Many women have been told that they suffer from an apparently incurable disease known as 'resting bitch face.' This disorder is rooted in a woman's inability to smile or come across as inviting when they're feeling neutral. Some women may even look mad. But this completely made-up phrase is inherently rooted in sexism, according to The Week.
This term sprung up around 2013 when a joking video coined the term. Since then, the hashtag 'resting bitch face' has appeared on Instagram more than 950,000 times and some individuals have even gotten plastic surgery to exude a more pleasant appearance.
The news source notes that the term "bitch" alone is a key indicator that this is a gendered concept aimed at targeting women. It's far rarer for a man to be critiqued regarding his facial expression, as society typically expects women to exude a pleasant persona.
"If a man's neutral expression seems unpleasant or annoyed, that's just him getting to be a person. As country singer Kasey Musgraves once said, a more accurate name for RBF would be Resting 'This Wouldn't Bother You If I Was a Guy' Face," notes The Week writer Samantha Grossman.
The fact of the matter is, women don't have to smile for the rest of society's sake, whether they're in a bad mood or not. Some women are angry. Some are neutral. Some are among the 32% of adults who are concerned by the look of their teeth. Regardless, many men -- and even other women -- are finding themselves partaking in sexist behaviors.
New research has found that 60% of Americans believe the #MeToo movement is a result of widespread societal issues, not just small localized incidents. And though studies and surveys have also shown that sexism is improving, they also show that men are less likely to advocate for gender equality in the workplace, share household duties, and combat the double standard of having sex before marriage.
But what about men who are fathers? Many celebrities, politicians, and higher-ups have claimed that they cannot possibly be sexist because they have daughters of their own.
This claim has been touted time and time again, but a new study has tried to shed light on the matter.
The U.K. survey revealed that it's a mixed bag. While most fathers actually do hold less-traditional views on gender roles, men with daughters over the age of six are less likely to hold sexist views. For fathers with children under this age, more men endorsed traditional gender roles, according to Psychology Today.
"This is consistent with the notion that the more contact with their own daughters, and the more that their daughters have contact with the outside world, the more that men want women overall to be able to be independent and self sufficient should they choose to be," Psychology Today notes.
By comparison, having a daughter did little to affect the views of the mother.
The best way to combat sexism is by spreading awareness, i.e., the lie of resting bitch face. Encouraging women to do whatever they want is another great way of fighting sexism, even if it seems like a potential job opportunity or activity is a traditionally "masculine" role. For example, one mile of hiking alone can burn over 500 calories, but many women may not engage in athletic ventures like these for the sake of femininity.
Though some men have improved the rates of sexism in America, there's still a long way to go before sexist values are admonished among the majority.