Too often, women are told to smile more. “You look pretty when you smile,” “You have a beautiful smile, you should smile more,” “Your smile makes me happy, always smile,” are a few but familiar compliments women get all the time.
Telling a woman to smile is an insidious form of harassment and sexism because the people who do it and their supporters often say it's about manners or politeness.
Even in the most pleasurable situations, this can be interpreted as asking a woman to change her behavior or appearance to suit what you find most pleasant.
We don't tell men to smile because women have been objectified and socialized throughout human civilization to believe that their worth is linked to what men think of them.
Men who ask women to smile on the street or to be polite company perpetuate this.
Sometimes a woman's worth is actually tied to the smile on her face.
Men like seeing women smile. They are attracted to a woman’s smile because it expresses interest and affection.
To a man, if a woman is smiling at him, then she must like him or maybe even want sex with him. While they find women who do not smile less desirable and prideful.
Women on the hand, find guys who smile too much a turn-off. They assume a guy’s smile is a sign of desperation for sex.
Also women like more masculine features in men, and when you smile it can be misinterpreted that you are a feminine man.
So if you want to look more attractive to that gorgeous girl you admire next door, you might want to turn down your smiles.
The psychology behind smiling
Although smiling is a key to friendly social attraction, men and women react to it differently.
According to psychologists, non-verbal expressions and body language play a big role in defining how we feel about people.
One study revealed that men rated women with a big, cheesy smile on their faces as more sexually appealing than women who do not smile. They see women who don’t smile as proud and overly confident.
Women, however, find men who did not smile to be more attractive sexually, while those who smile appeared creepy.
The same study found that both men and women are attracted to people that appear shameful. Shame has been linked to trust in a social environment.
People trust you more when they feel ashamed of themselves. This could be the reason men and women choose a partner they can trust when they don’t feel confident about themselves.
The psychology behind the smile is the expression of femininity and submission. How we judge attractiveness and unattractiveness can be attributed to tradition and cultural norms.
Evolutionary theories, for example, suggest that pride and sad gestures represent competence, status, protection, and ability to care for the family.
Since these qualities are traditionally attributed to men when it comes to gender roles, some women may be attracted to these men.
This is why women prefer strong and quiet men. Whereas a happy guy with a smile on his face comes off as creepy or worst, a serial killer.
Most men view smiling as subservient, weak, and vulnerable- a cultural norm that pushes women into a traditional stereotype.
However, while men tend to find smiling and receptive women sexually attractive, women don’t.
Women find happy guys significantly less sexually attractive than swaggering or brooding men. Which explains why they are drawn to “bad boys” with straight faces.
Does this mean you should stop smiling?
Not really. Matters of the heart can be different for everyone. Besides as much as women frown at smiling guys, they also want a trustworthy man, and smiling expresses trust.
Smiling enhance the male attractiveness for long-term relationships. So if you want to look attractive and trustworthy, don’t be a stone-cold face. Smile when you compliment her, but don’t smile too often to the point you freak her out.
Jessey Anthony is a motivational speaker, fitness coach and relationship expert who helps people become confident in themselves in any challenges they face in life. Sign up to my newsletter & more cool stuff.
This article appeared here.