RBF

Tatiana Uribe, Staff Writer

Recently, the internet picked up on a trend that affects each of our daily lives. Many noticed that there are different types of resting faces, but there were two that became the most popular. Many categorize themselves as having: resting nice face and resting b**ch face (RBF).

Due to the expressions relatability and something we saw almost every day, the coined-term took people by force. Some even cared about it enough to try and discover if there was any scientific evidence that RBF was a real thing.

In October 2015, researchers Abbe Macbeth and Jason Rogers from Noldus Information Technology put their FaceReader software to the test by analyzing the faces of celebrities that are known for their impersonal expressions.

In a February 2016 interview with CNN on the experiment, Macbeth says their main goal was to “see if anything popped out” and justified the use of the software by adding that it was “objective” and “not prone to human subjectivity.”

The experiment came to the conclusion that while on average 97% of the result were neutral, the remaining 3% was made up of entirely different emotions. For a subject with RBF, the gap can leap even higher to 6%, this 3-6 percentage in anyone with RBF was most often categorized as contempt or disdain for something.

On the matter of intersection of gender and an expressionless face, it seems to go without saying that women are more often pestered or judged for having a RBF.

Being that this was such a new internet-generated idea, many teenagers seemed to be more aware of the concept than other age ranges. Janae Polk, a junior at Da Vinci Communications High School, says she does believe she has resting b**ch face and that being a woman amplifies the attention she gets because of it.

“It’s okay or sexy if a man does it but if a woman does it, she isn’t cute because she has a ‘nasty’ look on her face. As a woman, you always hear you need to smile more and with men you don’t really hear that.”

Polk goes on to express that it does affect how people perceive and treat her, “I feel like people look at me when I have that resting b**ch face and they’re just like ‘Oh she’s probably mean.’ People automatically have that assumption that I’m a mean person or I have an attitude and it’s just like – no, this is just my everyday face.”

She does recognize that there is one positive of having a blank face however, “If you have that face on, people leave you alone and I like to be left alone most of the time. So, it kind of puts up a guard when you don’t want people to bother you.”

The fact of the matter is, a woman’s face does not exist purely to satisfy the vain attraction of others; she is just trying to exist and live her life whether or not her face has a smile on it. That does not give anyone the right of way to harass or badger her.

Personally, I would say that I have a RBF and I can think of many instances where people are bothered by my expression, or lack thereof. It’s something that’s just a little irritating to have to deal with on a daily basis.

If my face doesn’t react “correctly” to someone’s request or question then I get a dirty look like I gave them an attitude when in reality my response was just neutral.

But to anyone out there who feels they have RBF I have some pieces of advice for you:

  1. Don’t try and “force” yourself to try and always smile, it’s tiring and it’s not going to work because eventually your face will return to its natural state when you’re not paying attention and honestly, it’s not worth it.
  2. Own it. That’s your face, love it, use it to your advantage. A certain part of anyone without RBF is hesitant to approach you and if you don’t want them to, a simple glance will usually do the trick.
  3. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad or like you’re burdening them because you don’t have a smile on your face around the clock. Especially to my girls out there, if anyone ever tells you you need to smile more, tell them they need to keep their mouth shut more.
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