Why aren’t Libyan women welcome on the internet?

I’ve spent my evening reading comments on the latest @sotosora media video that was released a few weeks back. The video showed a young Libyan woman asking “Bahee alash” but why?

You might ask me: what in the world possessed you to do that? are you crazy?

I was extremely bored, but I also wanted to understand. If you want to have a feel for what people think, Facebook is the best place to go.

The video talks about how some Libyan families spend more on their sons than their daughters, by sending them to study abroad or by offering them more oppurtunities despite some of their failures.

I dove into those comments and this is some of what i found :

The Supporters

The supporters were the commenters that stated that they had gone through similar situations. They agreed with what the young woman had to say. Some went further into elaborating exactly what they had gone through, while others said the video needed to further elaborate on their struggles.

The Rejecting crowd

“I reject this video” I assume a large percentage of this category didn’t even watch the video. They just saw a Libyan woman and the words “ equality” and “why” and it was enough to trigger their rejections.

The Shocked

This category was shocked, they can’t believe what planet this girl is living in. They live in a Libya that gives women all that they ask for. On this planet, women take all of the men’s jobs, they take all of their seats at university. They even dare to take all the nicest cafes. In this world Libyan men are marginalised and they are struggling to survive.

The Negative ones

Some even agree with what was said on the video, but this is Libya they said “No one can change the culture, It is what it is”

The Shaikhs

They probably can’t recite a soora longer than 3 lines but when it comes to facebook posts that are talking about Libyan women, they become a full fledged shaikh. They reduce a religion as vast as islam into a few misunderstood lines they heard some wahhabi say on tv.

The Name callers

The first reaction when any Libyan woman chooses to show herself on video is name calling. By shaming her the trolls stop anyone else from attempting to follow in her footsteps. What was interesting was a portion of the name calling came from women.

A lot of people try to label this phenomena as “women are women’s worst enemies” but it’s not. In my opinion the women commenting are victims, they’re conditioned to take part to stop anyone else who dare tries and cross the boundaries society makes. Her beliefs are at war with what she sees everyday on instagram, twitter and facebook. She reacts by putting someone else down so she doesn’t have to fight her inner demons.

The “ HOW DARE SHE LAUGH” crowd

“how dare she laugh, this video is unaceptable”

I remember my own grandmother chastising me for laughing too loudly when I was younger. Something as simple as a laugh is considered a sign of bad upbringing. How dare this lady express normal human emotions. It consists of facial expressions and sound. Nothing too evil but to some it’s the ultimate sin.

The ones who put into question the girls honor and questioned her faith

I still don’t understand how anyone can question anyone’s faith based on a 2 minute video. Numerous comments put into question the woman, her family and her faith. This is one of the most damaging types of comments I saw. It’s the nightmare that causes any Libyan woman to think twice before appearing on video. They make her appearance a family honor issue. By doing that they ensure that no one will dare follow in her footsteps in the future. If they do, they risk embarassing their family.

After reading a few hundred comments I took a break.

Why does seeing a Libyan woman on a video on facebook garner so much attention? Why are we not welcome in this space?

So many different reactions from a single 1.5 minute video. My only worry is this type of reaction will deter the young girl with something to share who’s reading those comments.

Will she be brave enough to face the horrible wrath of the community to share her voice? Or will she be silenced because she isn’t welcome online?

share your thoughts in the comments, thank you :)