Have you ever been told to smile, or told that you're too serious? From 'bitch face' jokes to catcalls to friendly, well-meaning professors who tell you "you're too serious! I want to see your smile!" this is just another expectation of how we've got to behave. Is it a crime that I'm not happy all the time? Is it a crime that sometimes my face muscles just want to relax? Is it a crime that I don't always fake-laugh at some guy's totally un-funny joke? I know people are somewhat kidding when they say these things (and they say them a lot), but even if it is a joke, the nature of the joke is kind of annoying to me. So I'm going to use this blog post opportunity to explain why.
It discourages people from being honest about their feelingsHere's the truth: nobody's happy all the time. Not men, not women, not anybody. So reinforcing the idea that we always need to be cheerful and pleasant and 100% welcoming also reinforces fake-ness. It's the thing that makes us say "I'm good, how are you?" when we're really not good. It's what causes us to guard our bad feelings from our loved ones. Because in a world that views 'happiness' as the ultimate goal, not being happy feels like it's own type of failure. When we feel like we need to constantly be smiling, it stops us from being honest and open about the other, not-so-happy emotions.
You rarely hear people telling men they need to smile.This is just a simple fact. Nobody ever tells men they're 'too serious' or 'need to lighten up' or are 'scary' because they aren't smiling. The world is used to serious men; in fact, they're expected to be that way. They're expected to be tough and hard working while women are expected to always be sweet, polite, and welcoming. Telling girls to smile more or be more lighthearted may seem like a harmless comment, but it represents something deeper about how we view powerful women versus how we view powerful men.
Why is it my job to validate you?
So there are definitely times when smiling and small talk are important and uniting tools; when we're supporting and welcoming the people we want to support and welcome. But what if there's somebody you don't want to support, who's making offensive jokes or not supporting others? Women don't have to be professional approval-givers. We don't have to laugh politely at things that aren't funny or say 'sorry' for things that aren't our fault. We are allowed to disagree and frown and walk away. And we don't always need to explain ourselves.
Sometimes I'm too darn busy
The truth is, we are too darn busy for any more of society's bananas expectations. We've got stuff to do, and people to see. You don't need to waste your time with the haters and the 'why don't you ever smile?'-ers. Smile and laugh at the things you want to smile and laugh at. You don't have to be happy all the time, no matter what some random guy tells you.
Anyways, this was one of my many thoughts of the day. I've been feeling like a girlboss lately, and I want to spread the feeling around the blogging-sphere a bit. I think it's a good, powerful feeling to have. Keep on keeping on, and have a nice week. :)