Don’t Tell Me to Smile

Some white man at my job said, “Smile Sheena” to me today.

Me, as I walk over to him: Ok. You’re not supposed to tell women to smile. You don’t know that?

Him: Why?

Me: Because you don’t have the right to tell me what to do with my own face. That’s why.

Him: Well, I was requesting not telling.

Me: You don’t have the right to request anything of me either.

The “smile” thing enrages me so much because a man would never tell another man to smile. Because men don’t believe they have control over the facial expressions of other men. But they think they have control over the facial expressions of women.

Or they think they have the right to tell a woman to do something that will enhance their comfort. So much of the abuse of women by men is wrapped up in this idea. Even the Aziz Ansari story is.

If you’ve ever done this, please don’t do it again. It is SO patriarchal and it needs to stop. Now.

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