State Backed Dating Website to Launch in Iran
State Backed Dating Website to be Launched in Iran
In the Western world we’re no stranger to the numerous dating websites that have popped up over the past few years. Whether you’re more of a Tinder kind of girl or you prefer OKCupid, or Match.com, there are dating websites for pretty much any persuasion you might have. Sites such as ChristianMingle.com or UniformDating.com have sprung up, and have allowed the internet to creep into yet another facet of our lives.
But it seems that it’s not just the Western world where online dating is becoming a tool for the masses. In fact, Iran’s government has taken the scenario a whole, unprecedented, step further by announcing that it’s launching an online dating website to increase the number of long term marriages in Iran.
The government seems more than a little perplexed as to why the younger generations are delaying or even avoiding marriage, and are determined that this trend won’t become a downward spiral. Even the traditional family unit is breaking down in Iran (much as it is everywhere else in the world), with 1 in 3 marriages in Tehran, the capital, failing. It’s hoped that the matchmaking site will lead to 100,000 marriages, a feat which would be fairly impressive.
Interestingly, the type of Shia Islam practised in Iran allows siegheh, a temporary marriage which can last as little as one hour! However, it is hoped that this initiative will lead to more durable, long term marriages.
This isn’t even the first online dating site to spring up in Iran; more than 300 so-called “immoral” Western style dating sites are being used in the country today. Indeed, that’s one of the main reasons that the government is reacting in the way that it is. Instead of closing the market down, they’re instead choosing to own the market, or at least attempting to do so.
But what impact is this really going to have? Though I don’t underestimate the power that the government holds over its citizens, I’m more than a little sceptical that every, single Iranian under the age of 30 is going to turn to this new service when it launches later this month.
It has been suggested, in The Economist, that the site is most likely to be used in religious strongholds in the country, which are already very much against pre-marital sex and relations outside of marriage. In any case, even though it’s a modern version of an historic tradition inside Iran, it is still a propagation of tradition. At the end of the day, the government is still matchmaking: it’s just taking advantage of modern technology to do so.
Whether you see this is an anecdote or as an insight into what is usually a very closed country, it does rather make you question the extent to which the government should be allowed to take a stake in our personal lives. Evidently, I accept that my viewpoint is biased as I’ve grown up in a Western world, with only a few years’ experience living in an Islamic country. But whatever you take from this development, whether it’s an conversation starter with a friend or a deeper insight into our, and our global neighbours, relationship with our governments, it’s always interesting to see how the modern era is impacting different cultures.
But then maybe this is an overstatement, perhaps marriage has simply lost its appeal in Iran: with women making up over 60% of university students in the country, perhaps women no longer see themselves as wives first, but as independent students who no longer see themselves as being tied to a man.
Lauren is a soon-to-be London lawyer and a current Masters student studying in Rennes, France for a Masters in French law (specializing in European Union Law). She’s a blogger (www.thelifestylediaries.com) and has worked for Her Campus Media as President of the University of Exeter chapter and the Manager of UK Expansion in the past. When she’s not working she loves reading, watching old films, walking with her dog in the English countryside and enjoying all that London has to offer. An avid traveler, and someone who wants to experience as many cultures as she can, Lauren visited Sri Lanka last year and is looking to visit Bali, Italy and Canada this year.