Why do you tell women to smile? Truly, we want to know.
Is it because we seem like easy targets to you? Is it because you think you have some superiority over us? Or maybe it’s because you think that it’s a funny thing to say to lighten the mood or a way to hit on us? We’re sure you have many reasons—many of which are harmless in your eyes—but we’re going to need you to stop.
Before we get into this, let us give you some scenarios where you’ve told us to smile:
You should know at least one of these happens to all of us at least once a week.
We don’t know about you, but we don’t think any of these instances warrant a smile. You wouldn’t tell a guy to smile while he’s having his junk grabbed in front of the security line at the airport or while he’s lifting 300 pounds at the gym, right? No. You wouldn’t. Frankly, it would be quite odd if someone was smiling during any of those instances, but for some reason you have the audacity to tell us to smile like we’re your puppet.
You also probably have the audacity to tell us how to do other things too, right? Like telling us to stop being so reserved or timid. Or maybe you tell us to stop being so loud and outgoing.
You tell us that people don’t like shy girls. You tell us that people don’t like talkative girls. You say we shouldn’t be too skinny because you like something to grab onto. You say we need to lose weight because you don’t want to grab onto too much fat.
We shouldn’t have to change our facial expression for you not to feel threatened. We shouldn’t have to change our personality for you to respect us. We shouldn’t have to change ourselves for you to accept us.
Frankly, we don’t give a damn about your opinion.
You’re a friend, coworker, stranger, boyfriend, son, husband. You are neither above us nor superior. So why do you tell us to do these things? Why do you think your opinion matters when it comes to how we present ourselves or function on a daily basis? Well, we know one answer. You are completely oblivious to your microaggressions towards women. These are dangerous, harmful, and present a clear divide between us whether you mean it or not.
So in closing, we’re not asking you to stop doing these things. We are you.
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