Why Women Smile
Everywhere you go you see a smile; whether it is on a billboard or person they surround us. But how many of those are genuine smiles? In the essay Why Women Smile by Amy Cunningham it is stated that women are expected to smile at all times and often these smiles are artificial. What is in a smile? Could there be something in a smile’s physiology to help us better understand a person’s motives to smile? Possibly even health benefits. There is more behind a smile than a forced expression, smiles benefit us in several ways and they are real.
To better understand why we smile we first have to understand the different smiles. Here are different types of smiles, which are often grouped into two categories, Duchenne smiles named after Guillaume Duchenne, a 19th century French doctor who analyzed facial expressions, and “Pan Am smiles”, named after the decommissioned airline’s gesture of welcome (John Harlow, The Smile That Says Where You’re from). The Duchenne smile involves the movement of the zygomaticus major muscle near the mouth, and the orbicularis oculi muscle near the eyes (Paul Ekman, Wallace V. Friesen, and Richard J. Davidson, The Duchenne Smile: Emotional Expression and Brain Physiology: II). It is believed that this smile can only be produced as a result of genuine positive emotion, making it involuntary (Ekman, Friesen,and Davidson). By contrary, the “Pan Am smile” involves only the zygomaticus muscle, and is entirely voluntary, being used more often used to show politeness or mask true emotion (Harlow). This smile only depends on the zygomaticus major corner-tightening muscle and has been known to be called the “Botox smile” because, it leaves the muscles at the corners of the eyes motionless, much like cosmetic treatment (Harlow). This suggests a partial control we have over the kind of smile we show when it comes to realizing that we need to put a smile on our faces for social approval, but little control over smiling about things...
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