This was originally published on Off The Main Page on February 28, 2017.
We have heard the term before: resting bitch face. Urban Dictionary defines it as:
“… A person, usually a girl, who naturally looks mean when her face is expressionless, without meaning to.”
I have this problem myself. Living with schizoaffective disorder, I often have a flat affect, which can make me look angry when I’m not. I often hear things like “Are you okay?” or “Are you mad?” when I’m really not.
Some people turn it into a sexist thing, unfortunately. During the election, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was often told to “smile more.” Many men were saying that about her everytime she gave speeches. At least I’m in good company.
Scientists have actually discovered this is real. Scientists Abbe Macbeth and Jason Rogers from Noldus Information Technology used facial recognition software to analyze facial expressions. They put in some neutral faces, then compared emotional faces to those neutral ones.
“… We’ve all heard the anecdotal evidence of people being told to smile more … there’s something that is unconsciously showing up on people’s faces when people think they are just being neutral.”