Since there is so much interest in the topic of femininity I'd like to write more about it using Helen Andelin's Fascinating Womanhood as a guide. Last year I did a post about feminine appearance based on her book (for those interested, search the label Fascinating Womanhood), but she also devoted a whole chapter to the feminine manner and another one to the feminine nature.
Mrs Andelin points out that a woman can dress feminine, but if her manners and behaviour are not, it will produce a comical effect. She also explains that men find the feminine manner attractive since it forms contrast with their masculinity.
She gives practical advice about hands, walk and voice (don't gesticulate wildly, don't pound on the table, don't slap people on the back, don't walk like men do, avoid talking too loud, but also avoid mumbling or speaking in monotonous voice) and suggests reading aloud to improve one's manner of speaking (Fascinating Womanhood, pp. 256, 257, Bantam Books, 1992).
Another thing to be avoided is to laugh in masculine manner, such as roaring with laughter, and certain facial expressions, such as deep frown and hardness in the eyes. Mrs Andelin states that such unfeminine facial expressions often are a result of a harsh, overtly critical character and suggests working at improving both.
She also gives some hints on how to bewitch a man you love by the way you talk to him and behave (p. 258, 259).
Helen then takes on feminine conversation. She warns women against talking too much and being self-centered in their conversation (talking only about one's own children, husband, problems etc), because it's boring to other people. A woman shouldn't try to dominate the conversation or speak in a vulgar, crude manner, and she should try to avoid making catty remarks about persons she dislikes. A feminine woman will also show tenderness towards children and those less fortunate and avoid heated arguments (pp. 259, 260)
In my next post I'll discuss refinement and feminine wiles.