Monday, November 13, 2017

MEN: "Hey, bitch, try to smile!" (video)

Starre Vartan (MNN); I. Rony, Ashley Wells, Seth Auberon, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly

Who says you have to smile because a man wants you to? (Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock)
Like this, sir? Is this how you want me to smile, @$$hole? Should I practice more?
Why do men tell women to smile? It's a bizarre request, often coming from strangers.
Starre Vartan
If you're a female, odds are you've randomly been told to smile by a guy on public transport, some dude on the street, or even a man you work with.

It may have happened when you were out running errands or jogging, while you were deliberating on paint colors at the hardware store , or while waiting for your child outside the library. You've probably been prodded to produce a smile at times when you were thinking of other things and, almost certainly, when you were on your own. 
The fact that men tell women to smile (often it comes out as an order more than a request -- "Hey, gimme a smile!") is generally understood as an annoying part of sexism in our patriarchal country.

Armed with signs, catchy phrases, and a motivation to take #MeToo beyond the Internet to real life, hundreds of women, men, and children gathered Sunday among the sex shops and tourist traps of Hollywood Blvd. to protest sexual harassment (AP).
Smile? Why don't you take your...and shove it?
Sometimes it even happens at work where we have legal protections, at jobs that have nothing to do with customer service (where both male and female employees might be asked to project a positive demeanor). Take this Dear Prudence advice-column letter, for example:
"I’m a female lawyer on the brink of making partner at a midsize firm. When I asked what I needed to do to [make partner,] I was told I needed to smile more..."
Here's writer Adrienne Tam's simple and relatable story:
"As I was walking to work this week, a colleague passed by. I didn’t notice him because I was zombie-walking -- daydreaming while placing one foot in front of the other. He waved his arms in front of my face as I moved past him. 'Smile!' he said."
Kristen Stewart goes too far (HuffPo UK)
This "smile more" thing affects us all: from high-profile women like [transsexual] athlete Serena Williams (at a press conference) to frowning vamp Kristen Stewart to... every woman I know. I've been told by a man helping me at a store that he'd only answer my question or get the item I requested if I smiled. 

That has happened often enough that the last time it happened, I hardly noticed. When I was younger, I usually tightly smiled while looking embarrassed and demeaned (which is how I felt), but now I just raise my eyebrows in a "Really?" response. I don't get second requests. 
I know how to deal with this obnoxiously common query from men, but something I still don't understand is, "Why?"

It just seems so weird to demand something like a smile from someone you don't know -- or even someone you only know a bit. It's basically asking someone to rearrange their face to please you because you've told them to. More

Wisdom Quarterly (EDITORIAL)

My face muscles just don't work that way.
ONE ANSWER: In our sexist-patriarchal Western society, women have been controlled for a long time by being infantilized.

Females are put on stilts (high heels) so they can barely walk as they wobble, made to wear next to nothing, shaved all over just like an infant, to strive to look forever young and pleasing to please us ALL (males and females).

It's every bitch for herself, bitch
Females do almost as much harm to females as males. (Some say more harm because you expect it from males not from people in the same boat). An infant can't care for itself. It can't hold a job, go to college, drive a car, own property. It is property (chattel slavery)! How can it have its own bank account, use credit responsibly, and so on? It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Everyone fails at things, but not everyone attributes it to his or her gender.

I want my hot infant wife back. I paid for her!
This is even grown women are told to smile. Please us. Be "feminine," be "lady-like." It all means the same thing -- play your role. Be like an amusing and pretty infant, which means keep your mouth shut unless you're smiling or doing something else with that mouth (nudge nudge).

"Conditioned from the start and controlled from all directions, swamped by a normality that mustn't be questioned. Ignorance is only a form of self-deception. Are you not aware of a feeling of humiliation? Don't you have to sell yourself, keep on saying, 'sir'?..."

She is such a pretty girl
Her shape fits well into a mold
Her brain removed, her body's sold
She does exactly what she's told

He is such a brave young man
If his brain can't then violence can
His heart drained since life began
of the compassion it once had

Why go on living in the past?
We just uphold this sexual farce
If past is past is past is past,
Why go on living in the past?

If air to breathe is hard to find
in her tight mold she doesn't mind
She's made to believe she's one-of-a-kind
Her processed mind upholds the line

He in turn plays out his part
we tempted him with from the start
She in turn plays out her part
dictated to her by the past
- Farce EP, Rudimentary Peni

It's okay, it's just a sex robot. Men built it.
And those of us who bought into this scam before we were conscious of it, conscious of anything, long before we were 18, before we were even toddlers, have to struggle to decolonize our minds.

Sexism is like racism in this way; it has been internalized, so it's now not only coming from the outside. Worse, it's coming from the inside. We're doing it to ourselves, too!

They do it, we do it, and we get it form all directions. What's the job of an infant but to entertain, look pretty, and make everyone around ooh and aah.

Ironic: "Our Wedding" (Penis Envy by Crass/Eve Libertine "Bata Motel")

So smile, bitch. It makes us feel better when you smile like you don't mind being oppressed, like you don't mind being belittled, disregarded, dehumanized, cared for so you can't care for yourself.

Then any "cool" gal who plays into the inherent sexism of society at large will be rewarded bigly...but she has to throw others under the bus, sell out the rest of us to do it, all of us, males and females.

Males are not generally aware that they have been infantilizing females (they really think that's females' God-given hapless nature they're protecting) enforcing Judeo-Christian sexism, a rape culture, a hostile work environment, a horrendous patriarchy, the whole morass of social suffering.
All right, all right, you don't have to overdo it! Vampire Kristen Stewart smiles sometimes.

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