The Patriarchy is Ruining My Teeth The relentless pressure to smile has become so expected that the dentist found potholes in my teeth. Small round dents in the lowers caused by the points of the uppers, but mainly caused by my constantly clenched jaw. From the old man passing on the street instructing my teenage self to smile!, to the murmurs of ‘resting bitch face’ about any woman who lets her mouth fall into anything short of a blissfully ignorant grin. I live under a consistent fear of a slight drop in my chin, making my face look too long, which I believe is the cause for comparisons of women to horses. And of course, there’s the dreaded double chin that could rear its shameful head if I don’t hold it all in the exact angle that seems to be the only acceptable way to present my face. The result is unnatural wear and tear on my molars. I grimace and grind through the jokes, insults, and insistence that “it’s not that bad.” My lips are tired from the decades of demonstrating my worth through my mouth, which should stay closed and always form a gentle upward curve. I want to release it all. Roar, hiss, and scream at anyone who might listen. Scream about how I wish this bruxism were the only consequence of it all.