Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Stop Telling Women to Smile, or, "Chronic BItchface"


THIS. I've noticed this my whole life, and I know lots of other women have too. J. Victoria writes about it brilliantly, I wonder if black women get it more aggressively? Entirely possible. I do know that the absence of a vacant smile and the presence of a book in your hand can cause quite a stir in some males' psyches.

She raises many good points. Another one for me is that I can be perfectly content and even happy, and my outward countenance is not going to change in public. I think a lot of women learn early on to set their face in a neutral or even 'angry' expression to deter unwanted attention. Sad but true, at least for me. Part of it is defensive, part of it is 'chronic bitchface'.

Either way, as J. Victoria notes, I'm not telling anyone else how to look, feel or express themselves. It is unbelievably condescending to tell women to 'smile!' constantly. What the fuck for? I will smile when I goddamn want to. It raises my hackles every time. Thankfully as I get older it seems to be happening less. Either I've mellowed (doubtful) or no one gives a shit anymore if I'm smiling or not! Hallelujah.

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