Reduction in body size can include anything from curling into a ball to pulling the arms in slightly to avoid detection. When we submit we show that we aren’t a threat.

Reduction in body size can include anything from curling into a ball to pulling the arms in slightly to avoid detection. When we submit we show that we aren’t a threat.

“Shrinking body cues” can eliminate, or significantly reduce the possibility of confrontation. These “readiness to submit” postures, are found in all animals where fighting could lead to injury or terminal harm. Reduction in body size is a sure way to remain anonymous and melt into the background. Submission in this way includes; “sinking in the chair” or pulling the arms inward, pulling the shoulders down and rounding them, hunching in, pulling the chin in, pulling the legs or knees closer together, remaining motionless and avoiding eye contact. What all these cues have in common is that they give us a better chance of being overlooked as a threat, and help to repels attention from us.

Many sexual cues are submissive in nature – it evokes a protective response in men.

Many sexual cues are submissive in nature – it evokes a protective response in men.

The extremity of submissive language is being curled up in the fetal position, however as we get older, we find that these gestures are not acceptable so we abbreviate them. We might therefore take on a crouched position, bend our knees slightly to appear smaller, or pull a leg in and sit on it. Women can be seen hugging their knees by pulling them in. We can also take on “baby eyes” by widening the eyes and appearing more vulnerable. Women and young girls are particularly talented at this posture as anyone with daughters will no doubt admit. The vast majority of women’s sexual body language includes submissive gestures so some of them might appear during general submission.

Making the body small limits the potential of being hit and covers up vital areas of the body. In today’s age, it is uncommon to be physically attacked, but the mechanism by which we display can have a big impact on how people react physiologically to us. Reducing body size is the exact opposite from what one would do to indicate dominance. Dominance is displayed by taking up more space, being loose and free flowing, pushing the chin out, broadening our shoulders and so forth.

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