On Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump participated in NBC’s Commander-In-Chief Forum to discuss their qualifications to head the United States military.
Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican Party, was watching. His conclusion: Clinton needs to smile more.
@HillaryClinton was angry + defensive the entire time – no smile and uncomfortable – upset that she was caught wrongly sending our secrets.
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) September 8, 2016
It’s unclear what, exactly, Hillary would have to smile about when discussing drone strikes or the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
Imagine being an adult in 2016 and still not knowing how obnoxious women find it when you tell women they should smile
— Erin 🎶Gloria🎶 Ryan (@morninggloria) September 8, 2016
"Smile more! Be more upbeat!"
Hillary Clinton is running for President, not Miss America.
— Erin Ruberry (@erinruberry) September 8, 2016
Seriously, every woman who reads that Reince Priebus “smile” tweet will mentally kick him in the dick with high heels.
— I'm So Over This (@Johngcole) September 8, 2016
But this isn’t the first time Republican men have urged Clinton to smile more during the campaign. After her dominant performance on Super Tuesday during the primary, former Republican Congressman and current MSNBC host Joe Scarborough warned Hillary she needed to smile.
Smile. You just had a big night. #PrimaryDay
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) March 16, 2016
Men telling women to “smile more” is a well-known sexist trope.
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Feminists and other people who are not jerks think it’s inappropriate for someone to police another person’s facial expressions. This has been going on for decades.
Back in 1970, the feminist writer Shulamith Firestone proposed her “dream action” for the women’s liberation movement: she called for “a smile boycott” in which, she wrote, “all women would instantly abandon their ‘pleasing’ smiles — henceforth smiling only when something pleased THEM.”
Jessica Valenti explained earlier this year in the Guardian that “there is special disdain for ‘smile’ because of its particular condescension, and the tired trope that women should be forever chipper even as they’re walking down the street or, you know, running for president of the United States.”
In a press conference on Thursday morning, Hillary responds:
We were talking about serious issues last night. Donald Trump chose to talk about his deep admiration. Maybe he did it with a smile and the RNC appreciated that.