After Hillary Clinton posted major primary wins on Tuesday night, some male pundits seemed more concerned about her voice and appearance than anything else.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough in particular got a lot of blowback for telling Hillary to "smile."
Smile. You just had a big night. #PrimaryDay— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) March 16, 2016
To the many women who deal with street harassment and the everyday double standards of how women "should" talk or present themselves, it was a tone-deaf comment to make about the first female candidate with a good chance of winning the presidency.
Full Frontal's Samantha Bee had the perfect response:
.@JoeNBC pic.twitter.com/YZHVIKxE8O— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) March 16, 2016
And Bee inspired others to tweet their own stern-faced selfies under the #SmileForJoe hashtag:
@joeNBC @FullFrontalSamB #smileforjoe we don't need to smile to get it done! pic.twitter.com/gpxDAAxTS7— LoudestMamaInTheRoom (@elkeown_mama) March 16, 2016
Meanwhile, Scarborough balked at the suggestion that he said something insensitive to women and called the backlash "fake outrage."
We've called @BernieSanders grumpy for a year. @HillaryClinton is tough as hell. She doesn't need this fake outrage. https://t.co/pBGLsjoshT— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) March 16, 2016
A lot of women didn't appreciate that.
A whole lot of women tell you that you crossed a line and you call it "fake outrage"? https://t.co/wTi9MpcFpK— Rebecca Leber (@rebleber) March 16, 2016
There's a big difference between when a man calls another man grumpy vs. when a man tells a woman to smile. https://t.co/iibHWX3Fko— Caitlin Abber (@everydaycaitlin) March 16, 2016
@JoeNBC The outrage is not fake. You used rhetoric most women are sick of hearing. If you don't understand why we're mad, listen. Learn.— Jaelithe (@jaelithe) March 16, 2016
To his credit, Scarborough finally did seem to listen to one woman:
As someone who *has* been followed & told to smile by strangers, I disagree this is "fake." Rather, it's too real. https://t.co/b97Wo1R5fa— Emily Rossi (@leadinglatte) March 16, 2016
That IS insulting in that context . I can understand why you'd be upset. https://t.co/qR6K31pq4R— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) March 16, 2016
The whole kerfuffle illustrated a bigger problem: Some people either refuse to take women's experiences with sexism seriously or get too busy defending themselves against "accusations of sexism" to engage with the critique.
Various male pundits who complained that Hillary was "shouting" insisted that it didn't mean they were being sexist, without acknowledging why people might be frustrated.
Scarborough tried to argue that he is tough on both candidates, and that Hillary is "tough" enough to take that criticism.
But the people who called out his and others' remarks weren't saying Clinton is weak or needs to be coddled. They were saying she deserves to be treated with respect, and that comments like these play into disrespectful sexist stereotypes that don't deserve public airtime.
And that it would look pretty ridiculous if male public figures actually did get the same kind of criticism:
Jesus, Garland. You're being nominated to the Supreme Court. You're having a big day. Smile.— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) March 16, 2016