It is possible that you’re a bitch but the chances are that your face is probably just constantly betraying you in its relaxed form. This dilemma has come to be known as Resting Bitch Face (or RBF for the cool kids), a phenomenon so prevalent that even science has put its two cents in.
RBF is an epidemic sweeping the nation one mildly disappointed face at a time. I will be the first to admit I suffer from this unfortunate condition. I’ve lost potential friends before uttering a hello. I’ve been scowled at by passers-by on the street and have been told to “smile more?” more times than I can count.
For a long time I didn’t understand why I was avoided on crowded busses, people flinching in fear as I walked past, filling up empty seats with backpacks and infants. I would think, “I am just a NICE NORMAL GIRL, WHY WON’T YOU PEOPLE SIT WITH ME?” Then one day, it hit me - I finally understood the reason for strangers’ trepidation. It’s my god damn face and its inescapable bitchiness at rest.
Luckily, I’m not alone in this diagnosis. Kristen Stewart, Rhianna and Cersei, too, know what I am going through. Awareness of RBF has certainly grown in the last few years, thanks to sufferers speaking out. Anna Kendrick bravely tweeted “Is there a filter on Instagram that fixes Bitchy Resting Face? Asking for a friend”. I can’t even fathom the courage that took.
In fact RBF has garnered so much attention of late that scientists created a ‘FaceReader’ to determine emotionality and officially diagnose RBF. The technology works by examining 500 key points on the face (who knew a face could be so pointy), and analysing 8 key human emotions based on this. Scared? Happy? Surprised? It’ll tell you.
Essentially, this FaceReader takes a snap of you to decipher exactly what per cent of your face is a bitch. Apparently my face is ’30% disgust’, ‘60% contempt’ and ‘10% neutral’. And if I recall correctly, that 10% was related to trying a cro-nut for the first time - an anticlimactic experience indeed.
So what are the tell tale signs and symptoms, you ask? Apparently a lopsided smirk (cheerful smile) and squinty eyes (it’s sunny) are a dead giveaway of RBF. This is a recipe for disaster - I’m sure we can all relate to leaving our shades at home or being only mildly amused. Making such mistakes apparently renders your face at least semi-bitchy.
Now, my mouth just happens to be wonky (thanks to an unfortunate run in with some monkey bars in my youth), and I am a natural squinter. Does this mean I am 50% more bitchy outdoors, in harms way of the sun/squint combo? I have so many QUESTIONS.
I also wonder if my RBF is amplified by the fact I am a lady human. The technology of FaceReader is definitely not gender bias, but with the exception of Kanye, it seems most of us diagnosed with the condition are fellow ladies. Would my sun-sensitive eyes be taken for what they are, instead of screaming ‘BITCH’, should I be a gent human? Perhaps.
According to some reports, I would in fact reduce my chances of bitch aura if I was a gentleman. This is not based on expressions or emotions, but rather on the expectation that us ladies have to be constantly accessorised with a grin. The dude sitting next to me on the train may also technically have RBF (I’m here for you pal), he’s just not perceived as being inherently bitchy.
I would like to offer a PSA here: on behalf of all RBF suffers, especially the ladies - we want you to know that these are just our faces. We are (usually) not plotting your murder in our heads, but rather thinking about Donald Trump, how shit celery is, or if Kmart has that marble lamp back in stock.
So to that old man on the bus, and the woman who I brushed past on my way to work, please know that I am not throwing you shade. Don’t be afraid, I am merely a girl dealing with bitch face each and every day, just trying to get on with my life. However, should you offer some ‘constructive criticism' and tell me to “put a smile on my face”, RBF will no longer a default expression - it will come to life.
Emma Shipley is a blogger, feminist, chocolate enthusiast and lipstick lover. Interests include starting political arguments at the dinner table and only looking on the clearance rack. She is worth 100 cents in the dollar. She blogs at Emma Dilemma and Tweets @emmashipley7