Satirical Video Shows Women How to Fake Smiles for Male Acceptance

The 'Smile Bitch Training Camp' video reveals how important it is for women to constantly smile, especially when ordered to do so by catcalling men.
Aug 12, 2014·
Isabel Weisz is an editorial intern for summer 2014. She is an environmental analysis & policy major at Pitzer College and is originally from Santa Cruz, Calif.

“Smile like a lady.”

This phrase might sound harmless enough, but say it to a stranger and it becomes a rude command. Janelle James' "Smile Bitch Training Camp" video brings to light a form of catcalling that might sound positive but still has negative effects: being ordered to constantly smile, no matter what.

There are plenty of reasons why you might not be smiling as you walk down the street.

“Maybe your dog died,” the video reasons, “but smile!”

Since when did a woman's facial expression become someone else’s property? There are plenty of problems with any form of catcalling, and this is no exception. A woman on the street has no obligation to look a certain way or do what a man tells her to, including smiling like a lunatic 24-7.

As recent videos from Cards Against Harassment reveal, women are continually hassled on the street—and not just about the expressions on their faces. An online study found that more than 99 percent of women say they have experienced one form of harassment or another on the street.

“Now guys never have to have their day ruined by seeing my unhappy face,” one gal in the video spoof says.

A training camp for smiling is absurd—but so is the idea that women should always look a certain way when walking down the street.