Is telling girls to smile a form of objectification?

I recently came across this article about people harassing Brie Larson for her role in Captain Marvel. People were saying that she looks too "wooden" and should smile more. In response, Brie photoshopped smiles onto male superhero faces to demonstrate how stupid it looks for superheroes to smile.

Basically, the article claims that it's "sexist" to tell women to smile and even goes as far as to say it is a "very common form of harassment that objectifies women." So I'm wondering, do you agree or disagree that telling women to smile objectifies them and is offensive? What do you think?
Is telling girls to smile a form of objectification?
  • Yes, telling women to smile is just another form of objectification
    Vote A
  • No, it isn't that deep
    Vote B
  • Other/See Results
    Vote C
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Most Helpful Guys

  • This shit's stupid.

    1) Nobody asked her to smile in inappropriate places. But throughout the entire trailer, her facial expression is wooden. Not only no smile - nothing. That's what actors are paid for. But sure, superheroes never smile...
    encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images
    i.pinimg.com/.../...85af1955d49325390cbc5f2658.jpg
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cisl5-3W0AQMupt.jpg
    media.giphy.com/media/Gwtv1sXXnunMA/giphy.gif
    media.comicbook.com/.../...rok-smiling-1039609.jpg
    Sorry, Bree... but you are a fucking idiot.

    2) A friend of mine is a pretty depressing person. But I am attached to him emotionally, we are school buddies, I can't let him go like that. I used to tell him to smile. Not anymore, because I gave up hope. But whatever. I told him to smile because I hoped he would feel more welcome, or be more part of society.
    Smiling at people when you don't feel like it, to me, is not about me. I don't want to smile all the time. But when I make eye contact with a person on the subway, or on the street, or in a bar - even if I don't want to, I force a smile on my ugly face in the hopes that I might make their day a bit better.
    You don't always have to smile because you feel good - but to make OTHERS feel welcome. And maybe they'll reciprocate your gesture.

    So my advice to Miss Larson is to get over herself, and stop thinking this is about her. When I say I want her to emote, and in this particular case, smile in a movie, I say it because I expect this from her as an actor. I pay a lot of money to see your stupid movie - the least you can do is make me feel like I am not supposed to root for a fucking droid.

    Thank you for your understanding, Bree. Now go back to Tumblr, and post about how you are oppressed.

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  • WITF has this world come to? 50% of the population is running around looking for excuses to "correct" or reproach the other 50% so they can feel some smugness as they believe they occupy the moral high ground. How does any of this nonsense make us a better civilization? How does any of this nonsense help us thrive as a species?

    This is just simple and unadulterated happy horse shit!

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    • This is my favorite quote of the week
      "This is just simple and unadulterated happy horse shit!"

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    • Trying to correct what can be better is how society's improve, being complacent slows down progress which is obviously inevitable. So why not try to make things better materialistically and morally i don't get it

    • @SoccerKing88 You are operating with the woefully inadequate assumption that your morality "must be" better so it should be imposed on others. Additionally, that mentality is hypocritical because these same people who want to improve the world by extinguishing "unacceptable thoughts" will say that they want to increase diversity and tolerance for others.

Most Helpful Girls

  • I have always been told to smile by guys alone and it's always when I'm in the middle of doing nothing like walking down the street, at the butchers, sitting on a bench---do you know how creepy that would be to just be walking around randomly just smiling at nothing?!? Why at 3pm in the middle of the day through no interaction with anyone would I need to smile, and why would I be just smiling at a stranger I'd never met before who randomly approached me---and told me to smile? That's weird. I don't tend to entertain this request, but I don't find it objectifying if it's a one time ask----but it is the insistent ones that ask 2, 3, 4 times, like come on, smile for me, or let me see that pretty smile, that do fall into that objectification category, because I'm not there to entertain some stranger's wishes. That's right up there with do a turn for me, or dance for me---do we ask that of strangers?

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  • No.
    Why do people have to look at it as telling "girls" to smile? Why not people? As if guys never get told to smile. I always say it to my guy friends when they're feeling down, or when I'm mocking them to annoy them even more, I do the same thing to my friends who are girls and they all do the same to me.

    It's just a fun thing to say.

    I'm liberal, but political correctness is going mad.

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Have an opinion?

What Guys Said 129

  • in some cases probably. in other cases not necessarily. i've been told to smile on numerous occasions well i don't there was any sexist notion behind it

    i don't think we can say concretely what is the intent of the comment or suggestion is in all cases

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  • That’s nonsense, this is just another example of political correctness out of control.

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  • Well it is demeaning unless their is a damn good context (i. e. being in a role that requires positive vibes). If someone told me to smile more I would feel like punching them in the face. I smile when I feel happy, and I don't smile when I don't. Telling someone to smile doesn't respect their reasons for not smiling. It turns them into an ornament or a decoration. And yeah, women feel this more accutely than men because they are often ornamentalised.

