Resting Bitch Face: That’s Just How My Face Looks!

by Clara Butler and Emily Klein

We feel you Grumpy Cat.
  • Are you, or someone you know, constantly perceived as disinterested, snarky, or downright rude?
  • Do you often realize you’re offending people without even trying?
  • Do you have a hard time making friends without opening your mouth?
  • Do you find that once you get to know someone, they said they thought you hated them at first?
  • Do babies start to cry when you glance at them?
  • Do you fear you will never experience love at first sight because your face downright displeases?
  • Do creepy men on the street tell you to smile more?
  • Does the Joker keep asking you, “Why so serious?”

If you answered yes to any of the above, you may be afflicted with a condition called Resting Bitch Face. Also known as Chronic Bitch Face, Bitchy Resting Face, or ‘that look’, thousands of women each year are chastised based on the natural appearance of their face.

Above is a perfect example of an RBF, as exhibited by Grumpy Cat.

Numerous videos and memes have spawned from this idea, but we have noticed this phenomenon is especially prevalent on Barnard and Columbia’s campus.

To further investigate, we took to the streets and asked our fellow students what they think of this troubling trend. Lindsay Garber (BC ’16) says that her RBF gets her in trouble everyday. She admitted to always looking ‘unimpressed’ and remarked that her teachers constantly ask her if she understands the material, when in fact she does. To the left is a picture of Lindsay’s RBF and to the right another of her actively trying to look really really happy.

Active Happy Face
Resting Bitch Face

Catie Boardman (BC ’15) says that she has run into the same issue. She often complains that people think she’s a bitch before they even know her. Many are too intimidated to even approach her, because of the natural resting state of her face. Catie finds this endlessly frustrating and wishes that her emotions matched her facial expressions. “It’s not my fault. Really, that’s just how my face is.”

Resting Bitch Face
Active Happy Face

If you or someone you know suffers from RBF, please know that there are many resources available to you. RBF doesn’t have to plague you for your whole life. Some options are:

  • Drink lots of coffee and let that jittery feeling spread to your face.
  • Perform certain exercises to stretch the muscles associated with smiling.
  • Invest in lip liner and draw a smile on!

The first step to recovery is admitting there’s a problem. To all you Resting Bitch Faces out there, you’re not alone. It’s just your face.

Clara Butler is a sophomore and Emily Klein is a junior at Barnard and staff writers for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images courtesy of Clara Butler and Emily Klein.


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