Female body language, or the body language of women, is not all that different from that of men. However, female body language does have a few noticeable differences that both sexes can make note of. Here is a video of my segment with AM Northwest on female body language as well as detailed tips below!
1. Female Flirting Behavior
Men and women have completely different courtship behaviors. Here are some of the behaviors that women do (consciously and subconsciously) while trying to entice a man:
- Like Marilyn Monroe, women who are trying to entice a man tend to raise their eyebrows and lower their lids because it looks similar to the face women make when they are experiencing pleasure.
- Looking up and to the side at a man is another ‘come hither’ look from a woman to a man.
- A sideways glance over a raised shoulder highlights curves and the roundness of the female face. This signifies estrogen, exposes the vulnerability of the neck and releases pheromones. Women instinctively do this when trying to flirt.
- A woman’s outer genitals are proportionate to her lips. This is called self-mimicry and it helps attract males. Women call attention to their lips by wearing glossy or bright-colored lipstick.
- Women toss their hair or touch their neck when flirting because it exposes the armpit, which releases sex hormones, shows the curvature of the neck and highlights shiny healthy hair.
Women with large eyes, a small nose, full lips and high cheeks are seen by men as more attractive because these features usually are correlated with high levels of estrogen, which means the woman is more fertile. In men, women like legs, butt, chest and arms. The majority of women favor a man’s butt as her favorite male body part.
2. Assertiveness vs Submissiveness
Women struggle with trying to stand their ground while not intimidating men. From a body language perspective this happens in a number of ways. Women use cues of ‘submissiveness’ to show vulnerability, but also can employ certain moves for assertiveness to show they are not pushovers.
- Women pluck their eyebrows higher up their forehead because it makes them look more helpless. This causes a hormone release in a man’s brain connected with protecting and defending the female.
- Oddly, a limp wrist or exposed wrists are a sign of submission and both women and homosexual men tend to do this subconsciously when in a room with people they want to attract. This is why while smoking, many women hold the cigarette with one wrist turned out and exposed.
- When women want to be assertive they can stand with their feet spread farther apart. This ‘claiming of territory’ is a subconscious cue to men that the woman is feeling confident.
3. Women and Lying
Men and women lie differently. Their motivations for deception are different:
- Men lie to appear more powerful, interesting and successful. They lie about themselves eight times more than they lie about others.
- Women lie less about themselves and more to protect other’s feelings or to make others feel better about themselves.
4. Women and Body Language Cues
Women are better at sending and picking up body language cues than men. Here’s how:
- Monica Moore, a professor of Experimental Psychology at Webster University in St. Louis, found men often miss a women’s first eye-gazing courtship signal. On average, women need to eye-gaze three times before a man takes notice.
- In another study, participants were asked to decode a silent movie. Women were able to guess what was happening 87 percent of the time, but men could guess correctly only 42 percent of the time. Interestingly, homosexual men and men in highly emotional jobs (nursing, teaching and acting) did nearly as well as women.
- Women might be better at reading body language because more of their brain is active when they evaluate other’s behavior. MRI scans reveal that women have 14 to 16 active brain areas while evaluating others, whereas men only have four to six active.
5. Tips for Men and Women:
Taking into account some of the female body language cues, here are some tips for both men and women:
- When approaching a woman, men never should come up from behind, as this will put her on guard. They are better off coming in at an angle and then standing at an angle.
- You do not need to have perfect looks to attract a man. Studies show that men are more attracted to a woman who engages in flirtation behavior to show she is available versus the best-looking woman in the room.
6. Likeable Female Body Language:
What do people consider “likable” body language? Here are some of the behaviors that are attractive and likable across social, business and romantic situations:
- Having an expressive face
- Keeping your hands below chin level (above can be seen as aggressive or over-animated)
- Minimal arm crossing
- Keeping hands outside of pockets
- Triple head nods to show interest
- Intimate eye gazing (from the eyes to the mouth to the body)
- Leaning toward the other person
- Subtle mirroring
Overall, women tend to be more aware of their body language and the body language cues of others.
About Vanessa Van Edwards
Lead Investigator, Science of People
I’ve always wanted to know how people work, and that’s what Science of People is about. What drives our behavior? Why do people act the way they do? And most importantly, can you predict and change behavior to be more successful? I think the answer is yes.