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  • This is just plain stupidity

    Here is iron man smiling :
    mk0movieguide99l7786.kinstacdn.com/.../...3342.jpg

    Here is wolverine, the most serious superhero character, SMILING :
    lh3.googleusercontent.com/.../Q5LbQ.gif

    Here is spiderman, SMILING :
    data.whicdn.com/images/300562426/original.gif

    Here is hulk, SMILING :
    http://i.imgur.com/ctcMWef.jpg

    Here is Captain America. SMILING :
    78.media.tumblr.com/.../...ldYckO1r5a08so2_250.gif

    Here is thor, SMILING :
    https://giffiles.alphacoders.com/206/206613.gif

    *Brie photoshopped smiles onto male superhero faces to demonstrate how stupid it looks for superheroes to smile. * BITCH PLEASE !

    first of all, the people who are harassing that captain marvel character that she should smile more, are stupid, because the story line of that movie is supposed to make her look serious, second, whoever thinks that superhero's smiling is stupid, is plain RETARDED !

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  • The discussion is nonsense. So here is a great poem somehow related

    Charles Bukowski
    a smile to remember

    we had the goldfish and they went around and around
    in the bowl on the table near the purple drapes
    across our front picture window and
    my mother, poor fish, always smiling, wanting to
    appear happy, she always told me, "be happy, Henry,"
    and she was right: it's better to be happy if you
    can be
    but my father beat her two or three times a week while
    raging through his 6 foot two frame because he couldn't
    defeat what was attacking him.

    my mother, poor fish, poor goldfish, poor nothing fish,
    wanting to be happy, being beaten two or three times a
    week and telling me to be happy: "Henry, smile!
    why don't you smile?

    and then, she always did to show me how, and it was the
    saddest smile I ever saw upon the earth, like hell and
    hell and hell and hell, and nothing else

    one day all the goldfish died, all five of them,
    they floated on top of the water, on their sides, the
    eye on each top side still open,
    and when my father got home he threw them to the cat
    there on the kitchen floor and we watched as my mother
    smiled

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    • by the way it’s not objectifying it’s just societies attempt to get everyone to be happy or at least to pretend so

  • What in the fuck? So if a girl tells me I should smile more (which they have many times in my life) that means they're objectifying me? When I tell a girl they should smile more I generally mean that they currently have a somewhat depressing vibe or it's to help them socialize.

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  • Rolls eyes... everything is the patriarchy nowadays. Photoshopping smiles onto female superheros out of a smiling context is also stupid looking. ... this is just another far reaching idea of oppression that views it through the lense of a one way street. If anyone is 'offended' by being asked to smile, male or female, I hope their single for the rest of their life.

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  • What people get wrong is they think men objectify women but we don't, we admire women, we appreciate them. There's a massive different between objectifying and admiring.

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    • I think the current trend is that women do not want to give men good feelings without written permission.

  • I fully agree with the larson article. I think if you pay attention to who you say needs to smile more it would almost always be to a woman. I know I used to say that... I had a coworker who didn't smile laughed plenty at jokes etc. but honestly it hit me like a ton of bricks that I would never think that of a female coworker

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  • Ok the problem here is that captain marvel is the epitome of pushing a character because of ideology. I was hoping the movies wouldn't go this way but they are doing.

    I get what you mean by other superheroes not smiling but the real problem is that she has no emotion in any of the trailer. Bit like with the comic book counterpart if we don't see her as the next Tony Stark it because sexism. In the comics they wanted her to be the next Spiderman.

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  • I need a source!!!

    Smiling women are more socially and biologically acceptable then men. I even saw this video saying that women didn't find smiling men attractive.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oU0uNGUxdyo

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    • That is those women. I find men who give genuine smiles very attractive. That man is very attractive.

    • At what aspect, smiling or not smiling.
      Granted the actor was over doing it on both ends.

  • Telling someone to smile in general.
    Honestly just fuck off.
    I've had people tell me to smile before and I mean, that's like finding a mine and just stepping on it because you fancy it. They're probably not smiling for a reason and you saying "smile" ain't gonna fucking help is it.

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  • It is kinda a form of objectification but lots of things are, but this is super dumb what kinda idiots compalin about a super hero not smileing.
    This whole thing is daft i am with brie that she shouldn't smile if she don't want to.

    And this is definatly harrasment but not sexism. But who ever said that she should smile should get people hating them for been dumb and on the same level as if they were sexist.

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  • Depends on the context.

    If it's said in a patronising way or by a randomer, then yes.

    But a friend encouraging another friend to smile is nice. It's healthy to smile.

    It can be annoying to be told to smile if you're really not feeling it or have a bad case of resting bitch face (like me)

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  • If you think of it it is a form of objectification. It's like saying a girl's utility lays in being some kind of object to brighten up your day.

