Can You Fake Beauty – just with Body Language?

Can body language create beauty? And how so? Are men turned on by confidence? Or submission? Some mix of the two? Or something else?

Beautiful in Theory

amy cuddy


An intriguing proposition, no? I have just watched this TED talk by Amy Cuddy, called “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are”, after my excellent friend Elli Harris sent me a link to the Top Ten TED Talks Women Should See (they should). Cuddy isn’t actually talking about beauty but power, and how your body language can make you not just look more powerful, but actually feel more powerful – and as a result, be more powerful. But I kept wondering about the body language of beauty, and whether the same principle might apply.

Cuddy, who is a social scientist, says that humans and animals the world over express power and dominance in the same way: by making themselves big. When we feel powerful we stretch out, take up more space. And when we feel powerless, lacking in confidence, we close up, wrap our arms around our bodies…

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on March 19, 2014, in body image, feminism, psychology, women and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. There is a definite correlation between beauty and body language. Not only are men attracted to confident women, but other women are attracted to them as well. I believe this is in part because they want to emulate their confidence because they admire it and seek it for themselves. I can think of many women who aren’t considered to be particularly “attractive”, both famous and not, who are nonetheless popular and admired by many. I believe this is due, in part, to the law of attraction. We seek out things that make us feel positive, we are attracted to them because of the feelings it evokes in us. That is probably why men are attracted to women being submissive, but in a confident way, because that is what makes them feel positive and they want to be associated with that feeling.

  2. I think body language can create beauty. For instance, if you are one stage with your head up and your body shows confidence, you will be seen as powerful. You will show the audience that you know what you are doing and that you are not afraid to be up on that stage. No matter how the person looks like, if they show themselves positively through their body language that is attractive When the person is shrugged over and looking down, you can see that as negative body language. That elicits negative emotions from the audience or who ever is looking at you. I would say that there is a mixture of men being turned on by confidence and other men being turned on by a submissive woman. I know some men who love it and find it highly attractive when their girlfriends are confident and stand up for themselves. Others who like it when their girlfriends are shy and passive.

  3. Yes! there are many ways to fake beauty. For example, there is a difference between getting the date or getting the job that can often be down to confidence such as tension in a person’s face can help others read their negative emotions like a page in a book, because whether that be the furrowing of a brow or tightly-clenched teeth, these motions show off a lack of confidence or comfort. i recommend taking a deep breath and allowing the facial muscles to relax, as well as controlling the urge to take shallow breaths which, when coupled with the occasional deep breath, convey anxiousness. Again, smiling is not only a way to boost our looks, but actually has a chemical effect on other people, by boosting ‘feel good transmitters in the brain because putting on a big smile is actually contagious to others, both in feeling and in action, as others can not help but smile back. In addition, a tiny tilt to the head can say a lot about one’s confidence. Example for a date situation, holding eye contact and then tilting your head to the left while talking, i believe boosts attractiveness, and a head tilt to the right makes one appear trustworthy to others.

  4. After watching this video I was pleasantly surprised and I had to agree with using body language and a mental attitude to approach things we may think we aren’t ready for. I’ adapted doing this in situations where I’m extremely unsure of myself or even when being in an environment where I have to overly social with people I have very little knowledge about. That said, the underlying concept of being confident or at the very least pretend to be confident in these situations I think helps later in life. While not entirely related, this where I think having taken an Acting class or two helps – in that you pretend to be something or someone else for a sly moment and it takes you out of the situation for a moment. This is inherently a lesson that I think everyone should learn – but then there also situations where pretending or faking is frowned upon because other people depend on your abilities. However, as far as self-esteem (ie beauty and confidence) goes this is a skill that everyone should learn eventually. To be sure of themselves or at least fake it.

  5. I guess because of stereotypes, women have more of an obligation to make her place especially in male-dominated spaces. Everyone has to respect themselves and their basic human rights, and not put it on the back burner while more ambitious, attractive people are going ahead with their own demands. Many people would like to place a number on someone and put them in their place because they have their own ideas of who’s worth listening to, but no one is born with more to say than anyone else and those who were born into a certain demographic weren’t born deserving their circumstances. Holding your own, staying confident has to be faked in some cases in order for ourselves to believe it and that’s fine. As long as we aren’t talking out of our asses and accept criticism and sometimes being wrong or right people can’t go wrong.

