Living with Chronic Bitch Face by Kris Atomic
Something I have really started to notice recently is whenever post a candid picture of Gwen with a neutral expression on her face, someone always has to make a comment about her mood based on her appearance. “She’s so grumpy!” “She must be tired/need a nap/have just woken up.” “Why is she so serious?” But like…. THAT’S JUST HER REGULAR FACE. THAT’S WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE. She’s not mad or sleepy or cranky (if she was you’d know because she’d probably be yelling), she’s just existing in the world as a girl.
THIS IS JUST HOW HER FACE LOOKS.
I say “girl” specifically because something I HAVEN’T noticed are these kind of comments directed at little boys. Obviously I don’t post pics of any little boys because I’m not a mom to any, BUT I have been looking after little boys professionally for close to a decade. I literally can’t ever remember anyone saying something about their mood in the same way (unless they are actively throwing a fit) and I get the same remarks about Gwen’s emotional state from acquaintances and strangers in public as I do on pictures. I’ve also seen similar comments on photos of other children with neutral expressions, saying they look “sad” or “miserable,” and it’s ALWAYS little girls. Who knows, maybe this DOES happen with little boys, but the fact that people go around telling women to smile but not men kind of makes me think it doesn’t, or at least it isn’t as common.
Stop Telling Women to Smile by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh
So I’m curious: the people making these remarks: do you go around in your daily life with a maniacal grin plastered on your face 24 hours a day? Do you always look super cheerful no matter what you are doing: walking down the street, reading or watching tv, concentrating on a task, sitting quietly doing nothing? Do you never just allow your face to relax? If you do (of course you do; everyone does) does it bother you when people tell you to “smile” or “cheer up”? Can you live? Can Gwen? Why is it that little girls are supposed to look happy all the time? Is it because our society values women & girls only for their appearance, as decoration, as objects? Can we not start putting these expectations on children before they are even out of diapers? Can we stop telling girls to smile?