Performative Femininity

Class Outline

Why and How Femme?

This is not your average “Ladies’ Etiquette” class. On the contrary, I’m not here to tell you that this mode of being is “correct” or even optimal. Exemplifying traditional femininity is a behavioral skill like any other, one that can be practiced and maintained, or eschewed entirely. I do not always choose to appear traditionally feminine, but it is a skill that I have developed to the point where I can specifically use it to my advantage in situations both personally and professionally. I believe that to seek to truly understand how portraying these characteristics affects the people around you, is to gain control over the conscious decision in how you are projecting yourself in any social environment.

What do I mean by “Traditional Femininity?” While femininity takes on many awesome, badass, strong, and pointed presentations, today I want to tackle aspects that live on the far end of the spectrum. I want to look at the soft, vulnerable, Jane Austen, Audrey Hepburn, hollywood style feminine. Femme behaviors that capitalize on communicating the desirably demure, the coy, and the subtle. Mastering these performative traits can help communicate how you want to be approached, and can also be used as a fantastic foil to more aggressive performative traits. To truly appreciate the dynamics behind fortissimo, you must appreciate and understand pianissimo.

Basic principles of movement:

Curved and closed: Look for the “S.” A traditionally feminine figure is lauded for its curves. The more you use your body posture in any motion to emphasis a curve, the more feminine you will appear.

*Of note* The feminine posture is not always (In fact is seldom) utilitarian. It is very easy to hurt yourself while training in these postures and they are not to be used for lifting heavy things or executing most athletic activities.

Vulnerability: To be traditionally feminine is to give an air of vulnerability and of yielding. An easy way to communicate this is with the subtle use of the most vulnerable parts of your body. These are the parts of you where the most vital parts of your body live and are least protected. Neck, wrists, side ribs, inner thigh. The first three will be instrumental in parts of communicating a more traditionally feminine demeanor.


Applied Principles


To achieve a feminine standing posture, settle your weight fully into one hip and focus on relaxing and applying your full weight into that hip joint. This should make you hip jut out to the side and your opposite knee bend. In order to stay balanced, your shoulder on the side of the bent knee will rise and your opposite side will contract. This will create the desired “S” shape along the central architecture of your body, emphasizing the appropriate curves. In fine art, this posture is called “Contrapposto.” “Contrapposto [kontrapˈposto] is an Italian term that means counterpose. It is used in the visual arts to describe a human figure standing with most of its weight on one foot so that its shoulders and arms twist off-axis from the hips and legs” (Source:

Extra credit: tilt your hips back slightly to increase the curve at the base of your spine, emphasizing your butt.

Hair flips and tucks

Since long hair is traditionally feminine, manipulating your hair emphasizes a feminine aspect of any person.

Hair flip: The wind up, then the final flick. Every hair flip has a beginning slower trajectory that is then emphasized by a final quick motion, much like a whip. This one takes practice, care, and some special time with a mirror. Be careful, I have *actually* given myself whiplash with hair whips before. No lie.

*optional final posture of tilting face downward while looking up to emphasize the “Big Eyes” look*

Finger comb through with optional hand landing around the neck

Hair tuck: Execute the majority of the gesture with your middle finger, allowing the rest of the fingers to relax. After the finger passes behind your ear, flip your palm out in a fluid motion to show the sensitive inner wrist.

Touching your face

Have you ever noticed that very feminine selfie takers are often touching their face? The face can be a very useful tool, but you have to be careful with what you’re trying to communicate.

While resting your head in your hand, have one finger absently trace the corner of your mouth. If you can do this inconspicuously enough, it gives your target a subtle underlying interest in what else your mouth could do. A great way to keep it less conspicuous it is to make sure you are not making eye contact while your finger is there. Doing it conspicuously can apply a bit of a sexual shock to a situation, though, so you better be very confident in your target’s willingness to be in a sexualized situation with you. Done sloppily, this is a huge turn off.

Gently and calmly touching your neck can draw attention to your sensitive, sensual, and vulnerable neck area, an absent stance with crossed arms and a casual hand at the base of the throat can be very subtly sensual. *Important things to note* This must be done simultaneously with a shoulders-back posture, otherwise you will look insecure with your hands barring access to your body. Having your hands on your neck for a lengthy period of time with full palm is a protective gesture and communicates that you may be feeling threatened. This is not the desired message.

Never cover your mouth. You will automatically start broadcasting insecurity, like you’re trying to catch errant words coming out that you didn’t intend.


     -Creating an illusion of “yielding” or “melting” into touch.

Wherever you target touches you, envision that touch melting into your body in the direct locations and rippling outwards. More simply, emphasize whatever curve of your body they happen to be touching. If they place their hand on your lower back, tilt your ass back slightly to emphasize the sexuality of an arched back. If they touch your side, open your ribs to them slightly to give them your vulnerability. If they touch your arm, open your wrist to them slightly to close off your posture for a more demure stance, while simultaneously offering vulnerability.

    -Batting your eyelashes

Does actually refer to repetitive motion of the eyelashes, rather, it’s actually a quick glance up from downward facing facial posture. To bat your eyelashes, cast your eyes downward (feeding into a demure and vulnerable posture), then very quickly look up at your target, then down again. The same movement can also be executed from a side glance as long as the motion of the eye swoops downward first.


Closed posture, focus on taking up as little space as possible without shrinking into a hunched posture. Emphasize the “S” shape wherever possible.

Crossing your legs isn’t a must, but they should be close by each other. One thigh can rest on another, they can cross at the ankles, or they can be side by side. Knees should never splay open.


Women tend to walk upright with their shoulders back and elbows inward (Tits out).

To achieve the subtle hip wiggle: Using the Standing posture where you settle fully into a hip, focus on relaxing and applying your full weight into that hip joint. When you step forward, focus on settling your whole weight onto the next hip joint before taking the next step.

Another method: As you walk and settle your weight, think about drawing horizontal circles with your hip. Start out with a very exaggerated style, then slowly relax into a very subtle circular motion.

The next level: Roll your shoulders back split time, like you’re doing the backstroke with just shoulder blades. Every time to step forward, the opposite should roll back. Again, start with a very exaggerated gait and then slowly pare it down until it’s a very subtle emphasis of the “S” shape and a tiny but consistent arch in the back. Basically, your body is recreating the contrapposto shape with every step you take.

Selfies and Photos

This could be a class unto itself, but here’s a few quick tips and pointers for getting a look that says what you want it to say.

Looking upward with face tilted downward makes your eyes look bigger.

Taking the photo from slightly above you is always a more flattering idea.

Standing with a sideways twist emphasizes or creates a thinness in the waist, which contributes to an hourglass shape. Use in concert with a back arch to show off boobs and booty at the same time.

Face touching is a usable tool, though all rules still apply! You can get more aggressively sexual with a thumb or finger grazing relaxed lips. This one takes a lot of practice to get right, though. When done incorrectly, you wind up looking stupid or crazed. Ask me how many discarded selfies I have. So many.

If you’d like to take a selfie without holding the camera, prop your phone up on a nearby surface, point the forward facing camera and start recording a video. Go through a number of poses and experiment with composition and positioning. When you play the video back, pause it whenever you see a still that you like (make sure that you tap the tracking line out of the way), then screenshot the image. On an iPhone you press the middle button and the side button at the same time and the screen will flash. You can them go through your stills and edit/crop/filter what you like.


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