Though I agree with much of what Cathy Young has written on the most recent dust-up on feminism (and I believe that with but a few rejoinders many “gender feminists” would agree as well), I still find the binary problematic because it is so very reductive. Young and Hoff-Summers’ definitions of “gender feminism” don’t describe me at all, but I find little in the “equity feminist” camp that applies to me outside of the most basic philosophy.
Additionally, my post in question has been misread, often willfully, multiple times, so I feel the need to reiterate that my primary point was to vent my thoughts on the layers and layers of cultural and social politics at play in my student’s non-conformist assignment, and secondly to reconsider hijab as a cultural cue in a non-oppressive Western environment. I’m still baffled as to why my public wonderment is so controversial. Context is everything.
For me, if anything, this argument reconfirms that Americans are so uneducated about the cultural practices of others (judging from a large number of those who have chosen to weigh in on the comments here and elsewhere) that the reactionary is preferable to acknowledging that cultural cues have different meanings in different contexts.
And, for that matter, flippancy is easy.