    Plus it's the most inanely stupid idiotic advice to life's myriad existential problems.

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    • It's like saying a girl's utility lays in being some kind of object to brighten up your day.
      *There's truth to that.
      Plus it's the most inanely stupid idiotic advice to life's myriad existential problems.
      *You must be a hoot at parties.

    • I don't care how her day is, and I don't want her to brighten up mine. But if she ruins mine with her fucking Resting Bitch Face, I think it is justified to tell her to quit it.

  • media.giphy.com/media/tZiLOffTNGoak/giphy.gif
    I don't know about it being objectification but I hate it when guys tell a random girl to smile or say "you should smile more". It's so f***ing corny and cringe af.
    If you think someone should smile then make them smile by paying them a complement. It's easy to make a girl smile if you're a f***ing clown.

    Or just mind your god damn business, maybe their dad died, you never know.

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    • Agreed a bit. Yeah but calling it "objectification" is fucking stupid as hell.

  • I don't see it as objectification. I do see it as unwanted harassment. I resent being told to smile. My facial expression is no one's business, but mine. My first reaction is to punch the gobshite in the mouth and tell them to smile.
    A few have suffered when they got me at a bad moment.

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  • Who cares? See this right here is why I pray something happens and the whole world becomes Mad Max in real life. Then all the special snowflakes and retards will die off and the gene pool will be cleansed. Then we can start over and maybe have a world where questions like this aren’t asked and political correctness doesn’t exist.

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  • Are you fucking serious i couldn't even take that seriously for real the concept is so ducking stupid that i really couldn't take it seriously i feel like more and more dumb women will make up any excuse as to target men these days i can't i swear and i don't mean you by the way i just mean women who complain over everything and then try to blame men for there fucking problems

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  • To be fair, Ms Marvel (as I knew her growing up) isn't known to be a smiley person, she's a serious person who is known for being to the point.

    But I don't understand the sexist aspect to it, nor do I understand why they would complain about her not smiling. The movie has already been filmed.

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What Girls Said 58

  • no..

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  • That's absolutely ridiculous.

    Soon , men will be accused of sexual harassment or of being sexist if they just look at a woman in passing. Society has a warped way of thinking these days.

    Anyone who thinks that's sexist obviously has a screw missing

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    • I don't have one for just staring but you are not far off.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpvnO0p9KvU

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    • @FatherJack

      That's soooo scary. I felt like crying for that poor guy in the video posted by @sawno
      No wonder a lot of guys have trust issues with women

    • @sawno Both are symptoms of the same Zionist , Talmudic Mafia , disease.

  • I think this is just an America thing. As an European who’s both grown up and traveled around this continent, I’ve never been told to smile. Suddenly, when I went to America couple months ago... On my way my hotel, literally 2 guys told me to smile. Why? I didn’t get offended per say, just incredibly taken back. Why are random strangers telling me to express happiness? And I’m telling you, after a twelve hour flight into a different time zone, no one is happy.

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  • It is a form of objectification. It’s another rude and entitled version of saying “in order to attract me, you need to do xyz” you never hear dudes making a fuss about male heroes. But I don’t think sexist is the word necessarily. However, it’s definitely a condescending mindset that in order to take a female superhero seriously, she must have a “feminine” attractiveness that overshadows her tough exterior.

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    • I am constantly told to smile all of the time. Men experience the same thing. With that logic, I am being objectified.

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    • @iskg679

      Are you told that by strangers though? It seems guys get told that by family or friends or girls and people they know. Whereas, girls and women more often deal with this or can deal with this from guys on walking down the street or don't know the girl and telling her she should smile. So it seems benign but often what women more often have to deal with, whether cat callled or told to smile, that us guys don't deal with

    • @brennanhuff yes guys do get told by strangers there's been encounters where my dad and older brother constantly get told to smile by strangers cause they always look so down, even though they could just be chilling. Thing is this is not a woman "problem" and it's not a problem at all. women seriously need to get over themselves.

  • i think it does depend on the setting and how it is said. i would think the stereotypical "you'd be prettier if you smiled" line could be considered kind of sexist, but if it's a more general "you look nice when you smile you should smile more" kind of comment i don't think there really is a problem

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  • It really depends on the circumstance. If it's dating advice, then that's good. But if she's busy doing something serious, and someone tells her that she should smile more, it's kind of ridiculous. I read the article that you pointed out, and Larson has a good point. For some reason, seriousness is considered masculine.

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  • hi, so is this a photo of Brie? as im unsure as to who she is, if it is her i struggle to support her female objectification issue...
    i2.wp.com/.../Brie-Larson-Too-Hot.jpg?w=638&ssl=1

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  • I wouldn't say it's objectification, but how often are men told to smile, be sweet, etc? It plays into the stereotypical gender roles. She was great in the movie whether she smiled or not.

