Memo To Women: Did You Smile Enough Today?

If not, you may be causing offense. Then again, smiling too much or at the wrong times could suggest that you lack conviction. That you’re soft.  Maybe an airhead.  Republican National Committee Chairman, Reince Priebus, criticized Hillary Clinton for not smiling enough during a national security forum. That’s playing a gender card.  Sure, he’d love to have us equate situation appropriate smiling with low likability.

Research indicates that women smile more than men. It’s expected. Think about it. If you’re a woman, you probably smile at people as you enter an elevator or as you pass someone in a restaurant.

At work, however, credibility can be undermined by frequent smiles. They can soften the impact of a serious statement or even contradict it.  The catch is that subconsciously we tend to be more comfortable around women who smile. We like them more.  Men often subconsciously interpret female smiles as gestures of appeasement rather than friendliness. You’re sort of damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  But if you want to be a leader, you can’t walk around smiling about and at everyone.

Sure Priebus would like Clinton do that. Then his boss could accuse her of not being presidential. Oh sorry, he’s already done that!

Whether you support Hillary Clinton or not, these kinds of tactics are lowbrow.  They deserve to be revealed for what they are — gender expectation cheap shots.  It’s enough to make you not smile for a week!

 

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