Society and the Smile

Vickie Collins By Vickie Collins, 18th Mar 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3mrzmlck/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

Culture has changed it's attitude about pictures, and smiles....and smiles in general over the course of the years.

The evolution from no smile to insisted upon smile

Anybody these days who doesn't immediately slap a smile on their face when the camera even looks like it is pointing, or going to point, in their direction is considered somehow diminished. "Smile", you will hear yelled at the subject. In fact, the smile is so often found in demand, that one can't just relax without being told that a smile is expected in some settings.

However, if you look at pictures of our grandparents, or even some of our parents, you will not see a smile. Why is that?

A couple of possible reasons

There are many ideas that you will see out there to explain how and why it used to be the way it was. One is that it took a long time and posing got tiresome, and by the time the camera was ready to go, everybody had lost the will to smile. Another is that they had bad teeth and didn't want to show them.

I did some research because of a question asked on another site. The answer seemed to be that rotten teeth were so wide spread a hundred years ago, that that would not diminish the person in the eyes of anybody of their time.

That leaves the "tired from posing" as a possible explanation except that more likely the subjects of those older pictures NEVER had a smile on their face to begin with. And why is that?

What I think is the real reasoni

Because smiles were seen as being the action of a drunk, a simpleton or a clown. Serious, intelligent people did not paste a big old smile on their face. So you have humorists like Mark Twain saying that nothing is so silly as to paste a smile on your face so your posterity will have to look at your silliness.

The answer, then, is that smiles were not just seen as being the wonderful thing that we now seem to think they are.

Interesting? I found it so. How about you, did you know this?

Tags

Culture, Peer Pressure, Smile, Society, Tradition

Meet the author

author avatar Vickie Collins
I am a gay crossdresser who writes under my non-de-plume. I have a variety of interests, science fiction, religion, psychology. I recently moved from Nashville Tn to New Orleans.

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Comments

author avatar Carol Roach
19th Mar 2015 (#)

yes I knew this and still today we don't always smile, for my medicare card the don't allow smiling, for passports and driver as well

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author avatar Vickie Collins
19th Mar 2015 (#)

Actually I didn't know that we were not allowed to smile for drivers licenses. I know that in Louisana they wouldn't let me wear my glasses while in Tennessee, they required me to. Louisana said it was because of the glare caused by the light hitting the glasses. I know I am not allowed to drive without them.

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author avatar brendamarie
24th Mar 2015 (#)

Vickie congratulation on being the author of the day

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author avatar Vickie Collins
24th Mar 2015 (#)

Wow, Brendamarie...thanks. LOL

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author avatar Kingwell
24th Mar 2015 (#)

Very interesting article! I hadn't really thought of it before but looking at old pictures I see just how true it is. Congratulations on being author of the day!

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author avatar Charlene Collins
13th Apr 2015 (#)

I see a smile as something that helps you look approachable. You can tell if a smile is real because the eyes 'smile' too.

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author avatar Charlene Collins
13th Apr 2015 (#)

I was allowed to smile on one of my driver's licenses. I don't drive any more.

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