Science Has Discovered What Causes Resting Bitch Face

Resting Bitch Face is a condition, usually detected in women, in which the person looks naturally mean while holding an expressionless face, without intending to be malicious. Some Hollywood stars who encapsulate everything that is RBF are Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Kayne West, Kristin Stewart, the list goes on.

Sitting next to Rebecca Martinson, I am well aware of the inadvertent nastiness that comes with being in close proximity with a Resting Bitch Face. It’s been over a year, and I honestly can’t tell if we’re friends or she wants me to fall on a samurai sword.

“Congratulations, Rebecca. You’ve won the Powerball!!!”


“Oh no, Rebecca. Gramma got hit by a bus!”

It’s truly mind-boggling.

But thanks to a couple culturally-aware behavioral researchers, we now have an understanding of what causes that ‘fuck you face.’

Jason Rogers and Abbe Macbeth set out to find out why some faces are seen as truly expressionless and others are off-putting. What makes us register a face as RBF?

According to The Washington Post,

The researchers enlisted Noldus’s FaceReader, a sophisticated tool engineered to identify specific expressions based on a catalogue of more than 10,000 images of human faces. The software, which can examine faces through a live camera, a photograph or a video clip, maps 500 points on the human face, then analyzes the image and assigns an expression based on eight basic human emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, disgust, contempt, and “neutral.”

The researches put neutral faces into the reader and then entered some notoriously bitchy faces (Kayne, Queen Elizabeth, etc.). The neutral faces registered 97 percent neutrality, with FaceReader detecting just three percent of emotion, but the bitch faces registered only 94 percent neutral, with the increase in emotion representing “contempt.” This contempt was characterized by lips being pulled back or raised slightly long with slight squinting of the eyes.

The researchers also note that Resting Bitch Face is more common in women because you’re a sexist pig fuck:

“[Smiling is] something that’s expected from women far more than it’s expected from men, and there’s a lot of anecdotal articles and scientific literature on that. So RBF isn’t necessarily something that occurs more in women, but we’re more attuned to notice it in women because women have more pressure on them to be happy and smiley and to get along with others.”

All is balanced now.

[h/t Washington Post]

Matt Keohan Avatar
Matt’s love of writing was born during a sixth grade assembly when it was announced that his essay titled “Why Drugs Are Bad” had taken first prize in D.A.R.E.’s grade-wide contest. The anti-drug people gave him a $50 savings bond for his brave contribution to crime-fighting, and upon the bond’s maturity 10 years later, he used it to buy his very first bag of marijuana.