Women in Islam are encouraged to embrace their femininity, e.g.:

Islam treats women well, determines how their relationship with men should be and establishes its systems, directives and rulings. It guards the woman’s femininity and acknowledges its implications. Thus, it neither suppresses it nor eradicates it. -- IslamWeb

I'm puzzled how a woman can simultaneously embrace her femininity while simultaneously observing hijab (as per Qur'an 24:31).

My experience as a new hijabi muhtajiba is that covering tends to hide my femininity. I'm required to hide my "lady bits" and wear clothes where my gender is less visible. Observing hijab seems to obstruct embracing femininity. Moreover, the "better" one's hijab is, the more unfeminine one appears; at one end of the spectrum, we can't even tell if someone wearing a burqa is actually a woman.

Question: How can a Muslim woman achieve a balance between hijab and expressing her femininity?

In Becoming Muslim, by Anna Mansson McGinty, in the chapter "The Veil and Alternative Femininities" we have:

Veiling is strongly linked to the formation of a female Muslim identity, and to ideas about gender relations and modesty.

McGinty describes how the veil is part of the "new femininities" of convert women, and referring to a particular Muslim convert "Fatimah" (pseudonym), she describes a compromise Fatimah has reached:

At the time of the conversion, and also when marrying, Fatimah said that she would never wear “the scarf,” as she frequently refers it to. Just like all of the other women, she experienced it as one of the most difficult things to adjust to being a Muslim. Today she does cover, but as she puts it herself, her way of covering is somewhat of an “American adoption, kind of a compromise because it is not quite as covered and yet you are still covered.” The scarf, tied in the back, covers her hair but not the chin and neck. This is what she is most comfortable with.

  • Is this offtopic? I don't think styling advice fits this site. If that's not what you mean by "expressing femininity", perhaps you can explain it.
    – G. Bach
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 12:07
  • I think you don't have a right understanding of why hijab is necessary. The whole purpose of the practice is to prevent expressing one's femininity in avenues other than married and private life! The public domain is where we should express our humanity rather than sexuality! But the modern deviation seems to have entirely altered our understanding of where which part of our identity must operate. I have expounded on the general role of sexuality in the view of Islam here: islam.stackexchange.com/questions/33709/…
    – infatuated
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 12:31
  • i think hijab is accounted as women dress, and men should not wear women dress, so hijab shows femininty. and i think that just a text of a website without proofs is not important, but i have not checked full text.
    – qdinar
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 13:42
  • It's a very delicate question. The term hijaab is followed differently throughout 73 sects. It would be better, to mention the sect and it's hijaab style relation to expressing feminism. e.g Shia's women hijab allows face uncovering, while wahhabis don't. so it would be a good idea, to mention the sect specifically. And i would encourage to ask any questions in mind, without referring to the outbursts of pious muslims.
    – Seeker
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 14:01
  • @Seeker the question would apply to every sect in the same way. Because the OP's understanding would still be the same—limiting her feminism.
    – Thaqalain
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 14:32

2 Answers 2


assalamu alaikum,

you can express your femininity in front of women. you dont have to express it in front of men.

in your private spaces, when you are with other Muslim women, you can let your hair down and relax, and show your feminine side that way.

similarly, you can show your feminine side to your mehrams - close male relatives - and your husband.

your femininity is for you, not for strangers.


It is an interesting question. I must say that Muslim women have realized exactly their femininity with all its subtleties and values ​​that observe the hijab. The hijab of a Muslim woman means exactly that she has realized her high spiritual and material value and now sees herself as a jewel that should not be available to everyone.

The god who made it obligatory for Muslim women to wear the hijab forbade Muslim men from wearing women's clothing. As for those who wear the burqa .. Yes, you are right, one may doubt who exactly is hiding under this burqa? Is it a woman or a man ?! But in other hijabs, it is quite clear that this person is a Muslim woman who wears hijab.

The point is that women only wear hijab in society and in the presence of a non-mahram man. It is not as if they have been covered in hijab for all hours of their lives and the manifestation of femininity in them has been forgotten. I think Islam has required a woman to wear the hijab in the presence of a non-mahram man in order to cover the femininity of a woman as much as possible. In a shopping center or school, etc., there is no need for a woman to show feminine effects.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .