Q

The real trouble with 'Resting Bitch Face'

RBF refers to a female face that appears to be angry or annoyed when at ease — but the term raises larger questions about expectations of female friendliness.

How would you react to your own expressionless face? Freelance writer Jessica Bennett was taken aback. After catching her own deadpan stare on television, she began to identify with the "Resting Bitch Face" or RBF meme on social media. 

RBF refers to a female face that appears to be angry or annoyed when at ease. Some see it as a harmless joke, while others consider it a problem that warrants surgery.

For Bennett — who recently wrote about the phenomenon in an article titled, I'm Not Mad. That's Just My RBF — the term is a springboard for several questions. Why are women expected to look pleasant? Are men as routinely told to smile when their faces are parked in neutral? 

Bennett tells guest host Candy Palmater that, although her original article had a light touch, she was concerned by feedback from women who have earnestly tried to "perfect" their faces and seem "not grumpy, but not overly nice."

q: Have you ever thought about your own resting face? Do people ask you if you're angry, sad or upset when you're not? Send us a photo of your own expressionless face and tell us: what were you actually thinking in that moment?

Email q@cbc.ca or tweet us your photo using the hashtag #MyRestingFaceSays. 

We wouldn't ask you to do it without trying it ourselves. Here are some q staffers' resting faces and what they're actually thinking. (CBC)

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