Why should we smile?

Why should we smile?

This is a question I am tired of asking and I am tired of having little respect from men, and mostly my parents who tend to be an enraged fanatical Christian woman and a misogynist neurotic racist father. Why should we smile? Well look how beautiful you are. You must smile, it enhances your facial features. You look so beautiful when you smile. How many times have we heard this crap? How many times have we had to swallow our pain? It is hard to be a woman and a person. I say this because to society women are nothing more than object to be displayed like furniture and gawked at, whistled at, and made fun of if we don’t act or look the way others want us to look.

I am not sorry but I am not your ornament nor your electronic plushy that you can squeeze through your words when you berate us and mock us for not smiling, so we can smile at you. We are people and in case you haven’t noticed, we have the right to feel and show our feelings if we feel like it.

Some might say ‘well sometimes you just can’t showcase your feelings’. Okay, got it. Then why is it the movie business and so many classical stories are filled with the classical gloomy anti-hero who is admired because he can express his feelings or is so brooding? Why can’t we cry and scream when we are hurting freely without being told ‘stop PMsing honey’ or ‘get over it’?

I have a burn on my back and don’t worry, it is partly healed but that right side on my back where the second degree burn is –I guess it still classifies as such but it is a close wound but nonetheless I still have to go therapy three days a week and have someone change the gauzes after I get out of the shower and believe me you feel horrible when you are in this position because of the pain and because you can’t yell to the four winds or cry without having your crazy misogynist fanatic mother and crazy misogynist racist father who hates women too, to stop crying because ‘oh you will get over it’ ‘Yes you have a wound, but so what? Just stop crying, the more you keep crying the less you will heal. You are a stupid, stupid woman, just like all women you cry. Just hold it. People want to see you smile, they don’t want to see you cry’. Not only that I keep hearing shit like ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?’ What the fuck is al this bullshit? Why must society insist on treating us like trash?

No, not trash. The correct word is ornaments. We are ornaments, if we hurt, physically or emotionally, we must swallow it and smile because no one gives a shit about our problems and even when we are told it is okay to cry, it is only up to a point because we girls look much better when we smile. We look stronger. Because although men complain we are sentimental, we have been reared to smile, to be passive instead of being active. To not complain because complaining gets on the nerves of men, our ultra-traditional, ultra-conservative parents.

Do you see now? Is this the way we want to live our lives? To be at the mercy of a smile? To hide our feelings for jerks.

I say hell no. And do not forgive me for what I am about to say –to the jerks who read this and still think it is no big deal- but you can go to hell. I am not going to smile and pretend that my feelings do not exist because they do. And because they do, I will express them. If I feel like crying when they tore my skin or scream, I will scream. So there!

And no, I have not smiled much because I am tired and because although I did in the beginning, I only want to smile when I feel like it and because at the moment because of that burn, because of my pain, I care more about recovering than pleasing everyone else.

How we see Historical or “strong” women affects how we see women today.

In historical fiction and TV women with “romantic”  backstories are often portrayed as strong, beautiful, superb and everything that a woman ought to be. She is Super Woman, the kind of girl who can fight, who can shout, and who can get away with everything -and the type of girl that every girl should dream of being. But do I want to tell my daughter -if I ever have kids- that this is the kind of girl she has to be strong? Is it wrong to assume, maybe even heretical in today’s society, that women can be strong regardless of their talents? Can I hope that my daughter can grow up being her own woman, un-influenced by the portrayals of her favorite historical women in TV and fiction? Is it naïve of me to want women -all women- to be praised for their different strengths? Because not all of us can be as outspoken as Anne Boleyn was said to be, not all of us can take the crown as Isabella I of Castile did, and not all of us can stand up against our abusive fathers or husbands like Katherine of Aragon or Mary Tudor did. Some of us try to do the best that we can. We admire these figures, but with authors and historians constantly telling us that these women were exceptional, and that they were ahead of their times, and they should have been born today when “strong” women such as these would have more advantages, it makes us -those like me who have suffered many kinds of abuse- belittled. Today might be better than the fifteenth and sixteenth century, but by no means is an ideal world. Women today have it hard too. Our reproductive rights are constantly under attack by conservatives, some of us who grow up in sexually, verbally and physically abusive patriarchal cultures, have no other means to escape, except to run away, marriage, or death. And yes, I include myself in this because I have seen and heard of many girls who have tried to commit suicide, and others who were successful because their misogynist fathers abused them sexually, verbally or physically, and some who were not accepted because they were transexual, lesbians or bisexual. So next time I hear “This woman is strong because she was outspoken, because she was not cowed, because she was one among many”. Forgive me if I throw up. And secondly, if we want to talk about women who made a difference, or women “ahead of their times” how is it that the first women who come into our minds are the WASP -White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Women, or simply put, White Western European women? Europe is not the axis-mundi. There were other women who were just as important, and did remarkable things. And I can name a few going back to the ancient times, and before you think I am going to mention Cleopatra or Kleopatra VII of the Ptolemy dynasty; no. I am going to mention those women who were rulers BEFORE her and who were just as important, if not more because of the controversy that surrounded them, as well of the important changes they brought to their kingdom. Hatshepsut, the woman King who usurped her stepson’s rule, Arsinoe, and many others. In other African kingdoms, you had many women through various periods of history taking power, not just as Regents but as sole Queen Regnants. Furthermore, the Mayan-Queens of pre-colonial America were priestesses and heads of their own cults or churches -far before Elizabeth I became the first female head of the Anglican Church. These women had as much power as Isabella I of Castile had, enjoyed more privilege and respect regardless of their gender than Elizabeth I of England ever did, and some in other non-Christian societies were not as restrained. Of course these women are forgotten, they are seen as important but not as the *ultimate* figures . We can’t all be super women. We do what we can; we work, we fight to keep lawmakers from taking away our rights, and we fight for others. Some of us are outspoken going on marches supporting pro-choice and advocating for others across the globe while others are not but that doesn’t mean they are not interested in women or humans rights. Some just choose to spread the message or fight in other ways.