Heads Up to Republican Men: Telling Women to Smile More Is No Longer a Successful Strategy

Politics News Reince Priebus
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Somehow, in the year 2016, GOP chairman and father-of-every-’80s-rich-kid-movie-villain Reince Priebus had this to say after last night’s NBC presidential forum:

This prompted a few thousand angry replies, and a few funny ones too:

Here's the thing that Priebus, and other Republican men who have encouraged Hillary to smile more, or to be less shrill, don't seem to understand: It's sexist. There's no gray area—telling Clinton to smile more implies that you see her as some kind of failed peppy cheerleader, and not as a potential presidential candidate. Why would anyone smile when talking about the Iraq War, or ISIS, or poverty in America, or any of the other miserable issues plaguing our country? That would be weird. If anyone smiled during a discussion of those issues, I'd think that person was a disturbed sociopath. But by pointing out Hillary's seriousness, you betray the fact that deep down, you consider her little more than eye candy gone wrong.

Maybe this was an effective way to diminish women at some specific place and time in your lives. It probably was, actually. But it's not anymore, because people care way more about sexism now, and are less shy about pointing it out when it's broadcast in a blatant, public manner. The political equivalent of saying, “you'd look a lot prettier if you smiled” is not going to get you where you want, dudes. It has ceased to be a winning formula.

There are two alternatives here. One, you can engage Clinton on her policies and her background, and let the public decide which philosophy it likes better. Two, you can make up some bullshit about Benghazi and see where that gets you. Totally your call. Either way, my recommendation to you is that you let the smiling issue drop. Nobody can legislate the way you think, and if it's your deeply held conviction that all women should be bright-eyed glee club graduates whose biggest responsibility should be organizing country club luncheons, nobody can stop you. But if you'd rather not seem like a huge asshole to a large part of the population, and lose lots of votes in the process, my advice is to keep it to yourself. Or you might get owned: