smile, you bitch: being a woman in 2015
Nora McInerny Purmort
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Recently I was accosted by a young man while leaving a store who said, “Oops! You dropped it!” While I searched the area around me to see what I had dropped, I asked, “dropped what?” to his response, “your smile”. I grimaced and gave him a sideways look to indicate that I was onto him and didn’t immediately figure out why I felt so ICKY about the exchange — but you have nailed it here; I was being bullied by a young punk who was throwing his weight around in what some might say was charming (BTW — HE didn’t smile at ME!!) It sure didn’t FEEL charming but was more of a threat and show of power: “see? I can MAKE you smile, whether you want to or not!” Men do NOT get to force us to smile for any reason. Thank you for articulating this so powerfully, Nora.