Female body language is not all that different from male body language, however there are a few noticeable differences in female body language 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.
- A sideways glance over a raised shoulder highlights curves and the roundness of the female face. This signifies estrogen and exposes the vulnerability of the neck and releases pheromones. Women instinctively do this when trying to flirt.
- 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 are usually correlated with high levels of estrogen, which means the woman is more fertile. In men, women like legs, butt, and 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 feet spread further 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 others 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:
- Researcher Monika Moore 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 only guess correctly 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. When in an MRI women have 14 to 16 active brain areas while evaluating others, whereas men only have 4 to 6 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 should never come up to a woman 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 to show she is available over the best-looking woman in the room.
6. Likeable Female Body Language:
What do people consider "likeable" body language? Here are some of the behaviors that are attractive and likeable in both 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 towards the other person.
- Subtle mirroring.
Overall, women tend to be more aware of their body language and others body language cues. A post on male body language is coming up!
Navarro, Joe, and Marvin Karlins. What Every BODY Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-reading People. New York, NY: Collins Living, 2008.
Ekman, Paul. Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics, and Marriage. New York: Norton, 1985.
Pease, Allan, and Barbara Pease. The Definitive Book of Body Language. New York: Bantam, 2006.
Meyer, Pamela. Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception. New York: St. Martin's, 2010.
Craig, David. Lie Catcher: Become a Human Lie Detector in under 60 Minutes. Newport, N.S.W.: Big Sky, 2011.
Driver, Janine. You Can't Lie to Me. Harper One, 2012.
The reality of being a woman — by the numbers. Learn more