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Brushstrokes: Smile – The World is Watching

Illustration of a man and woman having a conversation. The woman is smiling.

A smile could just be an innocuous communication, expressing politeness or warmth. But for a woman out in public, her smile is often misconstrued as encouragement or freely-given consent or taken as a sign that she fits into the mould of ‘feminine’ submissiveness, making her a target for harassment. Therefore, her smile has to be altered to either meet certain expectations or to avoid exploitation or patriarchal violence. As the Everyday Feminism comic Smile – The World is Watching illustrates, patriarchy controls women’s mobility in public spaces in even the subtlest ways.

This comic was originally posted on Everyday Feminism.

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