Sexual Harassment: taking one for the team on Facebook

I’m friending back the strange men who add me on Facebook via the Jordan network, then having protracted conversations with them as to why they’re adding me, what they’re hoping to accomplish, etc. What immediately struck me is that they don’t try to make me interested in them – they assume I am interested right away, hot and bothered and ready to go (well, I added them back, so that would be a clue – although I tell them immediately that I thought I knew them, and now I’ve realized that I don’t, and hence am confused as to why they added me to begin with).

This is more fodder for an article I’m doing, hence “going out into the field,” so to speak. The funny thing is – the minute I ask them, in Arabic, if they’d like it if someone treated their sister this way after I’ve gotten all I need from them and the sleaze quota has been reached, they either up the level of insult or start insisting that they only wanted to be friends.

Poor boys. A blonde foreign woman added them back, then wasn’t interested in sleeping with them after all. And gave them a lecture on top of that. Tsk tsk.

I can’t deny that a part of me has been enjoying this.

Another part, however, is sad.

29 thoughts on “Sexual Harassment: taking one for the team on Facebook

  1. I appreciate the work going in to this article, but I hope you’re being careful – Nat. Many men (no particularly nationality – just a certain type that we all know and hate) don’t like it when their stereotypes of women are challenged. If they have dehumanized you, asserting your humanity feels like a slap in the face to these idiots.

    I know that Jordan is a relatively safe place, but remember, girl, you need to keep yourself away from harm as much as you can.

  2. Thanks, Lal. Nowhere is 100% safe, but Jordan is safer than most places I’ve ever been to. If it wasn’t for the aforementioned dehumanization, I’d find it the perfect place to live (beautiful country, rich history and culture, the ability to constantly meet interesting people, not to mention the great weather). But you can’t always get what you want.

  3. Cranky, I know you’re not asking in good faith, but let me answer with a question:

    What is humiliation? Could it be the assumption hat one has no boundaries? That one does not have to give consent to anything – that one’s default state is that of constant, unyielding gratification object?

    I don’t feel sorry for people who get humiliated as they’re attempting to humiliate someone else, and this goes for both women and men, of all nationalities and backgrounds. We have a saying in Russian that translates to “Don’t dig a hole for someone else. You’ll fall into it yourself.”

    Though I doubt that the majority of my research objects feel any humiliation on a conscious level. Rather, they are angry that the blow-up doll is refusing to perform her function, or scared that the blow-up doll might have relatives who’ll come after them.

    I enjoy the process because I get to poke back at people who have relegated women to the status of unpeople. It brings a tiny bit of balance to the Force. And it’s not just about me – I’ve collected stories about niqabis being chased in the streets to men screaming insults at women when they don’t see that they’re accompanied by their brother, and then, like brave Sir Robin, running away when they realize their mistake. I’ve harassed men when I saw them harassing other women, and I’ve met women who do the same.

    If you define us as “sadists” for not acting like doormats, it says a lot about you, not us.

  4. I find your article revolting and outright racist. You have divided Jordanian men into two groups, those who want to sleep with you and those who lie about it when exposed. You are one racist person. I add people at random from both sexes to my FB account not because I want to sleep with men and women, but because i like to share my thoughts with as many people as possible so long as they are interested. if not, they can always remove me. Shame on you.

  5. “If you define us as “sadists” for not acting like doormats, it says a lot about you, not us.”

    THAT.

  6. Dan, you really have no clue, do you?

    First of all, plenty of normal people add me on Facebook. I can tell the difference between a normal add and a pervert add pretty easily, thankyouvermuch. The pervert adds have been of a particular interest as of late, because as someone who lives in Jordan and experiences a high level of sexual harassment on the street and online, I’m interested to get inside these people’s heads. They don’t disappoint. When I tell them I don’t know them and ask them why they added me, the absurdity begins.

