Heidi Stevens: Constant Suggestions That Clinton Smile Are Offensive

By Heidi Stevens
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) I know it seems innocuous, but being told to smile is really offensive.  I was always told and continue to be told as a grown woman to “smile” by complete strangers on the street.  Somehow, I doubt my younger brother receives the same remarks. That is why this opinion piece by Heidi Stevens strikes such a chord.  If you support the empowerment of women, please read and think.

Chicago Tribune

Of all the annoying times a man has told a woman to smile, Joe Scarborough wins for annoying-est.

“Smile. You just had a big night. #PrimaryDay,” the MSNBC host tweeted Tuesday night.

About Hillary Clinton.

The woman running for president.

The woman who is well on her way to securing her party’s nomination for president.

The woman who would have rather serious business to attend to at that point, such as solving income disparity, curbing climate change, stemming gun violence, fighting global terrorism and uniting a country bitterly fractured by a vitriol-splattered election cycle.


It would almost (almost!) be funny if it weren’t so tiresome.

“I’m not outside for your entertainment, and I’m not seeking your validation,” Brooklyn-based artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh told Mother Jones about the message behind her public art series, “Stop Telling Women to Smile.”

Starting in 2012, Fazlalizadeh painted portraits of women above captions that read, “You Are Not Entitled to My Space,”

“Stop Telling Women to Smile” and “My Name is Not Baby, Shorty, Sexy, Sweetie, Honey, Pretty, Boo, Sweetheart, Ma.” The series travels to cities around the world and appeared in Chicago in 2015.

“Asking a woman to smile is to make her more approachable,” Fazlalizadeh writes on her blog. “It’s to make you feel more comfortable, not her. … There’s this weird responsibility placed on women to be happy and ladylike and pleasant all the time. It rids us of being able to express our own range of human emotions.”

It also makes it harder to be taken seriously.

And plenty about this presidential race is already hard to take seriously. If you’re looking for entertainment, it’s a little too easy to find.

If you’re looking for substance, stop telling the candidates, the lone female candidate, I should say, to smile.

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