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Author Topic: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism  (Read 6537 times)

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iris1469

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MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« on: September 24, 2010, 11:30:00 pm »
I was recently out in public, on a busy intersection, waiting on a bus...Santa Monica and San Vincente. I was My clothing looked flawless, i laid outy in the sun today. so I have some nice color. I felt SOOOOOOOO awkward. Let me ask this, I had only  my bus pass and a tube of chap stick (my shirt was mid rif) anyways  standing out there, I am wondering, what body language, from an observer's perspective, conveys confidence. Especially with the arms as I know that to cross your arms communicates defensiveness. What communicates confidence while at the same time being ignorant...??? Just a question

tori319

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2010, 02:20:16 am »
I think just being confident.Throw your shoulders and maybe hips and walk with your head up and don't look at the ground.When you relax and feel at ease I think people notice that.

iris1469

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2010, 02:26:47 am »
I think just being confident.Throw your shoulders and maybe hips and walk with your head up and don't look at the ground.When you relax and feel at ease I think people notice that.
but what I do wit my arms when i am standing not walkking

Meepit

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2010, 02:32:08 am »
Possibly hands on your hips? With a slight tilt of the hips? That seems overly girly to me though, most women I see just stand there maybe texting or looking through an ipod. If you have a bag maybe rest your arm on it. I'm not too sure, just letting you know what I've seen women do though I don't think it's that different. I've seen some with crossed arms and I've seen some somewhat huddled up so it really varies all over :) I think the variety will stop anyone from calling you out on your stance.

lilacwoman

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2010, 04:34:55 am »
I was recently out in public, on a busy intersection, waiting on a bus...Santa Monica and San Vincente. I was My clothing looked flawless, i laid outy in the sun today. so I have some nice color. I felt SOOOOOOOO awkward. Let me ask this, I had only  my bus pass and a tube of chap stick (my shirt was mid rif) anyways  standing out there, I am wondering, what body language, from an observer's perspective, conveys confidence. Especially with the arms as I know that to cross your arms communicates defensiveness. What communicates confidence while at the same time being ignorant...??? Just a question
if you were going into town you need a bag for the bus pass (is that all you carry?) and carrying a handbag with a should er strap automatically gives a female look.
hands together would be easier than crossed but go watch what other women do.
If you can find some videoed lectures online where the speakers are stood beind a mike not a lectern you will see that male speakers tend to stand there with arms down or on hips most of time while women speakers mostly have one hand curled in other or lightly crossed - and a lot more hand language to boot.

Offline spacial

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2010, 05:06:34 am »
May I suggest that folding arms only suggest defensivness if you hold them in the air so your elbows point out?

Have you ever looked at a woman, holding her handbag. How often does she hold it so it covers her tummy, just above her middle? Is that body language for something suggestive?  :laugh:

Perhaps if you try to relax more and stop worrying about such notions as body language. You have nothing to feel guilty about. Almost everyone else is more concerned with their problems to be worried about what sort of message you may or may not be conveying.

miniangel

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2010, 08:16:04 am »
If you don't have a bag strap to hold, could I suggest keeping one hand kind of up near your shoulder (as if you had your fingers hooked around your bra strap) and leave the other hand loose by your side. It sounds awkward in description but is comfortable and avoids that business of having both arms in the same position. I usually have a shoulderbag and that's the way I stand automatically, but it works just as well without the bag.

rejennyrated

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2010, 09:05:34 am »
Can I be slightly the voice of the devil's advocate here and say that while I understand why you are concerned I think all this emphasis on "performing it right" can actually be quite dangerous.

This treatment is supposed to be about being true to yourself. So whilst I think it can be helpful to realise that there are perhaps certain gestures and stances which will not enhance your perception as a woman I would HOPE that most people seeking to transition would not need to be taught to walk or hold themselves in a female way, because you should just do it naturally. A lot of female posture and gesture is mandated by the fact the our bodies are a different shape anyway, so they do come naturally, or at least they did for me.

I'm not saying it is a bad thing to think about. I am just saying don't become obsessed with it, because as I often say on these boards, look around you at the vast range of women out there. They do NOT all totter around on heels and hold their hands and hips "just so". Some of them stomp about in Doc Martins and may even lounge in chairs in their combat fatigues with legs wide apart! :o Oh they may be in a minority, but such masculine women DO exist and no one questions their natal sex because of it!

