By Angie Burkhart |Staff Writer|
Have you ever been told you look mad, intimidating, or need to smile more often?
If so, it’s possible you are suffering from a facial expression some people call resting bitch face (RBF).
RBF can be explained as an emotionally neutral facial expression, in which you naturally appear smug or angry, without meaning to.
A resting bitch face may keep you from developing smile wrinkles, but it has the potential to negatively shape what people think of you.
As mtv.com so frankly put it, “nothing screams ‘don’t mess with me’ quite like a resting bitchface does.”
Some people have made light of this term, adding humor, and recognizing some of the benefits of RBF.
If you’re looking for a more positive outlook on your RBF, here are a few things to consider: solicitors on campus are less likely to hound you with flyers, you may be less prone to smile wrinkles, and you probably have a very effective poker face.
On the other hand, RBF has the ability to dictate the way others see you, and often in a negative way.
“I think it’s a bad thing,” stated student Fausto Orozco, “It makes people not want to approach them since they may have a preconceived notion that this person may not want to talk at the moment for whatever reason.”
We tend to judge people based on their nonverbal communication, and in this case, RBF can communicate to others that you are mean or pretentious.
If you think this only effects women, you guessed wrong, men suffer from this unintentional expression as well.
“RBF is definitely not exclusive to women. My boyfriend has been a victim to RBF several times because he has a stern expression whenever he’s in a neutral mood,” stated student Diana Sifuentes.
Odd thing is, RBF tends to be a pro for men, and a con for women.
CBC.ca stated that “women find men less attractive when they smile, compared to when they take on swaggering or brooding poses,” while the opposite is true for men, who prefer a woman with a smile.
RBF also tends to be an American problem, considering our cultural tendency to smile almost all the time.
According to press.umich.edu, “Americans smile a lot, and talk easily to strangers,” so you can imagine why RBF can give American outsiders the impression that you are unapproachable.
In contrast to many other cultures, RBF is perfectly normal.
In Moscow, “grinning is generally considered a sign of weakness, or even in Paris, where no one is trained to punctuate one’s speech with a smile,” according to Elle.com.
Timeshighereducation.co.uk also suggested that smiles carry different meanings around the world, stating “in Samoa, a smile can also convey intense irritation.”
So, if you’ve been told you have RBF, don’t fret; consider looking beyond the masks we put on for each other—and if that doesn’t work—just move to Moscow or Paris, where RBF is the norm.