Many women will tell you that being told to smile is one of their biggest pet peeves, but somehow, some men remain clueless as to why this is so misogynist. It appears that the Republican Party chairman is a member of the ranks of men who think telling a woman to smile is an acceptable comment to make in 2016. Reince Priebus complained about Hillary Clinton not smiling in a tweet regarding her appearance at the Commander-in-Chief forum on Sept. 7. At this point in the game, when the presidential decision Americans are facing is between a well-qualified (albeit problematic) woman and someone I consider to be a fascist clown, it's laughable that someone would complain about whether or not a candidate smiles, and it's even worse when that complaint is couched in sexism.
There's a million reasons why men telling women to smile is terrible, and the notion that this "suggestion" is wrong and sexist is so widely-known; there's even a street art movement and documentary dedicated to this seemingly-innocuous request. When men tell us to smile, they are telling us to soften, to be pleasant, to make ourselves a little less threatening. Basically, they are telling us to give up our power to make them more comfortable — and at this point, no woman in the world is more powerful than Clinton. For Priebus to tell her to smile is for him to ask her to be less powerful which is, frankly, impossible.
Whether or not you support Clinton, it's worth noting the exhaustingly high incidents of misogyny leveled at her during this election, and Priebus' tweet is the icing on the disgusting cake that is the bigotry of this election. Priebus complained about Clinton not smiling and being "defensive" while his party's candidate spewed complete nonsense and referred to a "Middle East policy" plan that made no sense. Though honestly, if I were the head of the party that allowed Trump to become their candidate, I'd probably be reaching for straws, too.
Unsurprisingly, social media users came out in droves to respond to (and make fun of) Priebus' lack of filter, and their responses humorously highlighted the reasons why being told to smile is so frustrating — because even though it's a "suggestion," it's often given as a quasi-threat meant to put women "back in their place."
I'm no sociological researcher, but I'd say that women are told to smile hundreds of times a day, whether it's on the street or from behind a screen. There's plenty of stuff in the world to smile about — funny cat videos, the thought of Trump's face when the election results come in, basically everything Aziz Ansari has ever said — but when discussing military affairs and foreign policy, I think the smiling should be kept to a minimum. But what do I know? I'm just another humorless woman who could benefit from lightening up a little, just like the only person running who's actually qualified to be president.
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