So the danger is that if you overthink this, and concentrate too much on achieving perfection you do not thereby become a perfect woman, instead you merely become a caricature of a woman! So beware - nature is naturally ALWAYS flawed. To pass you need to also emulate the imperfections that a natural woman would have as well as the nice bits. It is a counter-intuitive fact that one the quickest ways to be spotted as a fake is to look and behave TOO perfect.

My advice therefore is always aim to be yourself!  And don't worry too much about anyone else...

Offline justmeinoz

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2010, 09:17:53 am »
I think rejennyrated has struck to the heart of the issue.  Confidence shows as Confidence.
 Just by  people-watching lately I have seen women do the things she pointed out, as well as all the things like playing with jewellery, hair etc that we normally think of. 
"Don't ask me, it was on fire when I lay down on it"

Offline kyril

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2010, 10:02:52 am »
But women don't perform femininity naturally. Especially not ones who aspire to be "ladylike." So much of femininity is a learned performance - how to stand, how to walk, what to do with your hands, how to speak, all are taught. Upper-class girls used to get sent to "finishing schools" to learn these very things. Now most girls learn from each other; they may behave in ways their mothers wouldn't deem entirely ladylike, but they aren't natural either - they're just learned in a different way.

It's true that these days, unless you're in your seventies or a British royal, you probably don't want to act like a "perfect lady." But you probably should try to match your mannerisms to your age, the way you dress, and the social class you want to portray. Sure, if you're wearing a tank top, fatigues, and combat boots, you could go ahead and have really masculine body language - cross your arms, lean against the bus stop with one foot up on the glass, spit and glare at passers by. Some girls do that. But the same body language in a nice blouse, designer jeans and heels...that'll get you stared at.

So if you're not sure what body language matches the kind of woman you are or want to be, it's worth asking, and then integrating whatever elements of it mesh with what comes naturally to you. Doing that isn't any more inauthentic than reading women's magazines or asking for makeup tips. (Can you imagine the catastrophe if women were just told to apply their makeup in whatever way came naturally to them?)

In answer to the original question, I never did quite figure out what I was supposed to be doing with my hands while standing still not carrying a bag. Carrying a bag greatly simplifies the question - I wouldn't do it, because purses symbolize womanhood to me, but obviously for you that's not a problem. An alternative if you carry a cellphone is to play with it. The main thing seems to be to try holding or playing with something, and not leaning on anything or sticking your hands in your pockets.



rejennyrated

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2010, 10:24:06 am »
But women don't perform femininity naturally. Especially not ones who aspire to be "ladylike." So much of femininity is a learned performance - how to stand, how to walk, what to do with your hands, how to speak, all are taught. Upper-class girls used to get sent to "finishing schools" to learn these very things. Now most girls learn from each other; they may behave in ways their mothers wouldn't deem entirely ladylike, but they aren't natural either - they're just learned in a different way.

It's true that these days, unless you're in your seventies or a British royal, you probably don't want to act like a "perfect lady." But you probably should try to match your mannerisms to your age, the way you dress, and the social class you want to portray. Sure, if you're wearing a tank top, fatigues, and combat boots, you could go ahead and have really masculine body language - cross your arms, lean against the bus stop with one foot up on the glass, spit and glare at passers by. Some girls do that. But the same body language in a nice blouse, designer jeans and heels...that'll get you stared at.

So if you're not sure what body language matches the kind of woman you are or want to be, it's worth asking, and then integrating whatever elements of it mesh with what comes naturally to you. Doing that isn't any more inauthentic than reading women's magazines or asking for makeup tips. (Can you imagine the catastrophe if women were just told to apply their makeup in whatever way came naturally to them?)

In answer to the original question, I never did quite figure out what I was supposed to be doing with my hands while standing still not carrying a bag. Carrying a bag greatly simplifies the question - I wouldn't do it, because purses symbolize womanhood to me, but obviously for you that's not a problem. An alternative if you carry a cellphone is to play with it. The main thing seems to be to try holding or playing with something, and not leaning on anything or sticking your hands in your pockets.
Yes to a point - but I feel you are actually slightly caricaturing what I said - which ironically was an appeal not to take things to extremes!

I reiterate my point is not that it is not helpful to think about such things (as in reading the mags) but that it becomes unhealthy when it becomes an obsession - that was the exact word that I used.

And yes of course you need to match behaviour to style and presentation - but that again WAS my point, all these different styles are out there - so what you need to do is find out which one matches your own nature and then be happy with that instead of trying to be something that you aren't.

