How does body language differ with gender? Male or female, we all have the basic urge to be understood by others, to communicate. We have been given the gift of speech, but that is not our only way of communication.
We use our facial expressions, movement of arms and legs, posture, etc. to communicate too. This is known as Non-Verbal Communication- the language our bodies use to communicate. Usually, the same body language is used by both men and women though a few differences can be noted.
What causes these differences?
Some differences are biological. The difference in the bone structure causes men and women to walk differently. Children are influenced by their same-sex role models. They learn to behave like their mother and father.
The social and cultural factors play a big part. Children are conditioned to do things society wants them to do. Girls are taught to be appeasing, soft, and caring while boys are encouraged to be strong and protective.
Here’s a list of a few differences in body language observed in men and women:
- Women like to be approached from the front while men prefer to be approached from the side. For men, approach from the front can seem aggressive. Women feel threatened if they are approached from the back.
- To show defiance, men put their hands on their hips, their fingers pointing towards their crotch. Women do the same, but their fingers point towards their back.
- While men nod to show that they agree to something, women nod to encourage- for the speaker in front of them to continue.
- Men touch their nose repeatedly when disgusted or stressed. Women do that and also wrinkle their nose when disgusted.
- Women reach out to others by touching their arm or giving them a hug to build a connection. Men pat other’s back or place their hands on other’s shoulders to show superiority.
- Men twirl their hair when under stress to comfort themselves. Women may do the same under stress but also twirl their hair when they are talking to someone they are attracted to.
- While women lean forward, nod, tilt their heads to show that they are listening, men do not do anything like that. It is hard to understand if they are at all listening.
- Women smile more than men. Smiling is a sign of being subordinate. Men do not smile that much as they want to assert power over others. Women have been conditioned to smile and appease others.
- While walking, women swing their hips and men swing their hands.
- Women keep their arms next to their bodies and cross their legs. Men keep their arms away from their bodies and sit with their legs apart.
- While flirting, women play with their hair, lick their lips, cross and uncross their legs frequently, smile more, and give alluring looks to the man they are interested in. Men stare, raise their eyebrows, stroke their hair, try to initiate physical contact, put their hands in their pockets to show interest.