Long Live the Resting Bitch Face

Plastic surgeons say women are asking for procedures that will make them look more ‘approachable.’ But… why?
Katie Way
Brooklyn, US
September 18, 2019, 7:17pm
Getty Images/PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou

The ‘resting bitch face’ is the stuff that wine mom memes are made of in the best way possible—it’s an involuntary non-expression that projects disinterest, disdain, and “I want to speak to the manager” vibes all in one, otherwise known as “many people’s normal face” and “the expression of anyone who has the audacity to be anything other than blandly chipper in public.”

That’s why it’s disheartening to learn that women are apparently turning to cosmetic surgeons to soften their resting bitch faces. One doctor told the NY Post that he receives “several” requests a week for a series of procedures, including hyaluronic acid fillers and Botox injections focused mostly on the “jowl area” and lips, intended to make women look more “approachable” and less angry. Another surgeon attributed the trend in these lower-face procedures to the influence of the Kardashians.

Both patients and surgeons pointed to perception problems as the most likely deciding factor for most of the women who want to punch up their dour facial features. “If you always look dumpy, or unfriendly… people are going to react to you differently,” Dr. David Shafer told the NY Post. “I was like, ‘Oh great, I look mad in the middle of the party,’” Hope Davis told the NY Post in reference to her decision to visit Dr. Shafer and get de-RBFed (a technical term).

Is the resting bitch face a gendered concept with misogynistic connotations? Sure. I’ve personally never heard of a man having resting bitch face. Is it also nature’s perfect weapon against strangers who need directions and men who think it’s cool to hit on someone at the grocery store? Absolutely. Women’s words and actions are already critiqued and surveilled on a constant basis, so if the facial expression they naturally wear functions as any kind of defense, it should actually be defended at all costs.

Davis later said she was internally happier with her externally happier appearance, which is nice for her, I guess. But it would be way nicer if we lived in a world where a woman who isn’t permanently smiling was viewed as a regular person instead of a problem in need of a solution.

Until then, it’s a genuine bummer to see some women turning in their Get-Out-of-Jail-Free cards from annoying interactions in order to appease the people who had a problem with their faces in the first place, who are, by definition, the assholes here.