Saturday, September 10, 2016

My RBF and Hillary Clinton

My RBF is a serious face, and one that intimidates.
I had a principal one time who HATED me-who looked for every opportunity to put me on the defensive.  

This man had the audacity to try to HUG me when first meeting me.  I was a department chair at that time, and a member of the Association leadership.  I was called into a meeting of admins in order to be introduced to him before he took over the school.  I stuck my hand out, and he started to put his arms around me.  I said, wryly "I don't believe I gave you permission to hug me."  Thus began our relationship.

Here are some comments I have heard:  
"Smile, it's not that bad"
"You are prettier when you smile"
"What's wrong?"
"Did I do something to upset you?"
"You're mean"
"What a bitch"

and so on.  

What confused me as a younger woman now infuriates me.

This is the same sexist attitude which allowed Reince Priebus to complain that Hillary Clinton needs to smile more.  Would he have said the same of Trump?  Hell no.  Men are given a pass on the behaviors which grease the social contacts we make.   They are not expected to show each of the minute expressions of active listening, to widen their eyes to show appreciation, or to smile encouragingly.   They don't need to smile demurely before explaining a complex point.  No one expects them to cock their head in a coy way before solving a quadratic equation, or outlining the history of the conflict in Syria.  

But, let a woman step up and make a point, solve an equation, or outline the history of the Syrian situation with no smiles, head tilts, or eye widening-->she will be labeled a cold bitch.  

I admire Hillary's resolve and tenaciousness in the face of intense scrutiny and criticism.  I admire her ability to process incredible amounts of information and use that info to make decisions.  I admire her history of team building and using all the tools at her disposal to help ease some of the world's problems.  I admire her as a person who has worked hard all her life to help those who need it.  I admire her RBF.  

96 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Hi Carolyn, thanks for the positive feedback.

      Delete
  2. I'm with you all the way, Mary!

    ReplyDelete
  3. As I have aged, I realize that my face, if I stop to think about it, may feel like it has a neutral expression. However, if I look in the mirror I see a grim and disapproving droop to my mouth, which goes along with the rest of the droops in my face. I try to remember to smile to put others at their ease and convey that I am not as grim as I look.

    I suspect Hillary Clinton is an introvert who likes to stop and think before she speaks. In general, I think being an introvert goes against USA perceptions of how people are supposed to be. Thus, we may lose opportunities to bring talent and high values into leadership positions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol, I actually do the same! I don't want to put people off. Your comment about American expectations is very astute.

      Delete
  4. You are the 4th talented sewing blogger who mentions politics in THEIR OWN blog. You have all spent a boat load of time and effort to share a small part of your expertise. Politics and Religion are NOT subjects at polite dinner parties. My mother said so. and NOT issues for sewing blogs. Count = one less reader.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I rest my case. I could have couched this in softer language, and included nods to those who might be put off by Hillary's demeanor. It is MY blog and I will write my own truth. See you around.

      Delete
    2. Right with you Mary! Mary Jane

      Delete
    3. why can't you have a spirited discourse with people who do not agree with you? THAT is what makes America diverse and wonderful, not a bunch of sheeple!

      Delete
    4. I would love to find the other savvy sewists who have opinions of their own!! ??? help, anyone??

      Delete
  5. Great post! Well said! Having worked during the "Mad Men" era, I have horrible memories of bad experiences and refuse to watch that show. Hillary and I are close to the same age (I'm older by a tad) and I'm sure she's endured more than anyone will ever know. She's got what it takes to be POTUS!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mad Men! Yes, a hard time to be an accomplished woman.

      Delete
  6. I enjoy blogs for all aspects of sewers lives. Religion and politics included.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I enjoy blogs for all aspects of sewers lives. Religion and politics included.

    ReplyDelete
  8. A timely and powerful, and highly appreciated, post. I actually didn't know about your sewing blog. Count= one MORE reader

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kristi, welcome. This blog is about all sorts of stuff, sewing included.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, glad to be here. Love all sorts of conversations.

      Delete
  9. I enjoy reading blogs for the reason that they belong to the author. I enjoy knowing more about the person and their beliefs on sewing, their creative process and what makes them unique! Religion and politics included.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I do too! I am amazed at peeks behind the sewing persona :-)

      Delete
  10. Hear, hear! Although to be the devil's advocate, this did remind me of an article about white people's common inability to recognize racism in themselves (https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/white-fragility-why-its-so-hard-to-talk-to-white-people-about-racism-twlm/). How? No matter how sensitive and empathetic, men have no idea what it is like to be a woman, or recognize that they hold a double standard when it comes to men's and women's behaviors, expressions, occupations, etc. But we should still keep trying to educate!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point Michelle. The behavior is very ingrained, culturally and perhaps on a deeper level.

