Greetings dear readers. I certainly hope this blog finds you well and safe. In my last blog, “The Do’s And Don’ts Of Being a Gurl”, I made mention of body movement when dressed en femme. The Do was to move with a more feminine motion. The Don’t was don’t walk like a football player. It was suggested to me that I expand on the issue of the difference in body mechanics between men and women. Thanks for the suggestion, Kristina. I’m only too happy to expand on this topic, as it is a source of continual fascination for me. It is interesting to note that research on the differing body mechanics of men and women goes as far back as 1956 from the research that I have done, so interest in this difference is by no way a new or novel thing.
First, what I have to share is generally true, but not always true. There will be exceptions to everything I share. Secondly, remember the adage, “less is more”. We’ve probably all seen a male that exaggerates feminine movement. It looks rather comical. Refinement of movement is everything. Lastly, practice, practice, practice. The refined movement comes only with practice.
The overall movement of men and women is distinctly different. In general, men hold themselves much more stiffly than women. Regarding feminine movement, “fluid” would be the best overall description. Men move in a linear, forward, and rigid manner, and movements tend to be at rigid angles. Women move in a more circular fashion with movement being more fluid and smooth. For men, think of a military officer as an extreme example. For women, think of a ballerina.
The second overall consideration is body posture. Men tend to lean forward with their head thrusting ahead of their bodies, shoulders stooped, as if they were walking into a strong headwind. Women tend to hold themselves much more upright with the head in alignment with the body and the chin angling slightly upward. A very good way to practice feminine body posture is to stand with your back to a wall with your heels against the wall. Stand so that your body, including your head, are in contact with the wall, then walk away from the wall retaining this posture. Practice this every day and it will become natural to you. Nothing replaces practice.
Okay, those are my general comments. Now let’s get more specific and have some fun! We’ll start at the head and work our way down. I’ve already commented on holding the head in alignment with the body with the chin slightly upward. Regarding facial expression, in general, in everyday conversation, women tend to smile more, use more direct eye contact, and touch more frequently than men. They also tend to use more hand gestures.
Next, let’s move to the arms. In walking, women’s arm movement is more loose and fluid and they tend to swing the arms more as they walk faster. While walking, women hold their upper arms closer to their bodies than men and don’t sway their shoulders as men do. There’s a general saying that men walk with their shoulders, while women walk with their hips. With male shoulder movement while walking, think of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also, women hold their lower arms further from the body. The technical term is the ulna moves distally compared to the radius. The simple reason for this is the width of the hips. Women’s forearms flare out from the body simply to clear the hips while walking. Also, women tend to rotate the palms of their hands forward while walking. The hint of the day: walk with upper arms close to the body while flaring the lower arms outward, but not too much.
Regarding sitting, women taking a seated position are more fluid in motion while assuming the seated position while men tend to just plunk down. Women hold their knees, legs, and feet closer together while seated. Men usually spread their legs. Simply stated, men spread their legs because they have more anatomy between their legs that needs to be accommodated. Exaggerated leg spread while seated in males is referred to by researchers as “genital display” and is considered the body language of dominance. Women also shift body position while seated less frequently than men and keep their hands folded in their laps unless speaking. The hint of the day: sit in a flowing motion (especially if you are wearing a skirt which you should sweep under you) and sit with your knees, legs, and ankles close together while sitting with back straight and restrict movements unless speaking.
Next, let’s move to how to walk. This is where it gets really interesting. The difference in male and female movements while walking has everything to do with the pelvis. In adolescence, the female pelvis rotates outward, thus creating that beautiful hourglass swelling outward of female hips. The reason for this is to create more width of the pelvis to accommodate pregnancy and childbirth. This causes the hip joint to also rotate outward. The result is the hip moves in a circular, rotating motion while walking. When taking a step, the female hip will rotate forward and upward and when taking a step with the other leg, the hip will rotate backward and downward. This gives that wonderful swaying motion of the hips when a woman walks. The male pelvis does not rotate in adolescence (no childbirth involved here) and resultantly there is little to no hip rotation/sway, and the male stride is very straight forward and linear. In my experience, the best way to study female hip rotation/sway is to watch a lady who is wearing jeans with bling on the pockets. The hip rotation becomes fairly obvious. Just be careful not to ogle! The hint of the day is to rotate your hip forward upon taking a step.
Leg stride and foot placement are also different in men and women when walking. Women take shorter strides and place their feet closer together when stepping. Think of a runway model for an exaggerated example of this. Runway models either take steps with one foot directly in front of the other or actually cross the stepping foot over the centerline of the back foot. I don’t recommend this, as it is an exaggeration. The male walk tends to be a stalking sort of thing, with the stride being longer and foot placement while stepping is much wider. Women walk with a more flowing motion, while men tend to stomp. Women also walk more slowly than men. So, a hint of the day is to place your feet closer together upon stepping and take less lengthy strides.
Whew! Aren’t these differences fascinating? If you’d like to work on developing more feminine body mechanics, I would suggest you take one thing at a time. Don’t try to do everything at once. It can be a bit overwhelming. For me personally, developing the feminine hip movement was the most challenging, and certainly the most tiring. Again, remember that less is more. We are aiming for refined movement, not an exaggerated impersonation. And again, remember, practice, practice, practice! For more information, go to the internet. There is an abundance of information out there on feminine movement.
Well, here is your tutorial on feminine body mechanics from your Aunt Angie. Since a lot of us (including me) are staying at home in these difficult times, you hopefully have some time to have fun with refining your inner femme. So have some fun and Walk This Way!
Now, get those keyboards warmed up and share your thoughts/experiences in this wonderful world of differences.