Us women are no strangers to cat-calling. Common forms of this include whistling and shouting, but I am much more familiar with another form of this that comments on someone’s emotions rather than their physical appearance.
It has become almost a daily occurrence for the sophomore boys to pass me in the hallway or look at me in class and chuckle while saying, “Smile more!” What these boys do not understand is that the night before, I probably only got about four hours of sleep. I also am not a morning person so the idea of waking up at 5:45, getting on a bus at 6:23 and arriving at school at 7:15 isn’t something that necessarily puts me in a mood to smile. Secondly, just because there isn’t a smile plastered on my face 24/7, doesn’t mean I’m not happy. School can be physically and mentally draining and nobody needs to be constantly reminded of how tired or angry they look.
This doesn’t just happen at a middle, high school or even a college level, but at the national level as well. Just this previous election year, there were countless comments thrown around on how stone-faced Hillary Clinton always looked. She was constantly poked at for remaining composed due to the fact that she was simply doing her job. If she had been smiling during every campaign stop, would she have been taken more seriously as a candidate? No, because then she would not have been considered to be serious about the struggles facing America that she aimed to fix.
It is not our job as women to put on a smile everywhere we go so we don’t seem too unapproachable. If you see us walking through a school hallway and we look worn out or tired, we’ve probably had a long day or maybe we are just trying to get to class. No one likes to have their flaws or any negative characteristics pointed out as well as whether they look “happy” or not. I don’t have to look happy for you. Frankly, I believe these comments would be better if they didn’t exist at all.