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    • She was great in the movie that hasn't been released yet? I hope you meant trailer. No men aren't told to smile were told to be stoic.

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    • Growing up the most common line I heard was "stop crying or I will give you something to cry about."

    • @AuroraRoseat But that's untrue, iron Man isn't popular because he's stone faced. It's his charisma. It's not the lack of smiling it's the lack of charisma. I mentioned in another comment how Ronda Rousey was the fan favorite to play her. Because she shows strength and charisma. That's what makes a hero.

      The problem with the trailer is she looked like her comic book counterpart and she isn't popular but she's going to be the new leader of the avengers and if she's the same then... she will be hated.

      I'm glad you meant trailer but a strong female character with no charisma will just hurt the idea of female superheroes and after Wonder woman I think that captain marvel is going to hurt the cause of female superheroes.

  • I don't see it as objectification, but I do think it's stupid. I hate it when someone tells me to smile in pictures, especially when they saw only one picture of me. I don't walk around with a smile on my face all day, so I see no point in smiling in every picture, especially if I don't feel like it. Do I have to pretend i'm happy or what? If you take picture of me when I am smiling it's a different thing.

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  • whatever it is, it's so annoying and done by the most annoying type of men. >.> why would anyone care enough about a stranger's lack of a smile... and then have the audacity to walk up to me with that bull... go step on a lego weird man. Let me walk rbf and all.

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  • I wouldn't usually call it objectification but there is something annoying about it. Why? Why should I smile unless I want to? It's just usually said in a condescending way. Like "you should smile so you look prettier for me!"

    No, weirdo. But sometimes, it's not like that at all.

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  • I am like the least PC person ever but I do feel like it's objectifying, like we're supposed to fit into a certain stereotype to be pleasing. I have major resting bitch face & am often told to smile. It's one of the things I hate most. Besides, who just stands around smiling at nothing?

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  • Depends on the context and the environment. I remember i was at a club dressed up and everything and I was super pissed because i was waiting for my friends to finally get out so we can leave. I was standing in a corner minding my own buisness and some drunk guy decides he wants to walk into my personal space and tell me i need to smile. I think it’s silly that men think that they can tell a woman what to do with herself. I ignored him and walked away

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  • Having a straight face is kind of my habit lol even though im not in a bad mood.. but i do smile when im talking to someone and is enjoying the company.

    Anyway... i dont know why but i like it when a person tells me to smile more. For me, it’s like the person is cheering me up (and it does brighten my mood).. knowing someone wants to see me smile more is quite nice to be honest.

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  • But it can go the same about men who are too serious can be perceived as boring
    There is nothing wrong or objectificating about people being more cheerful and lively

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  • I don't think it's blatant objectification.

    However people are mad because they simply cast someone 'plain' looking like Brie Larson and not Kim Kardashian or Jessica Alba to play Captain Marvel.

    I mean come on. Can't we have average looking superhero for once? I didn't see anyone raising eyebrow Mark Ruffalo to play Hulk. He's also plain looking 🤷

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    • They cast Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and it was good.

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    • @Edanurus I think the costume looks the way it does because Miss Larson couldn't keep her ideology to herself.
      Just for the record, this frumpy gender-neutral suit design isn't a single example - in the upcoming Antman sequel, Evangeline Lilly will look like THIS as the Wasp
      www.google.com/search
      Same things as with Captain Marvel.
      And by the way here's a great image showing the difference between the male and the female body on Miss Lilly and her boyfriend (?) I don't care enough to look it up.
      i.pinimg.com/.../...a76f0439754db9d8275025eccd.jpg
      The closer the costume gets to the look of that guy, the more confused the audience will be. Just saying.

  • It's my face, if I feel like smiling I will; if I don't, I won't.

    I've had random strangers (grown up men) tell me to smile... It always felt creepy and weird.

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  • I mean, I would definitely take it as objectifying if a random street guy comes over and tell me to smile and all in an awkward manner. So yes sometimes it can be objectifying. I actually an going through a terrible time now and if a random dude who belongs in the manhole comes to me telling me to smile I'd punch him in the face tbh.

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  • I have been told by people, "smile more, it makes you look prettier," as if that's the only thing that matters. So yeah, I do think it's a form of objectification.

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    • You're merely Miss understanding, I don't mean to make it the sexual thing, they just mean that it makes you seem more approachable

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    • Ok so, what i meant was that if you live in the west, then at least you're able to look how you want without being judged as much as a lot of other countries.

    • @ajijjj not necessarily, but I see what you mean.

  • No, it isn't objectfiying to tell someone to smile, but it is annoying and bothersome as hell. Whenever someone tells me to "smile more", I literally feel like telling them to go screw themselves...

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