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How to respond to men who tell you to 'smile'

#FeministNewYearResolutions has inspired creative suggestions for how to deal with men who tell women to smile

Guess what’s the ultimate misogynist evil that obsesses feminists:

Men who say, “Smile,” when you pass them on the sidewalk!

Yup, that’s what I’ve learned from perusing several hundred of the entries on #FeministNewYearResolutions, the hashtag for feminists hoping to make things different in 2015.

You likely won’t find many actual feminist New Year’s resolutions on this Twitter page -- “Renew my subscription to Ms. magazine,” or “Remember to donate $100 to Emily’s List,” for example. But you will find plenty of data about the indignities, real and imaginary, that have eaten moth holes into the brains of feminists.

For them it’s not New Year’s but Festivus, with the Airing of the Grievances as its central ritual.

And it turns out that the numero uno grievance, arousing feminist vengeance fantasies that range from castration to murder, is … those darn strangers on the sidewalk saying, “Smile.”

@Tamelonie complains that being told by strangers to smile “is a form of women being told they have to be attractive at all times.”

@IjeomaOluo suggests that whenever a guy tells you to smile, “point 2 another rando dude and say ‘make him smile first.’ ”

@sarahlery thinks women should respond by explaining “to stupid morons that a lack of smile is often due to brain activity…try it sometime.”

And then there are the tweets of images illustrating how women should aggressively and violently respond to men telling them to smile.   

The homicidal impulses that the “smile” guys arouse among feminists extend to other forms of male interaction or attempted interaction too. For instance:

Saying “Good morning”: “Send every sexist pig” who utters those words “to the bottom of the sea in a leaky [expletive] submarine!” tweets @BethTexasGirl.

Nothing seems to turn a feminist indigo with wrath like “mansplaining” (translation: a man explaining something to a woman, because feminists hate the idea of a man knowing more about a topic than they do). Such as:

“Work on my…eye roll…in preparation for mansplaining,” tweets @ann_kilzer.

“[B]uild a facility where we can lock up the mansplainers,” tweets @BrasierLeeanne.

And it goes without saying that feminists can’t take criticism -- or compliments, for that matter. For example:

If some guy comments on what you’re eating, “say ‘My body, my choice,’" tweets @serenevannoy, who also suggests telling men, “I don't exist to decorate your world.”

But many feminists don’t even need a specific male provocation to go verbally postal -- just the idea of men in general will do it for them. Look at these:

@keiradear: Supply the world with “free renewable energy by inventing a generator that runs solely on male tears.”

If some guy asks why you’re not married, “yell ‘I'M MARRIED TO THE STRUGGLE,’” tweets @IjeomaOluo, who also says that when men “lament the good old days, cut the electricity & demand they die of Cholera.”

And then there’s @KojimaKaminaDes, who tweets, “Do this to the patriarchy” along with a photo of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack.

Now, if you’ve gotten the impression that feminists are a splinter group of vengeful man-haters obsessed with petty microaggressions and their own victim status -- you’re wrong!

Feminists simply believe that women and men are equal -- except that women are more equal than men. And if you argue otherwise -- that’s mansplaining! And you should be locked up.

Finally, yes, those male strangers who order you to “smile” when you pass them on the sidewalk are annoying. But you don’t have to knee them in the groin. Just look at them quizzically and say, “I beg your pardon?” Then walk on.

Also remember that soon, in just a few short years, no man you pass on the sidewalk will be paying any attention to you at all.

Charlotte Allen writes frequently about feminism, politics and religion. Follow her on Twitter @MeanCharlotte.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion

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