British study: For better body image, wear hijab

British study: For better body image, wear hijab

[Ed. – Inevitable.]

[Attitude in the West:] The veil is a symbol of oppression. Most can’t imagine any upsides to wearing one.

New research might make Westerners question that assumption. A study published in the August edition of the British Journal of Psychology suggests that the hijab actually offers some protection against the body dissatisfaction that plagues many Western women. A team of psychologists, led by Malaysian-born British psychologist Viren Swami at the UK’s University of Westminster, interviewed 587 Muslim women in London, 369 of whom regularly wore some sort of hijab. …

Swami and his team gave the women several tests to measure their attitudes toward their bodiesand the women who wore Western dress scored higher on every scale of body dissatisfaction. When subjects were asked to look at several sketches of women’s bodies and pick the one they would most like to have, the choices of the women who wore the hijab more closely resembled the bodies they actually possessed. On a measure of “drive for thinness”determined by answers to questions about preoccupation with body weight, fear of becoming fat, and excessive concern with dietingwomen who didn’t wear the hijab scored, on average, 3.58 out of 6 points, compared to 2.87 for women who cover up. Women who wore Western dress also registered a higher degree of “social physique anxiety,” or concern with how others perceived their physical appearance: 3.26, versus 2.92, on the 6-point scale.

Women in Western dress were also more likely to deem various forms of media an “important source of information about being attractive.” And they scored higher on a measure of the degree to which they accepted as normal unrealistic ideals of beauty (3.09 versus 2.43). Women in hijabs also spent less time engaging in “appearance-management behaviors,” and ranked their own appearance as less important than did women who wore Western clothes. …

The veil, in other words, might be oppressivebut so are unrealistic beauty standards.

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