Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Fredericksburgh VA, Jacksonville NC, Los Angeles, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Portland ME, Richmond VA, Rutgers University, San Francisco
Why does everyone feel like it is their responsibility to make sure that I smile? I often get the, “smile for me, baby” comment from complete strangers on the street which is awful, and I wish they would leave me alone, but I almost feel that it’s worse when it’s from people (i.e. men) I know personally. It comes as more of a shock to me because once you know someone on a personal level, even if you are not exceptionally close, don’t you have to realize that they are not in fact robots who seek to please your every aesthetic need?
This article hit the nail on the head for me. It’s true that women don’t always look happy, and nor should they have to as they walk down the street, or to the bathroom, or to their sister’s wedding. Expecting me to always have a welcoming smile on my face is just another way of policing my body. I am not going to make myself smile, even if I am happy, merely so my scowl doesn’t offend you. Actually, my face can do whatever it wants. And yes, maybe I am mad, but as Kara Brown writes, there could be countless factors behind my facial expressions:
- I realized I left my cell phone at home
- I was just sexually harassed waiting for my train which happens to many women ON THE FUCKING REGULAR
- I’m thinking about some serious shit
- You’re staring at me and it’s GROSS
- I live in New York City and there are a myriad of inconveniences I have to deal with on a daily basis just to live a remotely normal life
- Or MAYBE just MAYBE there are an infinite number of completely legitimate possibilities for why I might be upset, all of which are none of your damn business because YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE SON.
No matter what the reason is, it’s not your business. And telling me to smile is not only a way to let me know that you don’t like what my face/body language is doing, but also that you feel you should have the right to control and change it.
Author comments are in a darker gray color for you to easily identify the posts author in the comments