On being told to ‘smile’: “It makes me madder and madder every time it happens.”

Location:  Penn Quarter, NW DC
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

I yelled at a “smile baby” guy just now. This one couldn’t stop with just telling me to smile, but also told me that I walk “like I am sad.” I told him “I can walk however I want to walk, I don’t need your advice, thanks.” He says “well I am just telling you that the way you walk is telling the whole world you are sad, just dropping some wisdom on you.” So I go “Well, telling smart women that they don’t know how to walk right makes you look pathetic and stupid, not wise, asshole.” The awful part is I feel like I’ve just been in a fight. 15 minutes later at the safety of my desk, my hands are still shaky and I feel sick. I get that the “smile, baby!” guys don’t understand how invasive it is, but it makes me madder and madder every time it happens.

Submitted on 12/3/12 by “Muk”

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault?
Submit your story to help raise awareness about the pervasiveness and harmful effects of street harassment. All submissions are posted anonymously unless otherwise specified.

If you experience or have experienced sexual harassment on the DC Metro system:
Please consider reporting to Metro Transit Police: www.wmata.com/harassment; 202-962-2121.