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Thursday Jul 06 2017

BLOG: Tearing each other apart, one smile at a time

An air hostess was targeted on social media for not smiling at the passengers. Photos: PIA (L), Twitter (R). 

You smile too much. You don’t smile enough. You should smile more often. Hide away your troubles and put on a smile for others.

As a woman, I have been often told to control my smile. I shouldn’t be smiling too much because that doesn’t look nice neither should I not smile as I should appear ‘warm’ and ‘welcoming’.

Does watching a random person smile make me happy? Heck, yes! Would I judge others if they don’t smile at me? Why should I?

Recently, a Pakistani actress Shama Junejo reshared a picture of a Pakistan International Airlines air hostess and captioned it as ‘World’s most senior air hostess welcomes the passengers onboard with this face’.

Besides her initial derogatory remarks, Junejo put herself in a precarious position by explaining what she meant. “OLD WORKING WOMAN is paid to smile, isn’t she! If she can’t, then she should retire & let some unemployed fresher do her job,” she wrote.

Of course, air hostesses are just meant to smile at the passengers regardless of exhaustion, tardiness, current mood, life circumstances or just having a ‘bad day’ at work. The cosmopolitan culture has predisposed us to expect smiles plastered on faces of women. (Afterall, why should they feel any other way?)

Shama, a self-proclaimed feminist, received a lot of hate for trying to bring down another woman for not smiling at the passengers and being old.

Having unrealistic expectations from your own kind, doesn’t make you smarter or better. It’s not the media or people do not know how to tackle critique, it’s the way women hit back at other women telling them ‘how to do their jobs’ which gets blood boiling.

However, Shama then cleared the air with the air hostess and appreciated PIA for understanding her ‘critique’, which had nothing to do with air hostess not serving the passengers or not responding to them. The main problem was that the air hostess defied stereotypes and showed herself to be a person, which bothered other women the most.

Now, Shama shares pictures of the air hostess and helps highlight struggles of working for an airline.

It bothers me that of all the relevant issues this is the one which needed to be redressed. Of course, a woman showing raw emotions is just as pressing an issue as any other. Rather than defending the right to expression, women continue to bog each other down. Much easier to break each other's spirits than lifting others up.  

With that note, now let’s put a smile on that face.