Put your hands up if you’ve ever been told any of the following, ‘Cheer up love’, ‘Smile’, ‘Turn that frown upside down’…. I wonder how it makes you feel? Well for me it’s infuriating to say the least. I suffer from a commonly know issue called Resting Bitch Face (RBF), it affects 1 in 8 women and is an epidemic spreading the globe*. Girls that don’t naturally have a smile on their face all the time, is an absolute travesty huh? How dare you not look smiley happy and like Belle from Beauty and the Beast all the time?
My main issue isn’t not that random strangers, colleagues, associates (I don’t say friends as no friends of mine would ever tell me to smile in a patronising way) are concerned for your well being and are trying to cheer you up, my issue is that I implore you to give me an example of when this has been said to a man. Can’t think of one, didn’t think so. Hillary Clinton Democratic US Presidential candidate for the upcoming election suffers a barrage of criticism, ‘she wears too many pant suits’, ‘how can we trust her’, ‘how could she stay with her husband after what he did’. Of course her smiling is one of these talking points, even going as far as Joe Scarborough (US TV Host) telling her to ‘Smile. You just had a big night.’ Luckily more and more feminist issues are being addressed in the very main stream media and Chelsea Handler dealt with this particular issue like a complete #girlboss by simply saying please stop asking women and girls to smile, in defense Clinton.
I had months of comments from a certain colleague as I walked through the office eventually resulting in a simple (even more) stern look and her finally getting the point that at 9.27am on a Monday morning the absolute last thing I want to hear is ‘Smile darling’. Sod off really, you have no idea whether I am thinking about what to have for breakfast or the well being of a family member.
To all those out there who insist on vocalising this to women and girls the next time you see one walking down the street not smiling, maybe just do something as simple as smile at them, no words, just a kind gesture and I’m pretty sure you’ll receive one in return. I smile when I’m with my friends, I smile when I’m decorating the Christmas tree, I smile when I’m having a braai** in the garden surrounded by my family and pets. So to Joe Blogs on the tube who thinks I need to smile more as ‘I’m prettier when I smile’, I’m alright with you not thinking I’m pretty at all then trying to please you sweetheart.
Smile for yourself girl and no one else.
: ) – Smiley Face
*FYI completely made up
**FYI South African term for BBQ