Image by Devin Trent Photography
If I could count how many times I’ve walked pass a guy on the street who boldly suggests I should stop looking mean and smile, I’d be rich. There are two reasons why that bothers me.
1)I’m never aware of what my face looks like, especially when I’m in no particular mood. Nine times out of ten, I could be having an awesome day!
2) It’s always a man who would suggest I smile.
It’s obvious that some men expect women to appease to their demands in some form or fashion. Because the look on my face doesn’t make you comfortable, you…a stranger…feels the need to tell me how I should fix my face. That is not only bold but inappropriate on so many levels.
Even if a woman was having a bad day, it’s not a man’s place or concern to tell her what she should do. A woman you don’t know is not obligated to make you comfortable. We are not here for you to criticize our facial expressions. If we want to look mean, we have every right to without your approval or disapproval. It’s simply not your business.
Why should I smile to please you?
Why should I smile at all?
What these bold guys fail to realize is that asking a woman why she look so mean and telling her to smile actually deepens whatever frustration she may have had earlier in the day. She doesn’t need your unsolicited and superfluous advice.
It’s unfortunate that black women in general are already labeled as “angry, bitter, mean”, or have attitude problems. Our men feed into that, which in my opinion, deepens society’s perception of us. Asking a woman why she looks mean penetrates the notion that that’s what we naturally are. In most cases…like ALL humans…we naturally “look” mean, because we may have had a bad day, week, month, or life. First, we’re not gonna tell you why we look mean! Secondly, we don’t know you, so why would you even expect an answer?
To be honest, if you’re THAT concerned about why a black woman on the street looks mean, maybe it’s because she, along with her circle of sisters, her mother, her aunts, and cousins have to live in a world where we struggle with being accepted as equals. Maybe it’s the fact that we deal with the daily stresses of life from maintaining a household to dealing with sexual objectification and misogyny. So, to answer your question “Why we look mean?”
That’s your answer.
The next time you fix your mouth to ask another woman on the street why she looks mean….don’t.