"People go to the movies instead of moving! Hollywood characters are supposed to have all the adventures for everybody in America, while everybody in America sits in a dark room and watches them have them! Yes, until there’s a war. That’s when adventure becomes available to the masses!"
The other day, I was upset about something. I was walking home, and I was upset, and I was thinking about why I was upset, when suddenly a car honked at me while I was crossing the street. When I looked up, the driver, a middle-aged man, made a gesture with his hands towards his mouth that meant: SMILE! Without even thinking I immediately obeyed and smiled at him.
As I kept walking, I got progressively angrier about what this man had asked of me, and even more so about my instinct to just smile when I’m told to smile. Why can’t I just walk down the street and be upset? Why did this man feel it was his right, or even his duty to tell me to smile? Why did I smile?
I’m a really emotional person and I’m rarely able to hide me emotions. My face always gives me away, so this is not the first time a male stranger has told me to smile. Why is this a thing? Are these men just trying to be nice, or caring, or is there is something more to this need some men have to make women smile? Do female emotions other than happiness make them uncomfortable? Or is it because showing emotion is seen as a weakness, and weak people need strong manly saviours to help them?
As I said before, I’m a really emotional person, AND I’m also a really strong person. What makes me strong is that I feel my emotions. What makes me strong is that I don’t always smile to make others more comfortable. So to all these nice guys worried about my frowns, I would like to say: I don’t need you to save me from my emotions. I’m fine.
So ladies, don’t smile, just because they tell you to. But don’t just take my word for it, check out this is an amazing art project about it by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh called Stop Telling Women to Smile.
“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations