Resting Bitch Face

Why is a resting face not feminine? 

“Do you trust me?” – asked the photographer.

Sure, I said and looked at her other work. It was reassuring. People on her photos looked like people do on political campaign posters.

“This will sound weird, but trust me. I want you to look naïve and stupid, like a little girl. Smile at me as if I were a guy talking bullshit and you politely pretended he was interesting.”

I did it.

Snap.

“No, not enough. Now let’s do the same, but this time exaggerate. With stupid, silly Bambi-eyes.”

Snap.

“Now smile even harder. Smile without shame. Smile so hard that even you get worried that he must definitely notice you are faking.”

It was comical. I already looked with my biggest ever puppy eyes. The only way to make it bigger was a parody-smile, a straight mockery of adoration and puppy-love. OK, let’s show her that was too much.

Snap.

“This is it!”

I looked at the photo. For the first time in my life, I looked like women look in magazines. With a “natural”, good-natured smile. Only I knew the insane expression behind it.

How many times have you told someone to smile? Why do you think you want them to? Is it perhaps dumb adoration you are after?

Of course, you don’t want anything of the sort. You just observed that women are more beautiful when they smile. But one day you should observe yourself and ask yourself the question why you prefer smiling women so much.

Pop Art illustration of girl

Your resting face is insulting because it signals disinterest. You are supposed to look more interested when you look at someone than when you look at the wallpaper. But just how interested are you supposed to appear depends on the power dynamics. In other words, whose wellbeing and ego is more important.

What counts gender-appropriate look for a woman essentially means that she is a child. Eyebrows plucked thin in permanent wonder. Skin, hair like that of a child. Body too (plus boobs). Your facial expression must also be permanent wonder and childlike naivety. For most people beauty means fuckability. And fuckability is looking like a child. Keep that smile up and it knocks years off your age (what else would you want?) and makes you fuckable (who wouldn’t want that?)

Also, that smile is comforting to people around you. It tells them that they are looked up on, accepted, that they are interesting or adored.

Your smile is all about them.

Smile is comforting to people because it means they are welcome. They want to furnish their world with smiles – with people who are delighted to see them. But instead of being worthy of a smile they just patronize others and tell them to smile so that they look more desirable.

This is, of course, why catcallers instruct you to smile. Their apologists have the cheek to claim that it is because “they care about women’s wellbeing”, as if a forced smile to please their catcallers would make those women happy. But it’s really just about the catcallers’ little egos.

Note to self: Must start asking guys to smile. It is a charitable act. Not snide at all.

I guess these are also the people who don’t mind fake orgasms – but they hate you if you tell them it was fake. In fact, you should fake it because you care for their wellbeing. (Yours is naturally irrelevant.)

Besides, men regularly perform the Resting Bitch Face, because that’s what it is: your resting face. It makes them look more intelligent, someone to be taken seriously. Med can be uninterested in uninteresting stuff.

Women, on the other hand, must appear supremely interested and at awe. Women should be stupidly delighted even when they stare at the wallpaper. And they should definitely signal interest and admiration as they walk the street in case a male walks past and needs an ego boost.

And politicians. They also need to look as if they loved you and adored you. But only female ones. Guys can stay ugly and fat and disgusting. And not smile on their posters.

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