عنوان مقاله [English]
نویسندگان [English]چکیده [English]
Introduction and Statement of the Problem
The development of various mates choosing methods, including online dating mate selection, beyond traditionally dominant ones can be seen as a major characteristic of contemporary societies. It takes its roots in the advancement of infrastructures of communicational technology, what has caused the growing number of IT users something that is no longer class specific and various individuals from social strata have now access to it. Hence, it seems that online dating and mate selection is a response or a maybe a solution to mate choosing crisis in the uneven development of the modern world that has brought about and has increased individualized and non-face-to face social relations. However, as online-dating method has been on the rise broadly, sensitivity to it has also developed in various societies especially by official institutions. The rationale behind these concerns usually includes concerns over it being considered an unusual phenomenon. This consequently creates some socio-cultural concern, due mainly to the fact that virtual space has brought about a great opportunity for people to broaden their choices and relations beyond traditionally limited social networks. This is the case in Iran particularly since the past decade, as the use of internet began to increase. There is usually, officially and ideologically, a strong inclination in Iran towards seeing such phenomenon as online dating mate selection but also as a threat to societal norms and as a way of destroying genuine social relations and diffusing social delinquency and sexual anarchy. It is therefore something that deserves to combat against. While there is a profound pessimistic attitude in the society towards modern online dating marriage, no attempt has been made to study it in a systematic and scientific way which can to some extent support such claims or whether it is the case in Iran. This study is an attempt to fill such gap as it focuses on online dating mate selection sites in Iran. Due to the fact that this issue, in terms of its history and its comprehensiveness regarding the quantity and qualities of users, is a complex issue, this study only will focus on Toba Dating Site.
Theoretical Conceptual Framework
Based on the existing literature, here in this study we assumed that since various societies believe in different values, mate selection in virtual space does not necessarily follow a universal pattern. This could mean that in any individual country including Iran, changes towards modernity may mean that dominant preferences in mate selection follow modern values as opposed to traditional ones. Accordingly it can be said that in spite of society’s desire towards change and transition in mate selection orientations, individuals’ mate selection preferences could be to a great extant traditional and conservative.
In order to support our claim we used survey method to examine the identity and orientation of mate choice preferences /values. Toba online dating site as the units of analysis also constitutes the research population. Due to accessibility to profiles of all users, the study was based on including all individuals of the research population, including about 84 000 users of Toba site. The data provided all information of the users’ potential preferred mate choices and we considered all them for the data analysis.
Based on the research main hypothesis two concepts are important
conservative and modern or none- conservative values. The former refers to traditional values and codes dominating on society over generations. In this research these values refer to those studied in the second round of National Survey on Iranian Vales and Attitudes such as belief, purity, morality, honesty, literacy, faith, loyalty, accountability, good financial state etc. In contrast, the latter refers to those values that traditional society does not tolerate development of them and attempts to resist against their diffusion. In the case of mate selection, they may refer to such examples as pre-marriage relations between two sexes, love, intellectuality, good looking, etc.
some of the findings indicate that, contrary to conservative notion that views online dating sites and modern tools the like, as means of threatening genuine traditional values, marriage values among Toba users are still overwhelmingly conservative meaning the users still prefer to choose their mate if they carry traditional characteristics. Nevertheless, one can see some gradual penetration of modern values along with traditional values, which have not dominated on the users’ preferences yet. For examples, they may refer to such preferences as liking to travel, enjoying leisure, being Tehrani resident, being up to date, intellectuality etc. The finding also indicate that some values have changed and simultaneously re-emphasized, such as being beautiful/good looking, having university degree. The analysis of the data also showed that there is a considerable variation regarding mate preferences between male and female users. For example, preferences of leisure and travel which are new in Iranian society are mostly emphasized by female users. On one end and as many researchers have noted, prettiness is more important for men than for women. On the other end, financial state, accountability, faith and kindness are more significant for women than for men. Contrary to other societies, loyalty is highly underscored by male than by female users, indicating the development of trustless feeling in the contemporary Iranian society. These some contradictory issues obvious here because mate selection values and preferences are dominantly conservative, but some modern values penetrated to the society making the people mistrustful. This may be a feature of a transitional society in which individuals search for open and liberal relations, while in the case of mate selection, they seek physically and intellectually modern mate. It seems this may cause a decrease in values such as honesty and loyalty.