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closed posture

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A typically unconscious bodily posture in which the body tends towards being closed in on itself—with arms and legs close to the body or crossed. In very closed postures the head is also lowered and the body is huddled in something approaching ‘the foetal position’. Depending on context, in social interaction closed postures are variously interpreted as defensive, as signifying disagreement, and/or as discouraging interaction. When women sit with a closed body posture, with their arms close to the body and a minimal angle between the upper legs, this is sometimes interpreted by feminist theorists as a performance of feminine submission. Compare open posture.

Subjects: Media studies

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