Earlier this year, a troubled young man killed several UC-Santa Barbara students before turning a gun on himself. This person (whose name is best lost to the sands of time) was fueled by a lifelong inability to extract from women the intimacy he felt they owed him, even though he ended up killing more men than women. As details emerged, confirming the gunman’s motivation, the #YesAllWomen campaign arose, offering women a platform from which to describe encounters with overly entitled men–ranging from everyday annoyances to once-in-a-lifetime horrors. Even as that campaign has tapered off, though, an emphasis on calling out the kinds of behaviors detailed in those hashtags has remained in the discourse. A recent video taking aim at one particular indignity lots of women encounter daily opts for a humorous approach, even though its creator is not joking at all.
The fake infomercial for “Smile Bitch Training Camp” presents an alternative tactic for women when they’re told by men to smile, while walking along trying to live their lives. Apparently, there’s an alternative to rolling one’s eyes or having a confrontation, and that is to learn “through a system of physical and psychological torture” how to smile at all times, no matter what is going on. Created by comedian Janelle James, “Smile Bitch Training Camp” is a sharp rebuke to men who perhaps think they’re giving a compliment instead of an insulting demand. Although the video is shot and edited with the light tone of a typical parody, James herself cuts through the glowing testimonials to vent something closer to her actual thoughts on the matter: “Maybe it’s your fucking face and you don’t feel like smiling.” While the video is perhaps destined to enlighten very few men prone to making such requests, it will no doubt provide cathartic actual smiles to many of the women they’ve already harassed.
H/t to Dangerous Minds