      Delete
  11. Amen! (And I love a good dinner party conversation that includes politics, religion and anything and everything else that people do not agree on.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too! What would a dinner party be like without an exchange of opinions?

      Delete
  12. Thank you for all the thoughts and experiences you share here, sewing, politics and life in general. Your former principal sounds creepy and the type who would feel entitled to be inappropriate with children as well as teachers. Yuck.

    Ceci

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ceci, thanks for your comment. I know many people read and it is fun tno see new names n the comments. Note-that principal was very intrusive but not with kids and not in a sexual way. It was a power play.

      Delete
  13. You go Mary but I have to say, neither you nor Hillary have very scary neutral faces. And why would we even give in to that particular acronym anyway? I myself prefer FWF, fixing the world face because it takes a lot of concentration!
    I've never been a teacher but I did spend a lot of time in the principles office, so they are all sadistic creeps in my eyes. :-) But him especially! Pets to Griff and Nick, who's resting faces are just that, we hope.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, I don't think I was ever in trouble in school until I was a teacher! :-) Griff is doing wonderfully and Nick is my trail star.

      Delete
  14. I read and nodded my head and was going to click away and stopped and thought. Thank you for writing this. I agree - and have a fairly serious RBF myself...behind which lies someone who is a bit of an introvert and needs to feel comfortable before speaking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jodie, welcome and I hope you visit again. I looked at your portal blog. Can you explain more about it?

      Delete
    2. Ohhh I had long forgotten about that. It's part of a project I did with my school district as we started our work using Google Apps for Educations (blogs were a THING in education a while back). I never did much with it as it wasn't a good fit for my school/practice. I'm actually a Home Economist and a high school Foods Studies Teacher. A better idea of what I do would be my instagram feed McnallyFoods (all one word) or twitter feed @McNallyHomeEc

      I love to sew (my degree work was actually more in Fashion Studies than anything else) so I read and follow many sewing blogs. Sometimes during the school year that's about as close to sewing as I get - especially in September. I loved your story about the principal...shocking and yet - I've seen it happen in my career as well.

      Delete
  15. "...The 4th sewing blogger to mention politics..."

    Your blog - your content. My choice to read or not. Hiding in anonymity usually gets that comment deleted on my blog. I think you should leave it up for this particular post(if you were considering pulling it).
    It is true that things that confused me when I was younger have evolved into strong opinions as I get older.
    I'm behind in my reading again - off to find the other three sewing bloggers who strayed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. kathy, hi there. When you find the other 3, can you send me a note? :-)

      Delete
  16. Thank you! A million times thank you!
    Mermie

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Mary! FWIW, I simply see you as lovely. You seem to have a classic elegance about you that I find very attractive. As far as Hillary Clinton, I find her to be a despicable human, based on her behavior and it wouldn't matter how she looked physically, I could ever get past her lack of morals and character. I've never given much thought to how I look or am perceived by others. I'm just me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. voting for Trump then??? you will be sorely deceived

      Delete
    2. Hi Nursebennett! oh, thank you so much for the nice compliment :-) I am interested in what Hillary Clinton has done, specifically, that you find despicable. Share or not, it's okay. I am interested.

      Delete
  18. Interesting post. Re the comment from anonymous, I could understand that one should not politicize other people's blogs, but am flummoxed by the suggestion that one can't write whatever one wishes on one's own blog. In addition, I don't see that this post is about politics as much as about society, media and perceptions.
    I hope you won't mind, Mary, when I say that watching the U.S. election from outside the US is quite interesting
    And finally, I love your blog....
    Abbey Sews

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Abbey, I agree with your statement. Why are people so intent on controlling what others do/say? Heavens, you'd think we were all snowflakes.

      Delete
  19. Well, thanks to Hillary I had to look up pantsuits first tonight, and then puzzle out "rbf". Royal Bitch, yes? And I'm shocked to discover a pant suit is just a suit, except for a woman instead of a man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was a very fine piece of blog writing, by the way!

      Delete
    2. Resting Bitch Face. Mine is much scarier than Mary's. What about Michael Phelps? He doesn't seem to smile a lot but nobody says he is miserable or evil, just very focused.

      Delete
    3. Thanks Barbara. RBF is an acronym which has arisen lately. Jenny, in the comment below yours, explains.

      Hi Jenny!

      Delete
    4. Hi Mary
      Hope all well with you and the animals are good. We are just coming into Autumn here after a lovely, warm summer. Going to get my sewing mojo going soon I hope.

      Delete
  20. Yep, an intimidating face. I have one of those too, if I"m not smiling then people assume I'm scowling. I can't go around with a permanent grin on my face though - I'd look stupid.
    At least Hilary's hair is way better than Trump's!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would look goofy too. Nice to see you Ruth!

