Should We Still Say “Cheese”?

Is the word “cheese” too outdated? Do we need another word? Or should we just say “smile”?


Whenever you tell people to smile, they WILL smile. “Cheese” isn’t the only way to let loose.

Kal Pandit, Bear Hub Staff

In every photo, it seems like people want us to say cheese. It’s supposed to help us make a smiling motion — but does it? At best, we get an awkward smile, with our teeth forming a noticeable gap between each end and a face that screams “I don’t want to be here.” Is it time to get rid of “cheese”?

At the same time, why would you use such a boring word like “smile”? It doesn’t have the same flair as “cheese.” In the pursuit of quality journalism, Bear Hub would like to present some options.


“Smile” gets the message across. “Smile” means smile, period. There’s no other way of interpreting it. “Cheese” does not force you to smile. If you’re saying cheese in a casual conversation, you’re likely not grinning and smiling. However, you’re grinning and smiling when taking a photo because it’s an actual photo! You know the situation you’re in — you have to smile. So why not say smile?


Yet, “smile” doesn’t have the same ring to it. When you’re convincing younger kids to smile, “smile” is way too boring. In other words, “smile” seems like an order in a child’s mind. That’s why people use fun words like “cheese.” It’s always a great way to get a laugh out of everyone — young and old — just before the stressful moments of a photograph.


It seems like the rest of the world does it better than us. Thailand says “Pepsi.” Denmark says “orange.” Spain says “patata” (“potato” in English). Germany says “spaghetti.” We, the American people, should beat the world, or at least try. We can come up with our own quintessentially American term that both entertains children and serves as a signal to smile. How does “hot dog” sound?

After weighing the pros and cons of each option, it’ll be time to come up with your own opinion and make an informed decision. So, should we still say “cheese”?