use a 9mm pistol. "You taught her how to shoot?" the annoying guy said when he found out about this. "Yes, and she's good at it, too". No more problems.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell

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