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Resting B**** Face

Why I'm Not Clowning

By Ada Castro
On February 29, 2016

Photos by Rodney Latham  Pictured Left to Right: Makenna Roa, Jessica King, Jessica Beall

OTTAWA--Lately, I have been incredibly sensitive to some societal assumptions about gender, and to be honest, I am MAD! Let’s discuss some of the annoying aspects of how Resting Bitch Face or RBF, is a sexist term.

Jessica Bennett, from The New York Times in her article “I am Not Mad. That’s Just My RBF” explains some of the key concepts to understanding how this term has become embedded in our society without us even noticing.

“Humans make judgements based on facial cues. Studies have found that people are less likely to find friendly looking faces guilty of crimes: people who look 'happy' are generally deemed more trustworthy, too,” wrote Bennett in August.

Let’s discuss three main points to discover how and why this term is sexist and unacceptable for people to keep employing.

First, it is in fact a gender issue because those accused of RBF are all women: Victoria Beckham, Kristen Stewart, ME! No magazine has ever dedicated an entire article to male celebrities who are considered to have RBFs.

Is it OK then for men to walk around with fart faces on? (Which is ridiculous because some people actually think that is sexy.) But then women are considered “rude” or “unhappy” as a result of their natural faces.

Second, it does not happen only to celebrities. Ordinary people, such as girls at Ottawa University, suffer the consequences of this awful trend -- and we are tired of it! GA Jasmine Brown and junior McKenna Stang were happy that finally someone was saying something about this and calling men out.

Third, yes, you read it, calling men out, because women do not attack other women for their Resting Bitch Faces. In fact, they understand that we might be thinking of something else worthy of a serious face, or just staring at space.

EJ Dickson in her article for MicConnections.com explains this better:

“It wasn’t until I could put a name to it and identify what, exactly, my RBF meant: that other people were picking up on my anxiety and interpreting it as coldness, or even meanness,” Dickson wrote. 

We both remember having male principals or teachers at our school saying “Castro smile,” “Castro don’t be mad all the time,” “Castro you’re so bitter” or even now at the halls, when I am sitting at the desk for Resident Assistant duty, male residents stop by and ask me to smile. To which I respond, “Are you telling me a joke? Because I don’t see any reason to walk around like a clown for that matter.”

I bet that most women can pinpoint an experience in their lifetime in which they have been told they need to look happier and kinder because that is just our role. Well, let me tell you something, guys, the way my face looks is none of your business, and we are allowed to have a bad day or to simply give a little paid vacation to our face muscles.

And girls, don’t conform to this societal convention. Just as my friend LaMoine Tatum said, “You be unapologetically you, which is unapologetically beautiful.”

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