photo courtesy of the lovely Whitney herself.
Let's review Being A Human Being 101: I DO NOT owe you anything.
Just when you thought we were making feminist strides (I mean, sort of) something as asinine as this happens.
Last week, my girl Whitney Way Thore, the badass woman that is My Big Fat Fabulous Life, went into a convenience store to buy some Tylenol — presumably because she had a headache — and some gum — presumably because she either A. likes cavity prevention or B. wanted slightly fresher breath. Now, you need to know that Whitney of TV is not unlike Whitney of real actual life. Whitney is as kind and generous as they come. I speak from authority.
So Whitney goes into aforementioned convenience store and plops her desired purchases on the counter — simple enough, right? Nope. It's what happens next that caused the stir that has the Internet talking, and also being generally shitty. The clerk insists that Whitney smile before he'll give her the gum, which she is actually there to pay for with money. She says, "No." He doesn't sell her the gum.
Excuse me, WHAT?
That's what I said, too.
Whitney wrote about this experience in a post on her Facebook. I read about it that day, and I thought, Wow, that dude is ruuuude. Whitney is so completely chill. I would have told that ass to shove it up his cash register. Some other folks thought that, too. But it was the ones who didn't that really have me perplexed.
WHOA, BETH. Hold the phone.
Jerks — er, critics — have called Whitney rude, a prude, a snob, a bitch, and a lot of really inappropriate and just plain mean, things. Because she A. refused to smile and B. didn't express any remorse about this completely rational reaction to an unwanted expectation.
Oh hey, Stephanie.
(I bet Stephanie is second-guessing her response now.)
Why do we need feminism? This is why we need feminism.
Let's review Being A Human Being 101: I DO NOT owe you anything. I do not exist to do as you request of me. I do not care if you think I'd be "prettier" if I smile. I don't have to dress myself for you, lose weight for you, or wear makeup for you. I don't have to have sex with you or get naked for you. I do not have to smile for you. I do not live on this planet to affirm or impress you in any fashion.
Neither does Whitney.
I don't care if she's on TV. I don't care if she has 2 zillion Facebook followers. I don't care how you think she should behave. She doesn't owe this guy, or any other guy, a smile or anything. Ever. The end.
There are a lot of questions to be considered here, not the least of which is, Would we expect this of a man? No. Let me just answer that for you. No. We wouldn't. We wouldn't because this culture is built on obedience and expectation and conformity and beauty, and those things almost always apply to women.
Saturday night, while my husband laid on our bed browsing the news and Instagram, I waxed my legs, while simultaneously waiting for my lemon/chamomile face mask to dry (the third step in my 3-Step Cleansing Process). After which I applied lavender-coconut oil to my (now smooth) legs and then three different things to my face — the price of which totals about $147. No one made me do any of that. I plunked down the cash. I heated the wax. But I'm no fool — all of those things, down to the $74 Age Defying Retinol Exfoliating Moisturizing Brightening Lotion, were sold to me on the premise of what I should do/look/be.
My husband's beauty routine? Soap. Also, no one has ever told him to smile while purchasing gum. Literally never.
If you're having a shit day and you don't feel like smiling, DO NOT. I don't care who tells you to smile — if you don't feel like smiling, you don't have to. If you don't want to wax your legs or wear makeup or do the Stairmaster a hundred times a month so your ass is pert or wear a shirt that covers your third stomach roll or take off your leggings because some ass told you they weren't real pants or SMILE, don't.
And when Beth/Stephanie/rest of the asshole Internet gives you shit, call me. I have your back. #RealFeminismForRealLife
Whitney talked about this on her YouTube channel today. And I love her forever. The end.