By Monica M
Movement is the second of the four software skills after voice. As I have mentioned, Denae Doyle's DVDs were (in their day) the top of the range as far as movement was concerned. You would not believe how complicated and interconnected a genetic woman's movement pattern is (well, you would, because like me you have studied the movements of women all your life, but studying and replicating are very different). It is a form dancing really.
Denae takes you through very useful exercises which you would not ordinarily think about. For example, how you get in and out of a car while you are wearing a skirt. Putting on and taking off your coat. How to carry a purse correctly. How to put on or take off a shawl. How to sit down and stand up from the chair in a restaurant. Opening and closing a door. She covers these and many more situations in her DVDs.
However, you really need to prepare your body to be able to carry out these movements. Men's bodies tend to be stiff and linear. Women tend to be flowy and curved.
To get your body to naturally move more like a woman, you need two practices (in my opinion). First you need to be in touch with your body and this comes from practices like those in the Art of Feminine Presence (more later). Then you need to move your body in a fluid or dance-like way and this is where dancing (waltz, tango, etc.) and soft martial arts like Tai Chi really help.
Great exercises, which really help your muscles to start acting in a feminine way can be found on Lucille Sorella's website. I practice these and do Tai Chi most days. Women tend to cross the center line of the body with their arms and legs much more so than men. You need to get your muscles used to this and to moving in a much slower way. Danae says that you should move your arms as if you are under water, that is, the correct speed and manner.
In my opinion, it is important to get into the correct mind set as regards the movements of your body when en femme (and again the Art of Feminine Presence greatly helps here). If you do not, then you are going to feel stupid as you move and walk like a woman. If you feel stupid, your confidence will leak away and you will get read very quickly and feel miserable. Denae has a phrase, “as soon as the wig goes on, you act, think and move like a woman.” My version of that “go female or go home!”
The most difficult practices, I have found, are eating and drinking like a woman. It seems to be particularly hard to break these habits.
Woman put less food on the fork and they put the fork down to rest much more than men. They don't bend down to the food or to the menu when they are reading it.
And, my personal bug bear, what to do with my hair when I am eating. Some part of it usually ends up in my food. It won't tuck behind my ears neatly and it looks kind of weird holding it out of your food with one hand, especially when your hands are as big as mine. Maybe I need to find some kind of hair slide or clip that I use only when eating.
If I do use something to hold up my hair, I will need to practice exhaustively for it to become second nature. Nothing feels more artificial than when you do something with your hair or with your clothes that you have only practiced a few times and then you compare how a genetic woman who has repeatedly done this action for years.
(Part 11 of One Person’s Journey to Womanhood appeared here.)
Wearing Anne Klein.
Officer Dibble femulates in a 1961 episode of Top Cat.