By: Anonymous White Male Who Did Not Vote For Trump, But Could Not Help Being Happy When He Won
I do not deny your right to be angry when a man tells you to smile. He is being selfish after all expecting you to put on a good face for his pleasure. Do you have nothing else to do with your time? Such conduct is highly patronizing and I haven’t forgotten myself how unpleasant it was when I was a child and adults told me “look up don’t look down” or how on school picture day no matter how hard I tried to look at the camera the photographer always thought it to be their God given right to take me by the chin and move my head around.
Nevertheless, though I have never gone that route myself I must humbly admit to the temptation to ask a woman to smile when I see her have a straight face. It could be passed off as another form of objectification and for some men it may well be. For me however, and likely others (this is not the sort of thing men usually discuss with each other or at all), a frowning woman conjures up old images of the thing we have long feared most as millennial men: our teachers. This is a deep fear that millennial women likely share to some extent. The surveys which demonstrate that women prefer male bosses can be easily passed off as internalized misogyny, but could there be something different to it, something buried?
In previous generations children were permitted a great deal more freedom. They were allowed to play unsupervised without the heavy restrictions placed upon them today. For millennials growing up, it was very difficult to have any time alone away from adults. A large number of activities that were not so discouraged in previous decades, were forbidden to us in our impressionable younger years. These were disproportionately male cultural activities such as wrestling, climbing trees, and rollerblading. Our mainly female teachers were the most vital part of enforcing such rules on us. My own school started with not allowing kids to catch and drag each other, and then forbade us from even chasing one another. Snowball fighting in the winter and leaf throwing in the fall were likewise strictly banned.
With this “killjoy” attitude on the part of our female teachers who maintained a relatively constant frown when supervising us on the playground, we began to increasingly shun outdoor activities overall in favor of junk food and video games. This became more apparent in our waists when we reached secondary school. At this point our still mainly female teachers with more frowns on their faces, blamed us and television for the new obesity “epidemic” (my middle school health textbook defined excessive television watching and junk food eating as a sickness). Their solution, take away all of our High School vending machines. At the time I was in student council on the financial committee which received funding for student events from those machines. The self-righteous administration of course, never bothered to offer us an alternative source of funding.
A serious blow against childhood obesity might be struck if schools would consent to have gym class every day, this would only require cutting instructional time from each class by a few minutes. That however would be inconceivable. I am myself a teacher and have recognized the importance that our society places upon real or perceived learning. This hits us millennial men (and women) most when we reach adulthood.
In an interesting irony, the Democrats’ policy of pushing for more educational funding has probably protected our national security (by working to ensure that the people who design our nuclear weapons are some of the best educated on the planet), but has brought little visible benefit to the everyday individual in the United States. Did liberals actually believe that the students who came out of improved schools would all be able to find white-collar work? As every millennial can attest to, desk jobs are nearly impossible to get nowadays. The competition is cutthroat and those few poor souls who don’t have a high school degree are lucky if they even have the honor of washing dishes.
For men personal independence is vital to our self-esteem. We feel as pressured to make more money than the next man as women do to look more attractive than the next woman. It therefore should come as no surprise that men, especially white men (who are very culturally independent, and don’t have discrimination to justify their own lack of success) are sinking deeper and deeper into depression and suicide.
Frowning women are a symbol of a society which is making it increasingly difficult for men to live according their own definitions of what a man ought to be (tough, adventurous, and self-dependent). Whether society should change or men need to change is a completely different debate which I am not going to get into here. All I wish for the women reading this mytake to know is, we do not always have bad intentions when we ask you to grin.