    Nothing racist about it in the least. I don’t accuse normal men around here of wanting to sleep with me. It’s the ones that write “I wanna get with u baby, how many Arab men u have? I’ll be the best of them, baby” that, uh, tip me off.

  7. Either you are misreading what’s happening, Daniel, or you’re just a fool. I was married to a Jordanian man for many years, he is a caring father to the kids and remains my best friend, but if you have any illusions about how foreign women are treated around here you must drop them now.

    Life in the part of the world has many advantages, but the attention that Natalia is attracting as a young, pretty foreigner is not positive. There’s nothing “racist” about her frustration with being treated like a soulless slut. Actually it’s people who treat her this way who are the racists. She found a safe medium to fight back and so good for her. If one of these men reflects on his behavior and realizes how disrespectful it is, she has won.

    She is right about the other women who get harassed. My ex-husband\’s mother, who is a wonderful and strong woman, was still getting it at 50. It’s not a “compliment” so don’t even think of trying to excuse it. It’s an insult that’s done in an obvious manner.

    I can’t ignore you getting your back up at the suggestion that your own Facebook activities might be questionable. Maybe a little introspection could help before you start running your mouth.

  8. Yeah, cuz sending dirty messages to a woman because she has blond hair and a Slavic name ISN’T RACIST AT ALL! Neither are those men who tell me they want a little “jungle fever” really racist! Thank you kindly, Dan, for making it clear.

    *roll eyes*

    As a person who has seen some of the shit that Nat receives on Facebook I’d like to say – SHAME ON YOU, DAN, you clueless dumbass. And shame on Cranky Liberal for calling all of us who don’t want to put up with this shit anymore as “sadists.”

    I don’t giggle in appreciation at this shit. Neither should Nat or any other woman.

    Don’t like it? Don’t harass us.

  9. P.S. Her man is Jordanian (hope it’s OK to mention it here, Nat, I know you’ve done it before) and from what I know, he isn’t amused by the bullshit she gets on Facebook or on the street.

  10. I think a moment of clarity is in order:

    I don’t friend people back and accuse them of being perverts. I friend them back, give them a chance to tell me why they friended me and THAT’S when, 9 out of 10 times, the ugliness starts.

    Plenty of people friend me with a message that goes something like “hey, liked your blog, liked GC, thought we could be friends.” Cool. Even if they wanted to flirt (which is no crime in and of itself), they quickly see that I’m in a relationship and don’t go there.

    The pervert adds, on the other hand, are demeaning and downright hostile.

    P.S. Yes, it’s OK to point out that my boyfriend is Jordanian. Which he is. And yes, this bullshit upsets him. It upsets our friends too. In fact , I don’t know a single decent person, Jordanian and otherwise, who doesn’t get upset by shit like this.

  11. You are a very strange person. Why else would someone you don’t know want to ‘friend you’ on facebook? Im a 26 y/o Jordanian male who gets friend requests from all kinds of strange people all the time but I choose to ignore them because there is nothing that interests me in most of these people, and that usually the end of the matter.

    However, by the mere act of accepting their friend request you are basically showing an (assumed to be sexual) interest in them and therefore you should not be surprised or annoyed when the try to hit on you.

  12. Onzlo, *read* the actual post and my comments. People I don’t know friend me all the time – most of them are normal. But please don’t deny that there is a type of men who have long since decided that it’s OK to sexually harass women on the internet. Perhaps you’d like to read some of the messages I get alongside these requests? Just make sure not to eat anything beforehand. “Hitting on me” doesn’t even begin to cover it. And yes, a large concentration of this crap occurs on networks such as the one in Jordan. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Jordan has a sexual harassment problem and it extends to the internet.

    Talking to these guys for the sake of research is even more enlightening – if more nauseating as well. It actually started with me accidentally adding someone I thought I had met (I was confused about the name) and resulting in a flood of dirty messages. Even when I insisted to the guy that I was simply confused and was going to de-friend him, he kept going. He was so sure of himself and of my social inferiority to him. Surely I couldn’t resist him. I then realized I had a goldmine on my hands – here are all these guys who think it’s OK to troll me with their messages, why not interact with them and find out more? And find out I have.

