Resting Bitch Face, what’s the deal?
It’s offensive and ridiculous and seems to have found a permanent place in how we judge one another. We investigate the ‘condition’ that’s commonly used to refer to women: Resting Bitch Face (RBF).
It’s just too obvious. All of which means that trying to use surgery or injections to combat RBF is a bit like using a chainsaw to trim a hangnail.
Though Dr Rogers recorded RBF in male faces, the stigma generally attaches to women.
“What this comes down to is cultural norms and social expectations about women and their role,” he explains.
Women are expected to appear friendly, cheerful and approachable. And if they don’t, they may have to pay a familiar price: “You look prettier when you smile.” “You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” “Cheer up, baby.” These types of patronising comments are pretty exclusively directed at women.
And even if, as Dr Rogers points out, smiling has been shown to improve the mood of people around us, there can also be an element of submission to it. What’s more, some women – including some beautiful and famous ones – may smile less frequently because they are selfconscious about their teeth or don’t like the way that their eyes squint up or their nose flares.
Unlike actual scowling, the absence of a smile isn’t a reliable indication of somebody’s mood.
So perhaps behavioural research into RBF will help bring attention to what is still a glaring double standard. It’s almost certainly healthier to rally against appearance sexism than to worry about or try to “correct” RBF. It’s not a deformity.
In other words, bitch is in the eye of the beholder.