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Confident Body Language & Graceful Posing for Black Women

“Sit up straight! Get the hump out of your back”, my granny would say to me whenever she saw me sitting at the dining table exhibiting poor posture. It’s funny how those small life lessons, which once seemed like unnecessary scolding come back to us as useful pieces of information during adulthood. I can recall being sent to the nurse’s office in pairs during 7th grade P.E. to be checked for scoliosis, caused by genetic factors leading to uneven growth of the spine; I learned of postural scoliosis which is caused by poor posture but is reversible.

Then there was my dance teacher Ms. Stevenson, she would always stress the importance of standing straight, shoulders back, and using our core to lock in perfect pirouette turns. I did these things more so because I was told failing to realize then, how simple tips such as these were not only beneficial for my spinal health but aid in leading with my femininity. Our body conveys a message even when our mouths do not utter a word. This is seen in the manner in which we sit, walk, stand, hand gestures used, and poses. I’d like you to consider what your current body language says about you and if it is sending a message that represents what you wish to exude.

You may find that some of the body movements and poses that you display are simply done out of bad habit or innocently relaxing minding your business. An experience I’ve seen discussed on-line is how frequently Black women are accused of having an attitude for the lack of a constantly present smile or a hand on the hip; while I do not suggest that anyone change who they are to fit into someone else’s mold, I can acknowledge that body language is an actual indicator often used to project our internal thoughts and feelings.

In other words, it can be difficult to decode that a blank serious stare means nothing is wrong and backward facing hands on the hips doesn’t mean you are exhausted or ready to give someone “ a piece of your mind”. Check out these suggested poses which offer small modifications to some of the accustomed standing, sitting, and walking habits that can make you appear confident and graceful.

Confident Power Poses: Perhaps you are posing for a headshot or a quick photo opp at the dinner table of a social event; posing with your hand under your chin with your wrist facing inward appears as a sign of power whereas turning the wrist outward has a feminine appearance. Have a habit of putting your hands on your hips, then try placing your hands on your hip with your fingers facing forward, this presents a confident and energetic aura, sort of like a wonder woman stance.

Maybe you are unsure what to do with your hands while standing with a group of friends discussing the latest “happenings”, try putting all but your thumbs in your pocket. This avoids the nervous, fidgety, unsettling demeanor you may be projecting. Great posture comes with practice. Practice sitting with your back straight, walking gracefully ( no stomping), and become active in a form of dance or yoga. My granny would also tell me that implementing proper posture could help me avoid having to walk with a hump in my back when I reached her age, not sure if it’s factual but I am not trying to find out the hard way.

Positive Disposition: Always make eye contact when conversing. This reeks of confidence. It allows for the other person(s) to connect with what you’re saying and for you to make an influence during social interactions. Making eye contact was a personal struggle because I’d notice that whenever I attempted to do it many times the other person would shy away. Therefore, I would avoid doing so in order for others to not feel uncomfortable. But that wasn’t helping me improve my skill set so I continued to do so until it became a norm. I still have people that I encounter who avoid making eye contact; however, I remind myself that that has nothing to do with me.

Speaking politely whenever offered a product or service is classy and enhances femininity. A simple “Yes/No Thank You! Please! Excuse/Pardon Me”! Can go a long way in a society primarily ran through providing services. Maybe you are familiar with the saying “you can get more flies with honey, then you can with vinegar.” Being polite is timeless as this never goes out of style. Also, use your words while communicating. Avoid frequently saying, “Mmmhmmm, Uh Huh”, head nods, or shakes in place of words.

This could appear as though you are illiterate or incapable of articulating yourself. Now I am not referring to conversation indicators that are used to signify to the person talking that you are listening or engaged. This is for the moments when you are the speaker, providing answers to a series of questions, or being interviewed. My speech professor would refer to those words as “fillers”, she stated that the use of filler words is generally caused by our mind attempting to process our next thought or statement; therefore, we fill moments of break in speech with words such as umm, uh, and like.

Bad Habits Are Hard to Break: This is certainly true; however, it is a must in order to level-up. Some of the habits I have observed can use an expiration date as they do not serve us collectively. Ladies, the shoes are called slides because you are suppose to be able to slide your feet into the shoe when putting it on. Not slide all through the house, down the street to the store, to where we can hear the drag of your feet before even laying eyes on you. This tacky and sloppy. I touched on this a bit prior but stomping or walking hard is another habit.

My granny would say, “girl one day you are going to stomp so hard all of your insides are gonna fall out”. Again, I’m not sure whether there was truth to her theory, but according to some tips I found from a quick google search strengthening your feet and controlling your stride can eliminate stomping while walking. Instead of positioning all your weight into your heels, push off the back foot and roll into the next step. Walking slower can also help with this. The objective is not to make you self conscious that you over analyze simple things done regularly, but be open to minor changes that will improve your feminine persona.

A' Cylo ( ˈā/ˈsil/ lō) - “I am a writer with a passion for using my voice to speak on the issues many refuse. My hobbies include writing, dancing, and gardening. I'm a fan of all shades of blue; with a slight addiction to popcorn, chips, and salsa. I teach but more importantly I learn; continuously. Did I mention I'm a writer; and I'm serious about my content"?!

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