Stop telling women to smile || thought of the day

"Sometimes you look so unimpressed," a boy from my high school said. "Like it's kinda scary. You should smile more."

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 feelings

Here'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. :)
♡ Julia

20 comments

  1. YES YES YESSSS. I hate being told to smile. I don't know why so many people think that telling a stranger to smile is a normal thing to do. Ugh. So annoying. Bless you for this post.

    Amber - amberelb.com

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    1. I'm so glad you share my frustrations, ahahah. Thanks for reading, Amber :)

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  2. YES! I agree with all of this. You don't owe anyone a smile, you don't need to be happy or attractive all of the time, because no one is.

    - Natalie
    www.workovereasy.com

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    1. So true, Natalie! Thanks for your comment!

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  3. A huge yes to this post! I've been stopped by a stranger more than once on the street and they're told me I've dropped something, I ask what and they say "your smile".....it's so so frustrating! I actually wish that people would be more honest about their feelings as well and drop the fake smiles and the fake happy replies when as you said, you could be having an awful day!

    I always joke that when people at the shops say to me "Hi, how are you?" I'm going to just reply with a deadpan stare and say "awful actually, how's yours been?" because sometimes my days are awful and it's frustrating to feel like I have to lie to please strangers.

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

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    1. Hahah sometimes I'm so tempted to say things like that too. Because you're so right, we all have awful days sometimes! Why do we have to lie?
      Thanks so much for reading, Julia! Also I love your name ;)

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  4. I went to my cousin's birthday party last Saturday and the clown just said to the entire crowd that I looked so sad. I was totally embarrassed. If I could only tell the crowd that the party was too boring for me and that staying home was a better option, I could've but I have to pay my respect so I just stayed quiet.

    I also don't like smiling when I know deep down that smiling to that person would just make me feel uneasy and uncomfortable. How can I show a pretty genuine smile if I train myself to fake smile all the time?

    This inspired me to blog the whole experience of fake-smiling on my blog, Julia. Is it fine with you?

    Augustin Ra / Indie Spirit

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    1. That's totally fine with me!! And wow I'm sorry that happened to you.. I've had similar experiences of being called out in a crowd because I 'look sad.' Ugh why do people think that's okay?? Anyways, Keep on being you girl, smiling or not!!

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  5. Yes, women are pressured to always lighten up and apologize first. A woman CEO is always called angry, work obsessed and mean as opposed to ambitious and smart! Great post, have a great day.

    xo,
    I AM YASMIN

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    1. It's so true! I'm glad you enjoyed it, thanks for reading!

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  6. I agree so much! The fastest way to piss me off is to tell me to smile. Like, who the hell do you think you are? I am not an accessory there for your viewing pleasure.

    waltzandwillow.com

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    1. Hahah that is perfect and true. We are way more than somebody's smiley accessories.

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  7. Great post dear

    http://iameleine.blogspot.com/

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  8. Preach girl! I hate any comments on the way my face looks. Period. Unless there is a piece of food stuck on me or something - by all means tell me I have a slab of Nutella on my face. This is an awesome post
    Dora
    http://www.adropofindigo.com/

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    1. Thank you so much, Dora! And yeah, I agree. Comments about my appearance just make me mad and often overthink everything, whether they're good or bad. I'd be perfectly happy if nutella-on-face comments were the extent of it. ;)

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  9. I get this all the time. My resting face is really unhappy looking but I'm hardly ever mad. It's just my face!!

    www.thinkingofmakeup.com

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    1. So true! I'm the same, Emily. The world will never seem to understand, ahah. thanks for reading, girl!

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  10. What an amazing read from a wise woman, loved it and agree with you 100%.
    I really hate that line, my fiancé always tells me to smile in photos lol pisses me off. I like my straight face grrr. Thank you so much for sharing this with us! Dominica from London, www.its-dominica.blogspot.co.uk xXx

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  11. Thanks thanks and once again thanks! :) Such an inspiratonal post and so true. I'm glad I'm not alone who thinks like this.

    Lucie | www.inbluebox.com

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