Me - I'm a down to earth, practical middle of the road low maintenance sort of gal, not excessively anything, just your average.

iris1469

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2010, 10:42:16 am »

 I would HOPE that most people seeking to transition would not need to be taught to walk or hold themselves in a female way, because you should just do it naturally.
As always you are very insightful. But for me, you see I played the Role (man) for 30 years, and my stint in the Marines didnt help matters. And I am not worried about giving my transgender status away as anyone can just look at me and tell, it was just that i feel so darn awkward, and I was just looking for iddeas on arm position that  I could feel more confident in and that wouild not convey threatening or defensiveness......maybe im a little bit weird, no I AM weird so its ok

iris1469

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2010, 10:45:30 am »
But women don't perform femininity naturally. Especially not ones who aspire to be "ladylike." So much of femininity is a learned performance - how to stand, how to walk, what to do with your hands, how to speak, all are taught. Upper-class girls used to get sent to "finishing schools" to learn these very things. Now most girls learn from each other; they may behave in ways their mothers wouldn't deem entirely ladylike, but they aren't natural either - they're just learned in a different way.

It's true that these days, unless you're in your seventies or a British royal, you probably don't want to act like a "perfect lady." But you probably should try to match your mannerisms to your age, the way you dress, and the social class you want to portray. Sure, if you're wearing a tank top, fatigues, and combat boots, you could go ahead and have really masculine body language - cross your arms, lean against the bus stop with one foot up on the glass, spit and glare at passers by. Some girls do that. But the same body language in a nice blouse, designer jeans and heels...that'll get you stared at.

So if you're not sure what body language matches the kind of woman you are or want to be, it's worth asking, and then integrating whatever elements of it mesh with what comes naturally to you. Doing that isn't any more inauthentic than reading women's magazines or asking for makeup tips. (Can you imagine the catastrophe if women were just told to apply their makeup in whatever way came naturally to them?)

In answer to the original question, I never did quite figure out what I was supposed to be doing with my hands while standing still not carrying a bag. Carrying a bag greatly simplifies the question - I wouldn't do it, because purses symbolize womanhood to me, but obviously for you that's not a problem. An alternative if you carry a cellphone is to play with it. The main thing seems to be to try holding or playing with something, and not leaning on anything or sticking your hands in your pockets.

you are very well spoken and thank you...this helps....  :-*

rejennyrated

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2010, 10:51:13 am »
As always you are very insightful. But for me, you see I played the Role (man) for 30 years, and my stint in the Marines didnt help matters. And I am not worried about giving my transgender status away as anyone can just look at me and tell, it was just that i feel so darn awkward, and I was just looking for iddeas on arm position that  I could feel more confident in and that wouild not convey threatening or defensiveness......maybe im a little bit weird, no I AM weird so its ok
No you are not weird at all.

So - look at FEMALE marines for your role model - assuming you have them in the US - we do in the UK. How do they hold themselves and behave? Emulate them, and you remain true to yourself - only female Bingo - that will come across natural.

Offline kyril

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2010, 11:14:00 am »
No you are not weird at all.

So - look at FEMALE marines for your role model - assuming you have them in the US - we do in the UK. How do they hold themselves and behave? Emulate them, and you remain true to yourself - only female Bingo - that will come across natural.
Well, er, as a Navy veteran who served in a Marine command, I wouldn't entirely recommend this approach :) Female Marines and the Sailors who serve with them learn at least two or three completely different modes of behaviour - a "tough guy" act at work, a "tomboy slut" act for partying with the guys, and a "nice young lady" act for formal occasions, job interviews, and living out in the civilian world. There's no telling which of these is more authentic for any particular individual. But it's almost invariably the "nice young lady" you'll see after a Marine is discharged, and she's not at all analogous to the male Marine persona.



Rock_chick

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2010, 12:06:24 pm »
But women don't perform femininity naturally.

If I remember my Judith Butler and queer theory correctly, the entirety of gender is a performance. I think most gender cues are socially imposed rather than being innate and ,as Kyril said, are learnt, though maybe not in a conscious manner.

However, Jenny makes an excellent point, obsessing over perfection is not a good idea because perfection is an idea more than a reality and impossible to achieve and also it is very true that the more "perfect" an object is, the closer people will inspect it and scrutinise it and if you're put under such intense scrutiny chances are that you will be spotted. People expect flaws in other people so aim for 7/10 and you'll blend in fine.

