A woman named Nora McInerny Purmort was working at a booth for a non-profit she founded to honor her late husband, who died of brain cancer about a year ago. After a pretty emotional day she she definitely wasn't smiling when a strange man approached her. She wrote about what happened next on Medium:
A few weeks ago I had an incredibly condescending and offensive experience wherein a very drunk man approached me to tell me I should smile. He clearly thought it was a way to flirt with me. You know, hey, I’ve been watching you (his opening line, not in any way unsettling for a woman to hear) and you should smile. You just don’t look very nice when you’re not smiling.
For context: I was manning the Still Kickin booth, hugging strangers and friends every ten seconds and crying with people over their dead people and my dead husband.
Here's the tweet she sent out later to blow off some of the steam she was feeling after this encounter:
Most tweets are just screams into the void and should die a silent death there. This one, however, was found by some very dedicated misogynists. Stop Telling Women to Smile is actually a campaign that is pretty searchable, because men telling ladies they don't know what to do with their face is a common phenomenon. One Twitter user was probably looking for mentions of it, or for Twitter bios that say "feminist," to retweet to his 15k angry followers. He did, and she started getting some pretty nasty responses:
After her account got flooded with mentions and threatening DMs, Nora wasn't exactly sure what to do. Eventually she posted this message to Facebook, including photos of one of her most abusive trolls, essentially doxxing him to the Internet.
It's long, but her basic message to this guy who thinks rape is an appropriate reaction to a frown is this:
I don’t know who this guy is, and I bet he’s got a mother who loves him and he is kind to some people and pays his taxes on time. I don’t know what happens to people to make them this way, I just know that women deserve better and that there are rules:
You don’t get to make me lock my account.
You don’t get to make me afraid.
You don’t get to hide behind a pseudonym when you post selfies, talk about rape and use the N word freely.
And now she's just waiting to see what happens: