EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium
Volume 7, Issue 1, 2015-2017
Why Wear the Hijab? Social Functions of Traditional Islamic Female Coverings as Understood by Contemporary Muslim Women
Chaudhry, A. & Kruger, D.
The veil is one of the most visible and an often-controversial symbol of Islam for non-Muslims. The covering of women has become an increasingly provocative and controversial topic in Western nations in recent years. There are many perspectives from which these issues may be discussed. We use an integrative evolutionary framework to provide a better understanding of the origins and social functions of such customs, a perspective often neglected in the current debates. We argue that covering of women and other similar cultural practices originated largely to promote social cohesion and reduce male intra-sexual competition by reducing the salience of mating opportunities and male reproductive skew. We also conducted a survey of Muslim women to examine attitudes and beliefs related to our argument and current political debates. As predicted, the majority of participants felt that wearing the hijab (which covers one’s hair but not one’s face) reduces unwanted attention from men. Participants’ self-reported religiosity and proportion of friends who are Muslim predicted wearing the hijab.
How to cite this article:
Chaudhry, A. & Kruger, D. (2017). Why wear the hijab? Social functions of traditional Islamic female coverings as understood by contemporary Muslim women. The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium, 7(1), 162-180.