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#SorryNotSorry: I Don’t Have to Smile All the Time

Via Giphy

“Why don’t you smile more?” “You’re prettier when you smile.” When people say these lines do they think it’s going to actually make us start smiling? I remember a time I was at my lifeguarding job and two men in their 30’s came in to swim. I was just sitting there, doing my job and minding my business, when one of the guys loudly exclaimed, “Why don’t you smile? What is there to be sad about? Be thankful you have a job!” Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful I have a job, but what exactly am I supposed to be smiling about in this exact moment? I’m literally just sitting there, watching the water and concentrating. I’m sure most people would say that it’s not that deep. I really wasn’t always offended by it, but the more I’ve heard it the less I’ve become tolerant of it.

We’ve come a long way with equality, but we still have a long way to go. There is a term for women whose default face is a frown: “resting bitch face.” Men don’t seem to have a title like this, though. So why are women obligated to smile more, and if they aren’t they’re considered bitches?

Half the time, the smile request is from strangers when we’re zoned out and thinking to ourselves. It’s so bizarre to me that one would say something so obnoxious to someone they don’t even know. It feels very objectifying and it’s very uncomfortable to figure out how to respond. If I smile, then it’s like I’m doing what I’m told, but I also don’t want to just roll my eyes and look like a bitch. Which there lies the problem. Women are socialized to believe that they have to look, think and act like they are told to.

It seems like something that wouldn’t need to be talked about anymore because of how far we’ve come, but sadly a lot of men haven’t gotten the clue. Sorry, not sorry, I don’t have to smile for you. And it’s not because I’m mad or have a bitchy face, I just don’t feel like it.


Molly Feser

George Mason University '18

Molly is a Communication major with a concentration in Journalism at George Mason University. She loves Broadway, iced coffee, and The Office. She is also a sister of Alpha Xi Delta on campus. After she graduates she hopes to be an entertainment journalist.
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