Coming in at #6:  “Smile More”

Here’s the text string between Barbara and Charlotte in preparation for this post:

That is not where Barbara thought the text string would go! We thought about not sharing it, and then realized our job is to help women find their rightful place at the leadership table.  It’s all connected and those things really happened.

Now, back to our topic…

Many of us work in job roles where smiling is an advantage (restaurant servers anyone? Hair stylists? Hotel desk clerks?). Picture us greeting people as they pop up on the gallery  of our virtual SheSpeaks on April 1st. Now imagine us doing that without smiling. It would ruin our brand.  The distinction is this: we want to smile. We LOVE that program and we want our participants to feel welcomed.

So, if your boss or a colleague tells you to smile and you view it as a helpful reminder, that’s great advice.

The rest of us likely work in environments where gender bias appears in many forms and often out of nowhere. The most obvious forms are embedded in comments about our looks, our appearance, our body language – and for the last eight years or so,  a lovely term has emerged: Resting Bitch Face.  Just what we needed.Responses to being told to smile run the gamut – from mere annoyance to outright anger, but a universal response is a moment of shock followed by a feeling of being less-than. And then we turn it inward and add it to the list of our failings.

What say we all stop doing that?!

We’d like to leave you with a potential strategy:
When someone tells you to smile more, respond with a one-word question:


See what happens.  The purpose of asking “why” is to re-balance the dynamics of the interchange, and put the other person in the role of having to explain themselves.

“I refuse to believe that you cannot be passionate and strong.”

– Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Prime Minister