Wednesday, 16 March 2016

11/52 on resting bitch face

resting bitch face / chronic bitch face passport photos
Do you have a resting bitch face? Do you regularly hear these comments directed at you? 

Cheer up love, it might never happen!!!!
You look so serious/angry/upset/sad/-insert-negative-emotion-here- Are you okay!?!?!
Smile!!!!!! It doesn't hurt to smile!
It takes more muscles to smile than frown!

If so, you're not alone the struggle.

Growing up, I received all the variations of ‘you look miserable why you aren’t smiling!?’ you could possibly think up. I’d smile when confronted about the way my face looks, to appease the (usually male) spectator. I couldn’t understand why they would tell me to smile, I was always super confused and sure as heck didn’t realise I was supposed to wear a permanent smile whilst walking alone!

In case you've never heard of the term, resting bitch face is when your expressionless face (at ease, resting) is perceived as angry, annoyed, upset, or as the name states, bitchy. And when this is the case, people like to comment on it, like a lot.

After giving it some thought, I’ve realised when you receive the ‘cheer up’ comments, it’s literally because someone has decided that your face looks far too negative for their liking and chooses to make a comment about it. And my question is WHAT’S UP WITH THAT? Why is your face anyone else’s business? Why is smiling and having a pleasing face only expected from women? Why do people feel the need to comment on the way our faces naturally look? Why do they feel the need to voice their opinion about our faces, to our faces!? It’s pretty rude when you think about it. Rude to the point where it becomes so bothersome and irks me to the point that I’m internally screaming things like;  

WHY DO YOU WANT ME TO SMILE FOR YOU? I AM NOT A PERFOMING ANIMAL. I AM A HUMAN BEING WITH A DAMN BITCHIN’ FACE AND THAT FACE DOES NOT EXIST FOR YOUR PLEASURE.

REGARDLESS OF HOW I’M FEELING, THIS IS JUST HOW MY FACE IS. STOP MAKING COMMENTS ABOUT IT.

WHY DO YOU CARE WHAT MY FACE LOOKS LIKE? IT’S NOT YOUR PROPERTY AND IT’S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

They DON’T expect you to walk around all day with a grin plastered on your face (because apparently that’s creepy – you can never win) they just want your face to be instantaneously pleasing to their eye, for their own benefit. They’re literally just negatively commenting on how your face NATURALLY looks – ultimately because women are supposed to look amiable, pleasant and pleasing to the male gaze. And that’s pretty messed up. How often do grouchy old men get the classic ‘cheer up love, it might never happen?’ quoted to them? I’m betting never.  Reactions to resting bitch face are so gendered and gross. Comments on your resting bitch face are so unnecessary and unwarranted. It’s your face; no one should have the audacity to tell you what to do with it.

In fact, I’ve grown to like my resting bitch face. It makes me feel fierce and powerful to own my face, and it’s super great at warding off unwanted interaction. Sometimes it becomes a double edged sword by unintentionally warding off wanted interaction, but I guess that's when a smile comes in handy.

I can understand that sometimes a resting bitch face comes across as intimidating, but I think we should all make the effort to swat away assumptions that someone is upset, worried, or bitchy, simply based on their facial expression. Because who knows what they’re thinking about? Their face may look blank but they might just be off daydreaming about food (as I often am!) Some people’s faces are just like that.   

In the end, your face belongs to no one but you. We should wear our resting bitch faces with pride. Given the prevalence of ‘cheer up’ comments, your bitch face is not what they want or like. So obviously you should embrace it - punk rock style.

Do you have a resting bitch face? What's up with that? What are your thoughts on resting bitch face? I'd love to hear them!

P.S. Of course this entire post was written with a perfectly emotionless face. 

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