Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Body policing.]

image of actress Natalie Dormer, a young thin white woman with blond hair and a crooked smile
[Photo via.]

"It really bugs me the way people criticize how actors look. ...I get accused of having a haughty smugness. I have a lopsided mouth. I can't help it. I was born with it. It looks as if I am smirking. I have had my publicist tell me, 'Don't do that smile on the red carpet.' I'm, like, 'That's my smile.'"—Actress Natalie Dormer in a recent interview.

I'm always fascinated when female celebrities talk about smiling, or not smiling, and how often it comes back to having been policed for the quality or quantity of their smiles. Many years ago, I read an interview with Victoria Beckham about how she doesn't smile for many public photos because she doesn't particularly love the way she looks when she smiles, and I've read an interview with Kristen Stewart in which she said she feels that if she smiled more on red carpets and for photo shoots, she feels like she'd just be criticized in a whole different way than she is for typically not smiling.

All of which is tied into the "resting bitch face" narrative.

Add this to the Can't Fucking Win List: If a woman's face is serious, she's a bitch. If she smiles, she's unserious or trying too hard or fake or or or. If she smiles, but her smile fails somehow to be perfect, then she should stop smiling, or smile differently, or change the entire structure of her face, I guess.

I have a lopsided mouth and a crooked smile, and "resting bitch face," so I've gotten this my whole life. If I'm not smiling, I'm aloof or mean. If I am smiling, I'm smirking. If I try to force an unnatural but more symmetrical smile, then I'm fake.

Can't fucking win.

And I know I'm not alone.

All of this without a trace of irony. Nothing could make a woman less inclined to smile than having her face constantly policed for substandard smiling.

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