Thursday, November 20, 2014

How Get A More Feminine Gait

How Get A More Feminine Gait I have had this post up for a while but for some reason I do not have the opposite article for my trans male friends. Rather then rewrite the entire article I just want to invite them to read this one and apply the information in an appropriate way.

That being said, back to the topic at hand...

I just read a post on another trans woman's blog that was mostly concerned with this individuals ability to walk like a woman with a butt "wiggle". I remember in the beginning of my transition, I was also concerned with this so I decided to write a post here about this topic and offer my insights and research. Before I get to this however, I want to start out with a general disclaimer:
Like many of the behaviors we as trans woman would like to assimilate into our own lives, I think we must be both realistic and weary of own motives when deciding how and what to change. Also know that there isn't any one thing that we can do to prove we are a real woman... This includes how we walk. Also note that I am not an expert. This is simply my insight and my opinion on the matter.

With this in mind I will continue...

Now as some people might know, I am all about research. If I do not know something I look it up. This is exactly what I did in this case. Like many trans women, when I started my transition I wanted to find ways to appear more feminine and one of these things I figured I could easily fix was the way I walked.

After my initial attempts in emulating what I thought to be a more feminine gait, I was a bit disappointed and found that my efforts came off as contrived. Furthermore I realized that these attempts only perpetuated an image that I definitely wanted to avoid, that I was a gay man. This initial disappointment lead me to research a few things to see if I could get it right. First I wanted to know if it was even possible and second, how to do it. I spend a great deal of time watching people at the local Mall and I also examining data I gathered on the skeletal differences between men and women. I found quite a few studies that have been done specifically on the differences in the way men and women walk. All of this observation and research gave me a few answers and highlighted exactly what I was doing wrong and what I could do to change it. Now I would like to share this with you.

High Heels

I love high heels... I dear say I have a small problem in this department, but still be aware that there isn't to much more ridiculous than watching someone walk in super high heels when they do not really know how to. It is also a good way to turn your ankle! So while strutting your stuff looks hot and a nice pair of heels can certainly make your legs look wonderful, this is not a short cut to walking like a woman! I have a post with some tips on walking in heels if you do want to learn.

Physiological Aspects of the Female Gait

The first thing to realize is that there is a huge skeletal difference between men and women then the size, shape, and positioning of the pelvis. The main one we are concerned with here however is which of these differences results in the typical female hip sway. This may get a bit technical...

For this we must look at how the head of the femur (thigh bone) sits and moves in relation to the position of the socket on the hip called the acetabula. For a detailed explanation I will simply quote a section of a book I found called "Mind — Primary Cause of Human Evolution":

"[W]hen walking the more lateral position of the hip joint in the male means that the leg can move forwards and backwards in one plane. On the other hand, the more anterior angled position of the hip socket in the female means that the leg must swing forward and inward, then as it moves back the femoral head must pivot slightly so that the leg can swing back in another plane."

While the action may be a bit complex the important thing to know is that the pivoting of the femur in the hip socket which is unique to females is what accounts for the typical female hip sway. So while some woman certainly do enhance their "wiggle", what they are doing is exaggerating an already natural movement. Knowing this and the fact that neither hormones nor surgery can alter skeletal changes set at puberty it becomes clear that while you can change the way you walk, you cannot change the way your hips interact with your legs.

Also realize that not all women are not the same. There is a wide variety of natural variation in women's hip sizes and the amount they sway their hips to being with. Taking all of this into account I concluded that the ability to replicate a feminine hip "wiggle" is limited for male bodied transsexuals and may be unnecessary. I say unnecessary because not only are there cissexual women who do not sway their hips, but also simulating the hip movement is not the only way to produce a more feminine gait.

Men and Women Have Different Natural Postures So Naturally They Walk Differently

Now that I have explained why faking a hip sway looks fake, I would like to share below a bit about what does work (or has worked for me). After the realization that the negative consequences of over doing it far outweighed the potential benefits, I decided to go back to the drawing board and research some more about gender differences in the way we walk. This is when I stumbled onto a bit of information about the differences in our postures.

I have to say that the best way to understand the concepts I am about to talk about is through simply watching others... I really do suggest you go out and people watch. Sit at the mall or walk around a grocery store and compare how men and women walk. Also watch how men and women sit, you'd be surprised what you can learn from that as well.

Less Hips, More Shoulders

What I learned, was that typically men walk with their shoulders forward in an almost hunched posture. This cause their elbows to pivot outward and gives them the appearance they are more aggressive (which may be evolutionary). Conversely, most women walk more upright with their shoulders back and elbows inward. This posture gives a softer more relaxed look. Adapting this later posture was for me far more achievable and posed less risk of looking fake. Once I was able to do this comfortably I found that it also enhanced other feminine actions that I already did naturally, one of these things was ironically a slight hip sway!

For a really good look at the differences in posture and how it relates to how men and women walk check out this link:

http://www.biomotionlab.ca/Demos/BMLwalker.html


Resources


Merry, Clare V. (2005). "Pelvic Shape". Mind — Primary Cause of Human Evolution. Trafford Publishing.
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4 comments:

IWASNTBLOGGEDYESTERDAY said...

I have noticed my daughter now walks slower, no longer has the "heavy footedwith a purpose" walk.You are right about the shoulders and elbows, I've noticed and it does work.

Josie T-girl said...

You are so right. Me, I've had the 'feminine' walk all my life. Even back in school. Over the years I tried to exaggerate my way out of it, during my internal wars with who I was/expected to be. Finally I realized ... I am who I am. So the walk, the gait has been back for many years now. No longer fight it. I do wear baggy pants caus the wiggle is fairly noticeable ... I've even bee complimented on it. I know your last sentence says volumes. Watch, look and imitate!

Anonymous said...

I literally read this today, janurary 8th, 2014, 4 months into hormones wanting to have this sync better, as it's definatly hard to mimic. I appreciate the indepth insite.

Anonymous said...

Mar 2014.
Hi, So really pleased to read this because when I was 11 I was told by my peers not to walk like a girl, and I kinda stopped. A year earlier coming back out to myself I realised my shrink was silly telling me to wiggle my hips because I had none for wiggling, so I decided I should be focusing on foot placement elbows and muscle use on my legs to try and 'glide' walk, and now a year later my wife told me yesterday that I walked like a women. (She's not too happy, of course). Reading this reinforced how I've adapted myself. Funnily I try to minimise my feminine walk when with my wife because she's not too thrilled with me being trans, obviously. Nine to less she gave me an unintentional compliment :)
Ciao, soph'

PS. If anybody wants context I'm 43 and started hrt 6 months earlier