“Smile, sweetheart”

7 Oct

(This was originally posted to the Community section of MyMedia;
it has also been expanded with some content that is not appropriate for/allowed in that venue)

I post the following link with a caveat: the title of the article mentions Hillary Clinton, currently a candidate for the Presidency of the USoA. The article itself is not about politics per se, but about sexism.

Specifically, the sexism of telling women to smile.

To wit:

Women hate being told to smile, and it’s only in the past four years or so that I’ve completely lost patience with it. The last time was the grocery store employee who walked by me and told me to “smile, sweetheart,” and I gave him a nasty look and moved on. No one tells a male stranger to smile; only women are expected to placidly smile all the time.

There is a lot of important stuff in that piece, and I encourage readers of this thread to follow the link and read it in its entirety.

~ * ~

At the MyMedia forum, talk of politics isn’t allowed, and therefore, I have so far refrained from commenting there about the relentless sexism that has dogged Hillary Clinton’s bid to become the first female President of the USoA.

For various personal reasons, I have not kept receipts as well as I should have, but one example vivid in my mind was a headline on nbcnews.com about a Clinton ‘swoon’ in the polls. The thing is, I also remember several previous elections when these things were called ‘slumps.’ It’s telling, isn’t it, that when it’s a woman the verb is changed in this way?

The orange caricature that is Donald Trump can spend hours yelling at rallies, and while some social media does complain about the endless shouting, mainstream media outlets don’t mention it. They have, however, devoted more than one paragraph or three, to jab at Hillary Clinton’s ‘shrill’ voice when reporting on her rallies.

The attention paid, and the mockery made of, her appearance (the pantsuits, for one; the infamous and disgusting t-shirts and pins sold at Trump’s rallies, for another) are decidedly sexist. And yet, mainstream media continues to decline to report on, or even talk about, how sexism and misogyny are shaping this election. And, in the few instances they do, it’s an opportunity to mock those ‘thin skinned’ Democrats and leftists and social justice warriors over ‘political correctness.’

While the truth is, Hillary Clinton has to work several times harder than any man–from Bernie Sanders to the dumpster fire that is Trump–just to achieve a semblance of equal footing. Had she said a tenth of the stupid, disgusting, insulting, false, contradictory things that her opponent has said–just in the past two weeks–she would have been kicked out of the race on the spot.

Yet, here we are, on the brink of having her husband’s infidelities brought up in a Presidential debate as proof that she is unfit for the office–by a man who very publicly cheated on his first two wives, and bragged about it. Used to be, if a candidate was going to throw stones, he’d better not be living in a glass house. But hey, now that it’s a man running against a woman, the rules have suddenly changed.

Anyone who seriously claims that gender plays no part on this particular Presidential election, either has lived in a cave for the past year and a half, or is willfully blind to reality.

4 Responses to ““Smile, sweetheart””

  1. bamaclm 07/10/2016 at 1:09 PM #

    As long as OWEM (Old, White, Egotistical Men) control the power, nothing’s gonna change. And pretty soon, if not already, you can throw in men of other colors too. I don’t know if it’s biological or what, but you’ll never convince them that women should be equal. OWEMs that make a career of politics can be deadly; add in fundamentalism and you’ve got a potent brew.

    Women will always have to work twice as hard for the same opportunities. The ‘Old Boy’ network will never back down. And I thought, well how about an Old Girl network? But then I found out that there are FB pages for women who support Trump and I’ve been feeling depressed every since.

    Because … why???

    • azteclady 07/10/2016 at 4:05 PM #

      Ann Coulter. The late and unlamented Phyllis Schlafly.

      I don’t know why, but there are always women who will fight for the right of white old men to oppress and abuse everyone else.

      Internalized misogyny, I guess.

  2. Lori 07/10/2016 at 3:12 PM #

    Many, many years ago when Mollie was maybe 2 or 3, we were going to an event and were on a crowded bus to it. Mollie was sitting on my lap, facing me. She was very shy. An older man was in the seat next to us, basically facing us. He tried to engage with Mollie who buried her face in my body and didn’t want to engage.

    This older man berated her (not loud and nasty but just generally) about how she should act. I sat there silently, holding my child, completely unsure of how to react. And later was so angry with myself for not telling him to fuck off. No stranger has a right to touch or interact with my, or anyone’s, child without permission.

    I’ve talked to Mollie since about it. Of course, she doesn’t remember but I’ve tried to make sure she understands that she belongs to herself only. Her body is hers. And fuck everyone else who thinks they have a say about it.

    I wish someone would tell me to smile nowadays. I’d have an earful for them.

    • azteclady 07/10/2016 at 4:09 PM #

      There’s this thing so many adults have, where they feel ownership of all children, and feel empowered to tell young mothers how to raise them…it’s, as you say, not only infuriating, but disrespectful as hell.

      And I’m so glad for Miss Mollie that you are her mom, Lori!

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