Culture, Culture + Taste

I don’t ever owe you a smile, no matter what you call me

Stop telling me I need to smile.

My brain does not stop thinking. I’m a college student with two majors, several extracurricular activities, and a very long and never-ending to do list.

I like staying busy and I enjoy being involved with causes I am passionate about. When I walk around campus, I’m usually thinking about upcoming deadlines for my journalism classes, the details of events I’m organizing on campus, emails I have to respond to, or when I’ll be able to get my next cup of coffee.

But apparently some people (particularly guys) think my constant pensive facial expressions make me look like a bitch. I have been told that I need to smile more because of the “negative vibe” some people get from my resting bitch face. And according to scientists, resting bitch face is a real phenomenon.

It’s not my intention to look serious or stern all the time, that’s just my natural facial expression and I wish people would stop judging me based off of my outer appearance.

It's not my intention to look serious or stern all the time, that's just my natural face. Click To Tweet

It’s not like I don’t smile at all. In fact, I am very easily amused and laugh at the corniest jokes. Often when I laugh hard, I end up crying. Maybe judgmental people would learn that if they took the time to get to know me rather assuming who I am.

Men seriously need to stop telling women to smile more. I’m confident if I were a guy I would not receive the same comments because it’s more socially acceptable for men to look serious or expressionless. I’m not here for their visual pleasure or to try to impress them. There are more important things in life for me. The people who judge me in passing simply based off my facial expressions need to stop being so hypercritical.

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And if you’re a woman who wears hijab, some people will make assumptions of all Muslim women based off you. They’ll easily assume you’re oppressed or mistreated by the men in your life because you don’t “look happy.”

If you're constantly judging people solely on how they look, that says a lot about you. Click To Tweet

To the people who constantly judge people solely on how they look, I hope you know that says a lot about you as an individual and what you value in other people. The same way you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, don’t judge a human based off their resting bitch face.

Men need to stop shaming women for not looking perky every moment of their lives. Click To Tweet

Men need to stop shaming women for not looking happy and perky every moment of their lives. Though I’m not smiling all the time, that does not mean I’m unappreciative, mean, or miserable. That is just how my face looks naturally and you should learn to accept it rather call me out for it.

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Ayah Galal

Ayah Galal

Editorial Fellow Ayah Galal is double majoring in journalism and political science at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. She loves coffee, books and traveling. Ayah is passionate about combating Islamophobia through the media.

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