Why self confident women polarize

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Why self confident women polarize and what our body language reveals about us

Self confident women are hot – or not? On this question opinions drift apart. But why? And what is it about nonverbal signs (body language) and our appearance?

Self confidence vs. dominance

With her head held high a woman enters the room. In leather and lace she cracks her whip. She knows what she wants and how she gets it. One has to bow to her. She is always in control and does not tolerate disobedience. Like this or similar is the common idea of a strong, self confident woman – but this is not correct.

Wrongly self confidence is often been put on the same level with dominance but there is a big difference. Dominance is an outer strength in the behavior to other people while self confidence is the true strength from within. A lack of self confidence is often covered by dominant behavior which means that self confident women can be dominant at the same time but dominant women are not necessarily self confident.

A self confident woman is assertive, independent, brave and able to say no. She is dynamic and ambitious. She knows about her strengths as well as about her weaknesses and stands by and behind them. She has an upright, open posture, speaks clear and loud, looks her dialog partner in the eye and emphasizes her words with big gestures.

A strong, self confident woman knows her worth and takes it to the outside. Body language and self confidence are two things that become one and significantly contribute on how we affect other people.


Why self confident women polarize

Contrary to the opinion, we are not born self confident but become it over the years – some more, some less, based on the experience we make during our childhood and youth. Self confidence can be learnt and the first step is a healthy self esteem: only she who loves and esteems herself can develop a proper self confidence. The attitude to oneself, the belief in the own abilities and the acceptance of one‘s weaknesses reflect in our body language and charisma and can be improved with specific training – as long as one is ready to work on oneself and face painful experiences from the past.

Strong women trigger contradictory feelings in less confident people: on the one hand they avoid the contact and on the other hand they are attracted to them. The ambivalent feelings makes the self confident woman both interesting and menacing. Women develop negative feelings such as jealousy, insecurity, envy and rivalry against other more confident women while men can easily see strong personalities as a competitor. A man wants to live out his protective instinct and wants his manhood to be admired; he wants to be needed. An over confident woman does not need his help and gets along on her own – and undermines his manhood inadvertently.

Self confident women are noticed. And wanted or not, conscious or unconscious, we rate this person. This rating arouses positive or negative emotions and where there are emotions, opinions are being formed.


Self confident women such as Rosie demonstrate power, a strong will and independence.

Self confident women such as Rosie demonstrate power, a strong will and independence.

Body language and what it reveals

There are many nonverbal signs that express self confidence. It is important to understand that we automatically feel the way we act. That means hanging shoulders and a downcast gaze demonstrates insecurity and we feel weak and powerless, the other way round an upright posture with a steady gaze and big gestures indicates self confidence and makes us feel strong and positive.

People with a lack of self confidence did not receive much approval and praise during their childhood and have been marked by statements such as “You cannot do this”, “You will never get anywhere” etc. These negative experiences have led to a very low and critical self-perception. Humans with a lack of self confidence are afraid to fail and afraid of refusal, they do not live their life the way they want it, always think that others are better and cannot develop their potentials and skills. Unconsciously they adopt the role of the victim and reflect this attitude through nonverbal signs.

In New York City there was a study with arrested sexual offenders and thieves to find out how they pick their victims. They filmed a busy crossover in Manhattan for a few minutes and showed it to the offenders. All of them named exactly the same persons as a potential victim. The reasons were clear: either the concerned persons were distracted by their smartphones or something else and did not pay attention to their surroundings or they radiated insecurity and weakness by a sunken-in posture, small steps and an insecure-searching gaze. Every offender said that the body height and figure is not crucial to find a possible victim.

Self confident women arouse emotions – both positive and negative – and they have to be confident enough to not let themselves taken aback by the reactions to their personality. Inner strength radiates to the outside, inner weakness does, too, and reveals a lot about us. Good news is we can work on it!


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