Measure Magazine, Vol. VII

3 %

R ILLUSTRATIONS Sarah Ditterline FM/AM 22

More Than


The Oxford English Dictionary dates the origin of the term, “bitch” to around 1000 AD, where it was originally coined to mean, “The female of the dog.” In Ancient Greece, “dog” was a derogatory term used to reference someone with improper behavior. Now, bitch is a name that has often been adopted by strong, independent women everywhere. “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that bitch,” is the opening line to musical artist Lizzo’s hit song “Truth Hurts,” a song announcing to the world that she is the woman we all want to be. But a paradox has emerged. If everyone wants to be “that bitch,” why don’t they want “resting bitch face?” In his 2013 roundup of cultural terms for the New York Times, Grant Barrett defined resting bitch face (RBF) as: “A face that, when at rest, looks angry, irritated or aggressive.” Despite the slur

By Abigail Hess

showed levels of about 5.76% contempt, well over the 3% or less that would be considered “normal.” Examples of celebrities that have been tagged with RBF are Kristen Stewart, Anna Wintour, Victoria Beckham, January Jones, and even Queen Elizabeth II. In a departure from the term’s innate misogyny, Kanye West has also been included in this category. Rogers and Macbeth have proven that RBF is not just a female phenomenon, but is in actuality a result of our society’s social

norms. The study highlights that because FaceReader is ultimately an unbiased piece of software, it was able to detect emotions in female and male faces equally. If this is true, then why didn’t “resting asshole face” ever manage to take off? What are women supposed to do now that resting, their most vulnerable state, is being slandered? Many outlets suggest making changes to the natural contours of the face. In 2016, W Magazine wrote an article titled, “The Revered Miracle Lift Claims to Cure Resting Bitch Face, and It’s Changing the Fashion Industry One Jawline at a Time.” Candice

losing its bite over the last decade, our culture has found another way to punish women for having the audacity to greet her everyday tasks with a neutral expression instead of cheerfulness and warmth. In 2016, two behavioral researchers, Jason Rogers and Abbe Macbeth, utilized the latest facial recognition software in their study using Noldus’ FaceReader. The FaceReader software is able to automatically analyze the eight basic human emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, disgust, contempt, and neutrality. The software examines faces through an image upload or a live camera, maps out 500 points on the human face, and then uses these

I f we properly encourage girls and women to be themselves, no matter the facial expression , perhaps a woman who is thoughtful, intellectual, and occasionally perplexed, will be "that bitch".

Forness is responsible for the “Miracle Lift” that retrains your facial muscles through a treatment that is “part lymphatic drainage, part acupressure, and part Swedish massage.” The “holistic facelift” is applauded for its ability to create a face that is softer, lacks the look of fatigue, has a more pronounced jawline, and, most importantly, it claims to cure RBF. Recently, more invasive procedures are becoming commonplace to remove the resting appearance of facial features associated with RBF. In 2019, Melkorka Licea wrote an article for The New York Post entitled “Women Are Flocking to Plastic Surgeons to Fix ‘Resting Bitch Face.’” In it, Licea explained how doctors have been receiving requests for surgical treatments that will give women’s faces a more “approachable” look. Dr. David Shafer, a double board-certified plastic surgeon and the medical director of Shafer Plastic Surgery & Laser Center, told Licea that he actually receives several requests a week for such procedures. Dr. Shafer stated that the requests for such procedures have

points to determine levels of emotions and specific expressions based on a catalog of more than 10,000 images of human faces. The specific emotion that FaceReader associated with a resting bitch face is contempt. The study reports that contempt is recognized through the subtlety of lips tightened and raised more strongly on one side than the other, essentially giving the appearance that the lips and brow are not quite angry or sad but in fact contemptuous. Rogers and Macbeth ran a series of “neutral” faces through FaceReader to determine the baseline percent of emotions in the average resting face. The results were that a face judged to be expressionless contained 97% of the emotion neutrality. The remaining 3% of emotions were the key ingredients in deciding if a face was simply resting or was, in fact, a “resting bitch face.”

After Rogers and Macbeth analyzed a series of well-known celebrities who have been described as having RBF, the results


Made with FlippingBook Learn more on our blog