هذه المدوّنة تضمن أشياء تعجبني وتهمّني.: لغات وكتابات مختلفة – طقوس وشعائر دينية – مقتطفات سياسية – مقتطفات تقنية – مقتطفات عن التعددية الجنسية
اللعنة على الحروف اللاتينيّة
This is a really loaded ask packed with many dangerous presumptions, so I hope you weren’t expecting a simple yes or no. Also, before I even answer this (essentially insulting) question, it bears making the following disclaimers.
First, I don’t like the term hijabi deployed in most contexts, especially with regards to feminism, because it creates this insidious isolation of an entire demographic. Let us not pathologize human beings in such a way. Only a bigoted fool would honestly believe that by the virtue of practicing Islam and wearing a headscarf could a vast myriad of women from different political backgrounds, races/nationalities, social environments, economic brackets and their thoughts about women’s liberation be compiled under such a homogenous label. Ironically, attempting to validate such a stigmatization of millions of women itself is a decidedly anti feminist and fundamentally misogynistic act. (For the record, if a woman who wears hijab refers to herself as such, that’s entirely her right, but that’s not a title that should be imposed on her, which was done here).
Secondly, the idea that any woman has to unconditionally identify with feminism as a structure to prove herself credible is stifling and harmful. There are many justifications for women, especially women who are marginalized racially or by heteronormative standards not to identify with American mainstream feminism (which is generally understood as the three waves of feminism and were/are transparently flawed). For example, the formation of second wave feminism was so white centered and racially alienating that it provided as part of the reason Black American women created womanism, which aligned itself more with intersectionality. But for argument’s sake, I’ll assume by “feminist”, you mean general euphemism for women who are principled in their analysis and approaches to gendered oppression.
I have to wonder what your idea of a “proper” feminist must be if Muslim women who wear the hijab are actively alienated from it. Honestly, ask yourself. Because you didn’t say Muslim women as a whole, so is it the concept of veiling that perturbs you? Or perhaps you didn’t know that there are Muslim women who don’t wear the hijab? But then it seems to be only Muslim women who observe head scarves that you make a point to interrogate, because there are women of different faiths outside of Islam that don a veil and yet, they are not speculated about in the same manner.
It sounds to me that there two possible outcomes to have resulted in this question.
One, you might believe that women who wear the hijab do so in spite of other women and perpetually sneer at those who are understood as dressing “provocatively”. To your apparent dismay, there are hijab wearing Muslim women who regard their clothing choices as a personal act and do not wish to impose it on others. Simultaneously, there are liberal feminists (FEMEN and less extreme variations) that believe that publicly embracing sexuality and viewing it as a means of liberation (which is patently false and not to mention, alienates women who not wish to be open about sexuality in such a manner) who are so dogmatic in their beliefs that they consider covering up (especially and at times, primarily in the context of Islam) to be an innate form of oppression and subsequently anti feminist. This is not only incorrect, it lends way to legitimizing racism and Islamophobia as a feminist stance, which leads to my following point.
Two, you could believe that by the virtue of observing the hijab, a woman is so oppressed that she cannot possibly be in the position to have profound feminist views and praxis. This assumption occurs under a presupposed mythical conditional misogyny and a singular form of oppression. This stance, by its very core obscures the nature of sexism. To assume this line of thinking is to deliberately erase the oppression faced by women in so called “sexually liberated” spaces and locations. Whether it be pornography where rape and abuse have become nearly indistinguishable from the act of sex itself and the objectification of women’s bodies normalized or the proliferation of rape culture where a woman dressing in a particular fashion becomes the topic of speculation, rather than the commonality of sexual assault itself, women are scrutinized. By your own logic, women who have been subjected to the worst forms of misogynistic violence would not be credible voices either, but of course, you know better than that.
What seems to be lost on you, however is that women are a second class in almost every viable sector in most societies. Say it with me- patriarchy is a global force. This is by no turn the oppression faced by women into a uniformity, devoid of nuance by class, race, geopolitics and so forth. And neither would I ever deny the very specific narratives of women who wear the hijab (especially in a post 9/11 state where they’re so visibly Muslim- a narrative that I can’t speak about and won’t encroach upon). But my ultimate purpose is to reiterate that misogyny and hardship faced by women is indeed almost unanimously understood (there are only a small sector of women whose lives are made so comfortable by their other sociopolitical and economic privileges that they can evade the fundamental struggle of womanhood).
Pontification about the hijab is useless and demonizing. By questioning the legitimacy of millions of women’s political views and the how they can improve the lives of themselves and their fellow women by such an arbitrary standard is pompous navel gazing. So, tldr, to answer your very trite and unyieldingly orientalistic question “can a hijabi be a proper feminist?” Yes. And no. It depends on the views they hold, ways they enact such views and if they feel comfortable associating with the term feminism. Just like another classification of woman.