      Delete
  21. Some people just have a smiley look - good for them, but if you don't (and I don't) why should others comment? I wasn't put here, for their satisfaction! Re the rest, I am introvert, have 'forceful' eyebrows, and don't walk round with a grin plastered on my face, so I have heard all the comments you have listed and more! Re the hug, and the comments, I think it is frequently due to men belittling women they are wary of. And they should be wary :-) TS

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TS, uh huh...trying to keep strong women off balance.

      Delete
  22. I'm not a fan of Hillary, but I agree with what you wrote about female/male expressions. I'm not a fan of Trump either. Dismal choices this time around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many people feel as you do, and I hope that you spend some time reading about each candidate. It would help if we actually had policy discussions. maybe at the debates?

      Delete
  23. Well, all I can say is that I had to google "RBF". IMHO, we all have the face we were given, it works for some people, not for others. But looking past a door-stopping RBF to the message or the person behind it can nonetheless be difficult. Perception is reality...

    ReplyDelete
  24. What a great post! (Fellow RBF "sufferer" here, though I wouldn't say I suffer from it. ;-) ) I think that women are damned if we do and damned if we don't: I don't believe for a minute that HRC would be taken seriously if she performed these expected behaviors while discussing policy and the issues. Sadly, women in the working world tend to have the "choice" of being a lightweight (too smiley, too feminine) or being a cold b*tch (for daring to be or look serious).

    Thanks for this post; I come here for your writing and thoughtful perspectives, whether they end up being about sewing or not. =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I promise to write up my latest Negroni shirt made for hubby.

      Delete
  25. Well said and so true. I used to get the "smile, honey" nonsense all the time when I was young and now that I'm in my 60's, thank goodness I don't get this crap anymore. When was the last time a man was told to smile - you said it. The hugging bit in the workplace is inappropriate and this kind of familiarity on meeting someone for the first time in a meeting is offensive.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Excellent post, Mary! From your friend, Mary Jane

    BTW, commenting as anonymous because I don't have any of the other identifiers except a gmail account, and gmail doesn't seem to like blogspot. I am anything but anonymous when it comes to my love of sewing, your blog, my long-time support of Hillary and my appreciation of RBF's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mary Jane, thank you! If you have gmail, you have a Google account. Anon is fine however.

      Delete
  27. I also had to look up RBF - I share this attribute, though! I agree with your comments. As I'm outside US, I have a different angle of view on US politics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne, hi from the US to the UK :-)

      Delete
  28. I also had to look up RBF - I share this attribute, though! I agree with your comments. As I'm outside US, I have a different angle of view on US politics.

    ReplyDelete
  29. you certainly struck a chord with this post, Mary. Thanks. I agree with each point. When she is elected, I think we may see a new period of consensus in government, if her opponents will get out of the way. She is the most qualified candidate in my lifetime.

    ReplyDelete
  30. From my RBF to yours: Thank you for this post. I strongly relate, and will be quoting you in my next (polite or not) dinner conversation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen, I would love to hear the reactions...

      Delete
  31. Great writing, Mary. Much truth here and I admire Hillary for many of the same reasons.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great writing, Mary. Much truth here and I admire Hillary for many of the same reasons.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Replies
    1. hey shams! Are you watching the debates tonight?

      Delete
  34. My daughter told me about RBF. I sure hope Hillary wins ( actually that seems to be the Australian consensus ) from what I see on the media.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Actually Hillary has a beautiful strong look not bitchy or nasty at all.

    ReplyDelete
  36. And why is it called Resting B*tch Face? Why not Thinking Woman Face?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, another example of how we are kept in boxes.

      Delete
  37. I happened to come across your blog for the first time and love your post. You're a good writer and I appreciate your thoughtful comments. My RBF is smiling now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kay, It is nice to come across blogs which resonate...I am happy you visited.

      Delete
  38. AWESOME POST! I was born with "that face" but anyone who gets a genuine smile from me knows it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh, me too! My smile is BIG and real.

      Delete
  39. I have RBF, too! Now in my 60s people don't tell me to smile so much, thankfully. I enjoy your blog please don't let someone's perceived problem with it stop you. Just got back from Canada – they cannot believe what is going on in the US.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are embarrassed by this election.

      Delete
  40. Agree. Thanks for putting words to it.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Brava! Well said.

    I too have RBF and have had since I was a child. If I had a dollar for every time I have been told to smile I would be rich. It has always pissed me off. These days if I am not at work and someone says that to be I tell them to f*ck off (without smiling). If at work I force my face into the most exaggerated grimacy smile you have ever seen. Strangely. they never say it again.

    BTW, Teresa is right, us Canadians cannot believe what is happening politically down there. Absolutely terrifying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Helle ElleC, hahahaa...wish I had worked with you :-)

      Delete

I love your comments and enjoy the conversation that results.