Politeness—or civility, refinement, propriety, ton, gentility, or good breeding, as it was often referred to—was a performative practice that aimed at producing normative female bodies, but also offered women potential for agency and freedom. Politeness was also a set of cultural codes used to create group identity and individual identity, both on a national and transnational level. In other words, it had a strong cosmopolitan aspect, while paradoxically also being used to construct English national identity by fashioning it as sincere, honest, and open instead of opaque and dissimulative.