“Smile, why don’t ya?”
If you’re a girl, you’ve probably heard that familiar line a million times. I’m always baffled when I find myself going about my day, minding my own business, and then being interrupted by random men with a strange sense of entitlement when they tell me to smile. This then makes us wonder, what would happen in the case where the roles were reversed and men were the ones being told to do something they didn’t want to? Men believe that women who smile are inviting, and yes, smiles tend to give off friendly vibes to strangers and friends alike.
The problem kicks in when men feel so empowered that they are willing to demand that a complete stranger, change her expression for his own satisfaction. When women fail to radiate happiness and manage a straight face, society notices. The act of smiling is an expression that makes others consider us friendly, approachable, and attractive. While this is great in situations when needed, such as during a job interview, at work, or during a presentation, it is not realistic to expect this of women 24/7.
As a woman, I can tell you that I don’t always want to look approachable. In fact, many of us purposely keep a straight face and look as unapproachable as can be, in hopes we will avoid unwanted attention. Ironically enough, this often backfires when still being approached, and being reminded of how “unfriendly” we look. Perhaps it’s my RBF, but I refuse to express happiness when I don’t feel the need to, and unless you have some way of fixing what may be a bad day, let us deal.