  6. I actually watched exactly the same TED talk topic in Youtube a week before read in the blog. Amy Cuddy, the speaker, was actually had an accident that damaged specific parts of her brain cells which made her struggling to finish school. But she eventually finish school, and able to overcome the expectation being put on her and gained so much confidence afterwards. The most interesting part is that she was able to retain her self-esteem by using the same trick: practicing power pose and “Fake it till you become it.”

    I think body language is highly correlated with beauty. One might not be very good looking but what makes that person beautiful is the way he or she present themselves. How would other people think that a person is beautiful or adorable if the person does not confidence in him/herself? And I think this is what it is called inner beauty.

  7. I too believe that body language is really important and it can absolutely be incredibly attractive. Personally, I think a woman who is very confident of herself and her body (regardless if she is tall skinny, short, small big, etc) and she expresses it through her body language, is very attractive. I would assume that it would be the same for those men who are also sure of themselves and their bodies. Also, I think that a person who is very confident of themselves, automatically use a body language that is probably more attractive. For example, they smile more, they probably have a more flirtatious personality,etc, and that is why is more attractive. Another example for me is that I always pay attention to the way people shake hands with me. If they have a strong, firm grip, for some reason, it makes me think that they have a confidence in themselves and are more sociable than others.

  8. I believe body language can speak more for a person than their actual words. The way one carries themselves can be seen either in a good or bad way. I think confidence is the huge factor though. If a woman’s body language is saying she is shy and insecure in a way (I find that the last pose of Scarlet Johansson can be taken as insecure by the way she is somewhat hiding herself) her facial expression can mean something else. In the picture of Scarlet Johansson her facial expression is saying she is confident so men could by pass her body language. I personally do not walk around confident what so ever. I tend to cross my arms and cover myself with them and my face never reads “confidence”. My mom tells me I need to walk around smiling but I do not see why I should when I am no confident or there is nothing to smile about. She also tells me that guys are scared of me. But I do not see how that could be when I walk around looking small and invisible, not big and powerful. I see men being afraid of women who do look big and powerful because they are afraid they would not have dominance over her. So a way one carries themselves can say a lot, but can also say very little.

  9. I strongly agree with this post. Great posture helps keep the body strong and upright. It protects the back, helps making stronger the center, and speaks volumes about your confidence level and health. Women’s bodies have a language all to their own and look more powerful, confident, energized, and sexier. Yes! “Fake it till you make it” or “Fake it till you become it”.

  10. I definitely agree! Body language plays a huge role in making a woman look beautiful. Having the aura of confidence is extremely attractive. Feeling and being comfortable with yourself is an awesome feeling, and it is projected by the way you look.

  11. Very interesting read! Body language is a fascinating subject, I love people watching lol. Great post, thanks for reblogging 🙂 x

  12. I think confidence does a lot for men and women. Sure men know and hear all the time how confidence is so attractive for a man to have and how women are attracted to confidence. But I think women who are confident bring out a “sexyness” and charm to them that makes them attractive. I think the problem is, some women who feel they don’t fit the beauty standars or don’t feel good about their looks and body. They feel it’s so much because of their body and look that they might not get attention or that they don’t feel sexy. But really it’s because of their insecurity, and lack of confidence and they project that. Men can see it because of how she carries herself and how it only goes from there. You can see it though, women who don’t have the perfect body and maybe average, but they are confident and charming, they exude this sexyness and allure that guys can gravitate to and people and make them look much more attractive and sexy to others. I think the biggest problem for women and girls is them feeling their bodies and looks make them unattractive, when it’s more often the insecurity they project that does it, but they don’t realize it.

  13. I do agree with the article, body language does relate with beauty and it can be learned with repetition. felling more comfortable and having a good life does translate to a better self-stem and that creates a body language that represents our happiness at the time. However, as the article said, it can be taught and we can practice these poses for future activities at work or school. Presenting your self as best possible leads to great results in our personal life or professional one.

  14. Body language does play a role. I think Marilyn Monroe once said how she knew how to use her body language to get the whole world looking at her or be absolutely invisible. How a woman carries herself, contracts or expands her energy. It is a “power” of its own for sure.

  15. Thanks for the reblog! There seem to be more questions than answers on this topic though, and your questions make me wonder about gender differences too: would ‘beauty body language’ for men just be confidence? And what does that tell us about beauty/attractiveness?

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