    I’m sorry if it makes anyone uncomfortable, but I’m not going to passively take harassment and stereotypes. I’ve received far too many friend requests accompanied by statements like “I heard Russian girls r good in bed” to stay quiet.

  13. Im another Jordanian male and hey, man, guess what everything she says is true. I have cousins who look like this, know the shit they get on Facebook is out of control. They don’t have to add anyone to get this shit, it’s a shame as it already led one of them to delete the account. Ppl need to grow out of this mental state that says its okay.

    Sorry, Natasha, that its happening to you.

  14. I can understand why people would argue on friending them from the first place especially when you can predict the norm after spending years in the Kingdom and having a Jordanian boyfriend and I don’t have a problem understanding why some Jordanian men act like that on Facebook* but I cannot understand why someone would call you a sadist, racist or anything for sharing experience.

    A blonde friend who’s also western had similar issue and she thought it’s about the modesty so she started covering up until she tried full Jilbab but the street problem remained the same.

    * Maybe they have white skin fetch but they can get that with some hypex!

  15. Researching sexual harassment is a navel-gazing dead end? Aside the fact that this is for an article (you know, work that I get paid for)?

    You know, Jad, I really, really don’t want to get into another argument about this issue, but these last few weeks in Amman have in particular tested my patience, and I am NOT going to have anyone tell me that I am navel-gazing, or that it’s not really that big of a deal, or that I should just grin and bear it when it happens, or else that it’s not a worthwhile subject and that I should write about pretty flowers blooming on the hillside instead.

    Khalas.

    (Yeah – I know I just lost my temper, but you know what? These days, ya3ni, I am not going to take crap from anyone about this. This is NOT the time to poke me with sticks. Seriously. I’m like one of those grenades when the pin is out, with good reason.)

  16. Sorry “sister”! Only reason why Arab men would date some Russian woman is when they can’t do better in their own culture. So you get the leftovers! No Arab with a brain or heart would go after a Russian woman when Arab women are:

    good looking

    sexually well behaved

    classy

    respectful of themselves and other people

    smarter

    You think you’ll be able to beat that? My cousin was dating a Russian girl at his school and he says what everyone knows: they are materialistic and not to be trusted!

    Russian women who go to Middle East looking for Arab men are the worst of the lot. Instead of having some respect for local culture you tear men away from their homes and values and tempt them with your cheapness. No mother wants her son to fall in with a Russian woman cuz everyone knows what the consequences are.

    You are the ones who encourage drinking and bad behavior and have no respect for ISLAM.

    Keep your legs closed. Nobody wants you.

    Soorry!

  17. Honey, please tell me this is just an amalgamation of neuroses sparked by puberty that’s talking. I’d hate to think that what we have here is a full-blown complex.

  18. Hey, Dina:

    You left out “racist”. As in, “Arab women are racist.” No, no, I’m not generalizing about an entire people, really I’m not: you, all by yourself, are racist enough for ALL Arab women.

    Not that that’s something anyone should aspire to. But at least you know you’re the best at something.

  19. “You are the ones who encourage drinking and bad behavior and have no respect for ISLAM”

    You’re not doing a hell of a lot for Islam’s image yourself, you muppet. If this is an example of what you can expect from Arab womanhood, I’ll take my chances with the Slavs any day of the week.

  20. I normally only lurk on this site but I need to step in and apologize for Dina’s comments. I linked to your site a few times on the old forum and I think this is how she found it. She was banned for her racist remarks from there and is known for an obsession with “Arabs who don’t marry Arab.”

    If being Arab is the only thing you can be proud of, then I hate to disappoint you, but good men marry women they love and respect. You are as respectable as something one finds on the bottom of their shoe. Why don’t you grow up.

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