Finally, probably the simplest thing you could do regarding body language is to look at your posture and the way you walk, body language and the way you hold yourself kind of follow. It does happen naturally (well I found it did for me at least) and is largely a case of feeling relaxed and confident about yourself and also finding your natural rhythm. It certainly won't hurt to people watch some GGs just to see how they move and walk. Don't try and imitate because it will look and feel forced and fake, just observe and learn to relax and you'll find that things just happen on there own.

Offline GinaDouglas

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2010, 12:57:08 pm »
But women don't perform femininity naturally. Especially not ones who aspire to be "ladylike." So much of femininity is a learned performance - how to stand, how to walk, what to do with your hands, how to speak, all are taught. Upper-class girls used to get sent to "finishing schools" to learn these very things. Now most girls learn from each other; they may behave in ways their mothers wouldn't deem entirely ladylike, but they aren't natural either - they're just learned in a different way.

This is really true.  Beauty is an illusion that one performs.  Pretty is natural.  I've never been called pretty, but I get called beautiful all the time.

To answer the poster's question:

Imagining myself in that situation, I'd have been standing on my left leg, with my right foot about a foot to the left, with the toe of the right foot a little farther back than the left heel.  My right hand would be open, fingers extended, with the back of the palm pressed firmly against the very top of my pelvis, from the right side towards the back.  My left arm would be straight down, covering where the front pocket of a pair of jeans would, the hand halfway closed.  As I waited, I would occaisionally shift my weight between three positions: Most of my weight on my right heel, weight evenly distributed; Weight evenly distributed between the ball of the right foot and left heel, leaning slightly forward; Weight mostly on the left foot, leaning a bit farther forward.  I would be consciously holding in my gut and curving my spine to lift my breasts.  I would be unobtrusively observing everything around me, more concerned with being aware of any potential danger than concerned with violating someone's space or privacy.
It's easier to change your sex and gender in Iran, than it is in the United States.  Way easier.

Please read my novel, Dragonfly and the Pack of Three, available on Amazon - and encourage your local library to buy it too! We need realistic portrayals of trans people in literature, for all our sakes

Lexine

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2010, 02:22:52 pm »
My opinion of this is that if we try to think about how to move in a lady like fashion too much, the more we can over complicate everything and start thinking about it like men. GGs where I live (Southern California) are pretty laid back, seem to not have a care in the world, and have huge variances of pose, posture, and mannerisms. It's because of this that I can express myself however I want without having to be lady like. In that same vein, I suppose you can observe GGs and see how they act in your area and study them. And don't worry if you seem to stare and they notice... girls check out other girls too.

For said situation in the OP, the first thing I'd ask if I see a girl with no purse is, "Did you forget your purse somewhere?" Even if you just stepped out to go get something at 7-11 really quick, a woman would at least be holding a wallet or a clutch purse on one hand if she didn't have a purse with her.

In terms of conveying confidence, you need not do anything else other than put your chin up, not looking down too much, and consciously thinking that you can rule the world. I think the last part helps a lot more since that ties in with your mannerisms and how you project yourself.

Hope these things help!

Offline GinaDouglas

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2010, 04:18:54 pm »
For said situation in the OP, the first thing I'd ask if I see a girl with no purse is, "Did you forget your purse somewhere?" Even if you just stepped out to go get something at 7-11 really quick, a woman would at least be holding a wallet or a clutch purse on one hand if she didn't have a purse with her.

It depends on what a woman is wearing, whether she would be carrying a purse.  Yes, some women always have their purse, but others take one when they need one.

And rarely ever do you see a lesbian with a purse.
It's easier to change your sex and gender in Iran, than it is in the United States.  Way easier.

Please read my novel, Dragonfly and the Pack of Three, available on Amazon - and encourage your local library to buy it too! We need realistic portrayals of trans people in literature, for all our sakes

Offline kyril

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Re: MTF Ladylike behavior and mannerism
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2010, 06:43:53 pm »
I literally never once in my life carried a purse, even in full girl mode, unless you count awkwardly standing outside bathrooms with my mom's purse held awkwardly in my outstretched hand like some sort of alien lifeform. Never used a bag or backpack as a substitute either - I just found a way to survive with what I could jam in my pockets.

One can survive as a woman even if one prefers not to carry purses...but it does complicate some issues, like what to do with one's hands (as well as where to put one's cellphone, keys, and other bulky things).



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