A few minutes ago, Hillary Clinton endured something infinitely familiar: she patiently listened to a deeply unqualified man as he (incorrectly) explained to her some basic knowledge. While debating tax codes, Donald Trump insisted that, as a Senator, Clinton could have single-handedly changed the tax code despite a Republican sitting in the White House at the time. Clinton smiled through the whole damn exchange, a smile she relied on throughout the night
Clinton—already a master of the “woman listening” face—listened patiently while Trump lectured; on her face a studied smile, big and empty, a smile that every woman knows, a smile that says, “I’m being likable by smiling,” but cloaks that internal voice loudly yelling, “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.” Nearly every woman knows the “fuck you” smile and every woman recognizes it for what it is. Clinton’s smile was studied perfection—both a mask from criticism and a clear signifier to those who have performed that smile.
Clinton flashed the smile multiple times throughout tonight’s debate while she listened to Trump’s infamously looping and meaningless tangents. It was truly a masterclass in the “fuck you” smile.