Recently I came across a video on Facebook posted by BBC – The Social portraying a woman who had received a note from a male stranger while on public transport, which read, “You should smile more…a face as pretty as yours was not made to frown.” This was after he allegedly kept glancing her over which was clearly making her uncomfortable. Although the authenticity of the video has been questioned the message within it is still valid.
In this video she attempts to warn other males that this may not be an ideal way to approach anyone, as some people may be very uncomfortable by this type of attention. However, the video in itself wasn’t the problem. The problem was the content of the comments. Many people were telling her that she was “pathetic” and that she was “over-reacting“, while others where saying that she should just “take it as a compliment.” These people, who were commenting some horrendous things either fail to realise that this type of attention is damaging to some people or simply just don’t care and they may even belive we should stop complaining and just “take the compliment“. I for one, do not believe this is acceptable.
As a woman, I have frequently been told that I should smile more when out and about and every time was by a complete stranger who also happened to be male. If this is a way to cheer us up, then surely it would be more affective to actually ask us what’s wrong, rather than tell us to change our facial expressions to suit them. I am a long-term sufferer of Social Anxiety and this type of unwanted attention can ruin my entire day and back-track any progress I have made. There will be people out there that would love to receive a note like this and think it’s a nice thing to do for someone, but you don’t know why that person may be frowning. They may have recently lost someone they love, or their home or perhaps like me suffer from mental health issues. One thing for sure is that we DO NOT have to “take it as a compliment.” If anything makes you uncomfortable then it’s the other person that needs to change. We are not “pathetic” and we are not “over-reacting.” These things do matter. #ThinkFirst