If you are a woman, the world regrets to inform you that your face is probably wrong. The mouth part, specifically.
For instance, are you not smiling?
Well, obviously, that is wrong. Have you ever walked down the street, while frowning? Have helpful men come up to you and told you that you should be smiling? Men are very helpful that way. You are supposed to be smiling at them. You'd look prettier if you smiled! Do you not want to look pretty? Are they not something to smile at? Your unsmiling face is implying you might have concerns that are neither a) looking pretty or b) being happy to see them, a man. This is downright insulting.
Men will tell you that being annoyed about their telling you to smile is "crazy." They will explain that it is just a normal, friendly exclamation tendered to a stranger on the street.
But men on the street will never, ever tell other men to smile.
They understand that if another man is not smiling, it may be because he's worried about work. It might be because he just came from a funeral. It might be because dumb bitches are not smiling at him. In short, it is because he has an internal life that is to be taken seriously.
"Men on the street will never, ever tell other men to smile."
This is not the case when it comes to women. No matter what a woman is doing—coming from a funeral, addressing a speech to the DNC—men somewhere will tell her that it would really be better (for them) if she smiled. She would look prettier. She would be less scary.
So, okay. You're no fool. You learn to smile, if only because you do not want strangers telling you to do so.
But not that way! You're still doing it wrong.
You might think if you are always, always smiling, you will be immune from criticism. You would be wrong.
Remember when, after being told to smile by a whole slew of men, Hillary Clinton smiled very unceasingly at Donald Trump during the debates? It did not go down well. She did not appear genuinely happy to see Donald Trump, a political opponent who kept yelling "wrong" at her.
Or, there's Chelsea Clinton who smiled too much on the cover of Variety. This week it prompted people to wonder what she was happy about. In this case, another woman is policing Chelsea Clinton's smile, which is rarer, but happens when women begin to actually believe that there is a very specific way other women should be smiling.
Chelsea Clinton noted that she was smiling because she and the interviewer were talking about the funny things her daughter says. That's lovely. But what if she was smiling a bunch because she's on the cover of a magazine? What if she's laughing because they're doing Rick and Morty impressions? What if she was laughing because someone said, "we're going to win so much we get tired of winning" and she laughed and laughed until bitter tears came to her eyes?
Well, those would be the wrong reasons to smile, I guess.
Here is the right way to be smiling: while gazing adoringly up at a man. Or, alternately, down at a child. The correct way to smile is to indicate that your are joyfully fulfilling your traditional feminine role. Think of pictures you've seen where a woman is striking either of these poses. These are pictures of smiling women that never get criticized. These women are not scary at all.
Ideally, you should smile the smile of the cool girl described in Gone Girl. "Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don't mind, I'm the Cool Girl."
So, smile. Abandon any emotion that might not give all men pleasure. Be thoroughly delighted by the presence of men or their offspring. Have no emotions but this delight.
Or, you know, fuck it. Laugh over weird stuff. Frown. Grimace. Scowl. Smile only when you feel like it. There's a lot to smile over. But you know what? There's a lot to frown over, too. It's your face. Do what you want with it.
Have an internal life.