Smile! [rant/disc]

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Post by Guest on Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:39 pm

Today, I was really happy. I was out, Walking While Female, and thinking about a Happy Thing. And I was smiling with genuine happiness as I walked, my eyes on place where the floor met the wall ahead and to my right. And a guy I was passing stopped me to ask what was so funny, in a faintly aggrieved voice.

And it made me think about all of the times (hundreds) someone has told me to "Smile!" as I passed them, and how rarely anyone actually smiles in reaction to anything but a direct stimulus. I smile when I hear/see/think something that makes me happy. I don't smile all the time. No one smiles all the time.

And it made me realize -- when a man tells me to "Smile!" or says, "You should smile more!" or "Smile, it's not that bad!" what he is really saying is, "I am here, and yet you have not acknowledged me in your socially-approved way. You have not smiled AT ME."

I have always before thought of the, "Smile!" guys as saying, "You are decoration, and you are more decorative when smiling," but I think what they are really saying is, "I demand the acknowledgement of an expression saying 'I am happy to be in your presence.'" I don't know if it's more or less gross, but it was a perspective shift.

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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:05 pm

I run a lot. I'm not especially great at it and my running posture is honestly probably kind of weird 'cause the last time I had a running coach I was a foot shorter and I had bad posture then. But I dislike the feeling of extremely slow progress that comes with walking between mundane locations (hiking works for me, but I still prefer a faster-than-average pace). I like going fast-ish.

It didn't really occur to me until yesterday, but when people yell at me to "yeah keep running you can do it" or "run Forrest run" or whatever, that's...not too different from what you're describing. At least, my mental reaction includes feelings like "who asked you" and "why do you even care". This happens much less often now that I'm not in high school or college anymore, but I suspect that has more to do with most of my witnesses being in cars instead of loitering around outside dorms and classrooms, and thus being harder to hear while I'm...running.

(Might also be worth mentioning that I don't even own "running clothes" and I don't do it for exercise; I run to get somewhere, which probably means that the way I view my running and the ways other people view me when I'm running each differ from the "normal" response in different ways.)

I've been interrogated about my facial expression before, too, but mostly at things like parties/gatherings if I forget to act Excited and/or get distracted by some totally unrelated thoughts. I haven't gotten the "Smile!" thing, but there is generally some implication of "why aren't you acting happy right now?" Ironically, the only times I've been told "you look lonely" have been when I wasn't feeling at all lonely, and was just enjoying watching some of my friends dance with the people who dance.
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Post by Guest on Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:17 pm

It's a validation thing, I think.

I dunno, fellas can get pretty weird in regards to their rather awkward attempts to dominate women.

Story from last night that sorta relates to this?

I was at a friend's apartment watching a movie (Fury starring Brad Pitt, pretty freaking good), and this friend's ex also happened to be there. She's cute, blonde, dressed very nicely in this cute blue dress that showed off her legs (and the girl admittedly had a really nice pair of legs, I think she caught me staring at one point...oops).

Anyway, said friend hadn't quite gotten over her yet, and had made awkward attempts throughout the evening to get her attention. Another friend was there, this was a big buff military dude (though a few inches shorter than me). This guy takes a liking to Blonde Ex as well, and the two routinely begin trying to snuggle with her when the other one isn't paying attention. One would go to the bathroom and the other would pull her onto his lap. She just sort of went along with it, I dunno if it was because she liked the attention or didn't care or whatever. I just sort of sat back and watched the whole thing unfold.

It was a deeply fascinating thing, watching two guys openly compete for the affections of a girl. It's even funnier since both of these guys had previously dated another friend of mine, thus they were Eskimo brothers too. But it was still interesting, one trying to get the girl to be affectionate and then the other. It got so strange that I began to laugh my ass off at them, and was repeatedly told to shut the fuck up so they could watch Brad Pitt kill some Nazis in peace.

Even more interesting is a scene taking place inside a German woman's house, where the soldiers all barge in. Brad Pitt and the younger soldier negotiate who's going to fuck the younger German girl (verbatim: "Either you bed her or I will"). The younger soldier takes her to bed, Brad Pitt attempts to seduce the older woman. Then the rest of the soldiers show up, get pissed because they didn't get to have sex with this chick, and start to physically harass her when she refuses to sleep with them. All of this happening in two rooms of this tiny house. They harass her more and more as she continues to refuse their advances, to the point where Brad Pitt is threatening to kill them if they don't shut up. The girl is in tears, trying to keep these American soldiers from raping her.

The point being is that what was happening in the apartment was a much milder version of what was happening on screen. A cute girl appears, and she is immediately used for physical release and as an ego booster. The scene itself played this out as a way of indicating that the Americans weren't particularly righteous either during WWII, so it's not like it was encouraging this kind of behavior. In fact, it was sort of indirectly advocating gender equality by making you despise these horny soldiers.

But it's sort of the way men are taught to treat women. "They are my release, they make my cock feel good, that's it. When I get old enough, I find some girl I can tolerate and marry her, because that's what good men do." Spread the wild oats when you're young, preferably when drunk, then marry the first broad once your looks begin to fade away. That's the message directed at American men.

To American women: "be careful who you fuck, fuck too many and you will be a slut." When you're thirty or so, marry a man who can financially support you, regardless of what he's like. That's how I interpret it, I'm probably wrong.

I dunno, man. I don't know how to fix this shit. I guess spreading awareness of gender equality to the next generation is the only way.

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Post by nearly_takuan on Wed Dec 03, 2014 7:17 am

Hey, uh, Glides? I was skimming before so I kinda missed it the first time around, but d'you think you could omit the... "brothers" thing? I found an alternative word! Though it's kind of a crude reference to pregnancy so some might still have reservations....
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Post by Gman on Wed Dec 03, 2014 8:59 am

Glides wrote: Spread the wild oats when you're young, preferably when drunk, then marry the first broad once your looks begin to fade away. That's the message directed at American men.

Just wanted to add that this isn't just true to just American men, but for men that live in a society that is dominated by the traditional western social concepts in general.
For example, My ex seriously asked me once if, as someone who is inexperienced, do I feel like I need to "soar my oats and experience many relationships" besides just her? My gut reaction was to get slighty angry at the sterotypical assumption, but then I realised that hey, many women still fall to these thoughts as well, so I just told her that I didn't feel like that at all and considering that I was VERY happy being with her (as we were a great fit both mentally and physically) and that I entered the relationship from a standpoint of rational and concience choice and not pure desparation - that no, I do not have that "need" at all!

But sorry for getting side tracked, about the "smile" thing:
I never have not only done this thing myself, but I never remember seeing ANYONE do that to someone else in my environment. The only thing I can see myself doing is trying to cheer someone up when I can see that they are feeling down, by suggesting fun stuff to do or trying to point to the positive sides of things, but never by simply say "just smile more!". Maybe this is a more American thing, like Glides suggested earlier on the other topic.
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