Why I hate it when you tell me to “smile”

You’re walking down the street, absorbed in your own thoughts, when suddenly a man stops you and tells you to smile. For him, it’s nothing – he thought it was a nice day, you didn’t look like you were enjoying yourself, and he took it upon himself to brighten you up. For you, however, it’s just one more incident in a long line of things telling you that you don’t own your body, that you exist for other people’s pleasure, and that conformity and pleasing others is more important than whatever you personally feel or think.

(Yes it’s an old link. Whatever, deal with it.)

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3 thoughts on “Why I hate it when you tell me to “smile”

  1. The only proper reason to accost strangers walking down the street is to prevent injury or a crime or something similar. I can’t forgive putting people on the spot, especially when it’s a sort of hobby. Cheerleaders are annoying, although I didn’t think that during my early adolescence. I had to grow out of it.

  2. GAH. Yep, I got that most of my life, that “smile!” command-thing, from strangers. It’s annoying on so many levels. I used to actually try to “explain” myself to them. Yes, to total strangers. “Oh, well, I’m not smiling because I was thinking about something else and … ” Then I got to the point where I didn’t bother. Now I’m at the point where no one says it to me anymore. They changed, not me. It’s just interesting, is all, that it happened when I was younger, then lessened as I aged, and now it never happens anymore, at all. Huh.

  3. I once had a guy (no, not someone I was dating or anything) tell me to “smile,” because it would “make [me] more pleasant to look at.” My response was, “I don’t have to look at myself.”

    Some people smile as a default expression. I don’t. It bugs me that people have a problem with that. My default expression is neutral mouth and slightly furrowed brow – I’m THINKING. Maybe people are threatened by other people who look like they’re thinking.

    I’ll smile when I have a reason to smile – like if I see someone I actually like coming down the street.

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