I have what pop culture now refers to as RBF (resting bitch face). When I’m not smiling, I can look really pissed off. For a lot of my life, it was a result of my actually not being happy. For others, it was because I thought I would look weird walking around with a giant smile on my face.
Now, in my 30s, it’s for a very specific reason. And before I elaborate, yes I fully understand that this behavior is probably not helping me in meeting a guy (on those days when I actually want to meet one). That specific reason is when I’m out on my own and come across anyone male. As an example, I was coming out of my water aerobics class the other night and a guy started walking across the lot in my general direction. I grabbed a hold of my pepper spray and put on the nastiest RBF I could find and glared at him.
Most women I think will fully understand why I do this, but for those that don’t…let me elaborate. As a woman out in the world, you’re not safe going anywhere alone. Period. Especially not at night. As a disabled woman who is even more of a walking target, it can be even more dangerous. We don’t live in a world where men are taught to respect women and taught not to rape and demean us. We’re taught that we shouldn’t have been wearing those clothes or walking out that late at night. It’s always our fault. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve read where a female simply smiled at a guy in a store or in passing and then ended up getting followed or attacked seconds afterwards. These sickos take a smile as a signal meaning “oh she totally wants it.” Even a friendly conversation in a super market can lead to a woman being attacked.
So that’s where my RBF comes in and why I don’t smile in certain situations. It’s not because I’m not happy. It’s not even because I don’t want to smile anymore. It’s because I’m not taking any chances on giving any guy the idea that I’m a victim or someone who can be attacked. I’m willing to risk meeting a nice guy to protect myself. It’s pathetic that I have to do this. Once again, the responsibility falls on us women to protect ourselves and be on alert. We should be able to stumble home to our dorms drunk in college if we want to without a single worry, just like guys can. But even more so, we should be able to simply run an errand at night or walk across a parking lot without having to worry we’re going to get raped or murdered.
Welcome to a day in the life of a women in this society…