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.