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Men telling women to smile: Is it sexist?

January 22, 2019 GMT

Men telling women to smile: Is it sexist?

Food For Thought #StopTellingWomentoSmile #YesAllWomen #Equality #HumanRights— Rosalie (@RosalieBardo) May 26, 2014

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- If you’re female, you’ve been told to smile -- by your dad, your coworker, a random guy on the street.

Most of them don’t mean to be disrespectful. They just want to see you happy. But telling a woman to smile is a command that never feels good.

“Even in the most benign scenarios, it equates to asking a woman to change her behavior or appearance in order to fit what you think is most pleasant,” writes Karen Fratti on Hello Giggles.


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Men tell women to smile at the bar. Male officials tell women reporters to smile, after serious interviews. Male talking heads criticize women celebrities -- from Victoria Beckham to Nancy Pelosi -- for not smiling enough.

So what if we have resting b---h face? It’s our body. It’s our right. Just as you can’t tell us what to wear or how to wear our hair, you shouldn’t be able to tell us how to arrange our face. Women don’t go around telling men to smile.

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh started a public art series in cities around the world called Stop Telling Women to Smile. She calls it street harassment.

Buzzfeed compiled a list of snarky responses to shoot off when a guy tells you to smile.

But plenty of women just smile because they’re afraid of provoking the man who asked.

Contrary to what some commenters may believe, I smile a lot. But only when I want to.