Reminder: Stop Telling Women to Smile (and That Includes Bella Hadid)

Because we can get the job done without flashing our pearly whites 24/7

Bella Hadid wears a pink strapless gown and looks over her right shoulder at the camera.

(Photo: Rex Shutterstock)

Bella Hadid has just about had it with people telling her to smile, and tbh, so have we.

During an interview with older sister Gigi for the June/July 2018 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, the model opened up about the reason behind her trademark poker face. “People always say I have the same facial expressions. But what they don’t realize is that for a long time I looked that way because photographers on set would direct me to look ‘bored’ or ‘very nonchalant.’ It isn’t necessarily the way I really am,” she said.

She went on to explain how much the commentary has affected her, saying, “for a while I fought a lot of battles—with myself, with people online—and it brought me down. When people would say, ‘Oh, she’s so mean,’ I wanted to say, ‘Maybe I’ve just had a bad day! Or maybe I’ve just been crying.’ You never know what people are going through,” she said.

It seems a ridic that we’re *still* talking about why these comments are BS, but as a refresher, “telling a woman to smile is a gross display of male power or privilege,” as writer Karen Fratti puts it in a v. v. on-point op-ed for Hello Giggles. “Even in the most benign scenarios, it equates to asking a woman to change her behavior [sic] or appearance in order to fit what [men] think is most pleasant.”

And literally no one is immune, from presidential candidates to civil rights icons to one of the best athletes in the world to regular women, who have also voiced their frustrations over this kind of sexist commentary.

In Hadid’s case, the criticism is particularly silly when you consider who’s taking those unsmiling photos—usually one of the hoards of paparazzi standing outside her home with cameras, which isn’t really anything to smile about.

“[People] see such a small piece of our lives, like paparazzi photos of us leaving the house. You know how awkward that is? To walk out of your own home and have 40 people waiting outside. And then you need to smile at random strangers,” she said. To which Gigi responded, “And if you don’t, they’re like, ‘Oh, she looks like a bitch today.’ In fact, though, you have more patience and compassion than anyone I know.”

But regardless of the criticism she has faced, the model continues to grace magazine covers and runways around the world, proving something women have known all along: you don’t need to flash your pearly whites 24/7 to get the job done.


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