“Smile More, It Could Be Worse”: Woman Gets Petty Revenge On Annoying Hospital Visitor

Turn that frown upside down! We all know that it’s best to approach life with a positive attitude and to look on the bright side as often as possible. But it’s just not realistic to do that all the time. Life happens, and when you’re having a bad day, the last thing you want to hear is that you should be smiling.

One woman recently shared on Reddit that a visitor at the hospital where she works decided it would be a good idea to encourage her to smile more. So she immediately made him regret that suggestion. Below, you’ll find the full story that she posted, as well as some of the replies amused readers shared.

Trying to stay positive can be helpful in any situation

Image credits:  YuriArcursPeopleimages / envato (not the actual photo)

But when a stranger felt the need to tell this woman that she should smile more, she decided to teach him a lesson

Image credits: Liza Summer / pexels (not the actual photo)

Image credits: escapetheparadise

Smiling often can be beneficial for our health

Image credits: Joel Mott / unsplash (not the actual photo)

A big, bright smile can be contagious. If you see someone radiating joy, you might not be able to help yourself from grinning ear to ear as well. And smiling can actually provide us with some health benefits. According to Verywell Mind, smiling regularly can relieve stress, elevate our moods, boost our immune systems, lower our blood pressure, reduce pain, attract others to us, help us stay positive, and smiling is even associated with living a longer life.

There’s no question that we all enjoy smiling, and we can all benefit from it, but we shouldn’t be expected to do it all the time. Being expected to have a smile on your face constantly and ignore painful or uncomfortable emotions can be a slippery slope leading to toxic positivity. And human beings are incredibly complex creatures, we should be allowed to feel and experience a full range of emotions.

If you’re a woman, you’ve likely had at least one experience similar to the one described in this story. Thanks to misogyny, many men have got it in their heads that telling women to smile more, particularly strangers, is appropriate. Men aren’t expected to look chipper and joyful at all times, but because the world loves double standards, women are. 

But telling women to smile more is rooted in misogyny

According to Inc, one survey found that a whopping 98% have been told to smile at work at some point in their lives, and 15% say that this happens at least once a week. Over a third of women say that they’re told to smile most frequently while working, and apparently, women in senior and executive-level positions are the most likely to be told to smile more. I wonder how often men in these powerful positions are told the same?

As far as why these remarks are commonly made towards women, writer and activist Bené Viera told HuffPost that society conditions men to believe women exist for the male gaze and their own pleasure. “Men are socialized to believe they have control over women’s bodies. This [is the] result in them giving unsolicited instructions on how we should look, think and act,” she explained. “Essentially what a man is saying when he tells a woman – one he doesn’t even know – to smile, is that his wants outweigh her own autonomy over how she exists in the world.”

Women are also often told that they have “RBF” if they’re not smiling frequently, something that men don’t have to worry about. Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher also told USA Today that smiling is often seen by men as “subservient, weak and vulnerable,” so they might limit themselves from showing many facial expressions. Yet they still expect women to be cheerful all the time.

Women have control over their bodies and can smile as much or as little as they want

Image credits: Joel Muniz / unsplash (not the actual photo)

While the pandemic was a terrible thing for the world, it did provide one unexpected benefit for some women. Wearing a mask meant that nobody was going to comment on whether you were smiling or not. The Washington Post published a piece in 2021 discussing how masks coming off meant that men would go back to telling women to “Smile!”

And although some men see these comments as harmless, Kimberly Fairchild, an associate professor of psychology at Manhattan College who researches street harassment, told the Washington Post that demanding a woman smile is actually on par with catcalling, unwelcome gestures and other forms of harassment. Though the delivery differs, they’re all ways for men to try to control women’s bodies.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this petty revenge in the comments below, pandas. Have you ever been told to “smile more” by a stranger? And do you think this woman responded in the perfect way? Feel free to share, and then if you’re interested in reading another Bored Panda article discussing a similar situation, we recommend reading this piece next!

Readers shared their reactions to the petty revenge, as well as some similar stories of their own and suggestions of how to respond next time

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