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On Resting Bitch Face and Sexism

Resting B**** Face & Sexism

By Iyanna Armwood



Resting B**** Face, or RBF, is a term used when a person’s neutral facial expression looks mean or upset. This could be a combination of a slight squint of the eyes, raised corners of the mouth, no smile, tightness around the eyes, and a look of contempt. The overall feeling RBF gives to others is an air of arrogance and unhappiness. Kristen Stewart and Kanye West are two celebrity examples who constantly have their face described as RBF. More often than not RBF is associated in a negative way and used to put down females who don’t smile.


Putting aside the fact that females who do have RBF most of the time aren’t upset, it’s a sexist belief that females are supposed to always smile and always be happy. So many females hear, “Don’t look so mean” or “Smile, beautiful.” It’s a frustrating thing to be told when you don’t feel like smiling or you’re not mean. It’s just your how you facial features relax. It’s especially agitating knowing most males are held to the same standard of needing to look pleasant and content. RBF isn’t a phenomenon that necessarily shows up more in females than it does male; however, it is more noticeable in women for the unrealistic expectation that females should get along with everyone.  


Being called attractive only when smiling isn’t flattering. Females are beautiful regardless of outside validation. Most of the RBF is a face that people can’t help making. It’s an unconsciously made expression and no one should be held accountable for putting their face at rest. Besides, smiling brings more wrinkles than frowning does.          

Iyanna is an English and Creative Writing major at Chatham University. You can follow Iyanna's Instagram @lively_bones where she pretty much posts selfies and crafts, or you can follow her Studyblr @studymydeer.
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