My father's religious and cultural beliefs, & my facebook account
November 22, 2010 5:16 PM Subscribe
A fundy Muslim father (and his extended family) with strong religious & cultural beliefs vs. his adult daughter's facebook account. How do I reconcile this?
posted by overyourhead to human relations (96 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
This sounds trivial and bizarre as hell, but this is my life and here's my predicament...
My facebook profile picture is/was one of me sitting on a couch next to my boyfriend. In my lap is a Where's Waldo book. On the other side of me is my friend's 3 year old daughter with leukemia. An innocent G-rated pic. IMO, it's Christmas card material.
My father (with whom I have a terrible relationship and don't speak to) received a call at 5 a.m. on Sunday. He is from Iran, a practicing Muslim, just like the rest of his family. On the line was his brother, freaking out. Apparently my cousin found me on facebook, saw my profile picture (everything else is private), and was horrified. He called his parents over to the computer, they showed my 70+ yr old grandparents, and so on & so forth. So they call my father, screaming and horrified because of the "obscene" picture of me on the internet: white cap-sleeve shirt and a knee length skirt that rides up my thigh (I'm talking inches above the knee, fyi) as skirts naturally do when your legs are crossed...
They claim you can see my ass which is ridiculous. It's called my mid-thigh.
My father called me later that morning asking me to either delete my facebook account or remove the picture and replace it with something "modest."
His criteria for "modest":
- My boyfriend must not be included (he is Jewish in the cultural sense which is obviously a huge problem to fundy Muslim types, but we are both atheists), nevermind the fact that I plan to marry this guy, he's a great person, and I'm an adult perfectly capable of making my own decisions.
- My legs cannot be showing at all. That includes the knee and BELOW.
- Nothing sleeveless, so no pics from the beach.
You can imagine the rest of the criteria. In one picture I'm mid-blink so it almost looks like my eyes are closed. It's an incredibly funny picture. This is also inappropriate because it might appear that I'm high / drunk.
If you google my name (& I am the only person in the WORLD with my name, unfortunately), a Facebook Marketplace listing comes up from months ago when I was looking for a roommate. It features the indecent picture in question. Even though it's inactive and I've requested that the ad be deleted, it will take some time for it to be removed from Google's cache, assuming I can get it removed at all (it's since been moved to another classified site called Oodle). That's out of my hands atm.
Here's my question:
I'm looking for thoughts.
Because of my job and the fact that I'm in law school, I keep my online activity private. If you search for me on facebook, I don't show up. I am not facebook friends with any relatives, nor do I talk to any of them. I have no interest in my family, aside from my sister. (I grew up in a physically, sexually, and verbally abusive household, and as far as things go with my father, I'm couldn't care less about his religious beliefs or ideas about women.)
As an adult, I'm not comfortable censoring myself. He says that I have successfully embarrassed him in front of his whole family and I need to have sympathy for his situation. I don't feel I'm being put in a fair spot. I asked my father for clarification-- let's say 10 years down the line I decide to become a bikini model. If they google my name and come across my professional website, is he suggesting I would need to take the site down and stop my business lest I ruin the family name any more? At what point do you draw the line?
I changed the facebook photo to shut my father up (I have an inbox full of nasty emails, voicemails, etc.), but going forward I feel rather sick about this. I can't even have a great G-rated photo of me and my partner because according to some, that's "indecent."
What would you do? I love the "indecent" pic. It reminds me of a great dinner party I attended. I enjoy looking at it whenever I login to facebook. Unfortunately, I can't stand the harrassment from my father and I do feel some degree of guilt. Should I change it since we share the same very uncommon last name? Do I hold my ground and do what I want?