o the team surveyed nearly 600 Muslim women in Britain. About 200 said they never used the hijab. The others said they wore it at least sometimes. Swami and his colleagues also asked the women a whole slew of questions to measure how they felt about their bodies.
The difference between the two groups was small. But across all parameters, the women who wore the hijab, at least some of the time, had more positive views of their bodies, on average. They had less desire to be thin. They appreciated their bodies more. And they weren’t as influenced by media messages about beauty standards.
“The take-home message, I think, is maybe that individuals who challenge society’s norms of beauty seem to have better body images,” Swami tells NPR. “The hijab allows you to do that in a certain way [in Britain] … Feminism does the same thing.”