Why The “Resting Bitch Face” Is A Harmful Concept
by Ejin Jeong
I’ve been diagnosed with the terribly tragic disease of “Resting Bitch Face.” If you aren’t familiar with the deadly plague of Resting Bitch Face that has been sweeping over females in the world, it’s a traumatic syndrome in which a female looks threatening while wearing a neutral facial expression, or, a “resting face.” Throughout my life, I’ve constantly had people telling me to smile.
I recently went to Korea over the summer, and I got the chance to see relatives I haven’t seen for over two years. The main memory I can take away is my entire family pointing out “You look so much prettier when you smile.” Now this seems like a fairly innocent statement, if you ignore the fact that I would question myself, “so then what do I look like when I don’t smile?” From my aunt to my grandmother, to the caretaker, to my own mother it’s easy to see how society has molded certain expectations into the minds of each generation. Hearing this from my family was not culture shock. My facial expressions are commented on practically everyday. I’d always hear from friends at school go on about how I constantly look “miserable” or “so sad” during the school day, even if the opposite was going on inside.
Contrary to what you might believe, hearing that “I’d look prettier if I smiled” or that I ¨look so sad all the time” did not cause me to magically carve the ends of my lips into a perfectly wide “u”. I did not transform into a Joker-inspired psychopath whilst asking “why so serious?!
No matter how many times I hear about my heartless facial expressions, it hasn’t changed how I dictate my face today. I still look like heartless, angry “bitch."
The phrase “resting bitch face” is proof of society’s establishment of several expectations of femininity. One of them is an image of females being docile, innocent, kind, and sweet. This is followed by an expectation for women to constantly be pushing the ends of their mouths towards the sky in order to fit a box of “attractive."
From the streets of catcalling, to the tables with relatives, women everywhere are dragged down a cookie-cutter mold of sweet, docile, quiet, joyful poison. The treasured aspects of an “ideal woman” cannot possibly be attained by every person of the female gender. Because not only have these expectations led to commands to smile, but they have also led to other misdirected aspects of femininity, such as, keeping your legs closed when you sit down, eating delicately, and keeping a quiet, sweet voice. These expectations have to be shattered, because they will only get worse as time goes on. End the generations of expectations now, and take pride in your “resting bitch face”. I love my “resting bitch face” and you should too. It’s a matter of taking pride and ownership in me being able to dictate whatever I want to do with my appearance.