Software detects “resting bitch face” in male and female faces in equal measure
Resting bitch face: you’ve probably heard of it. It’s the state of being expressionless, but perceived as “bitchy.” The poster girls for resting bitch face include Kristen Stewart, Victoria Beckham, and any other female who isn’t constantly smiling.
The term is always applied to women, but some research is proving men are just as expressionless as women – they’re just perceived completely different. In other words, that “you should smile more!” request that makes women want to punch something is rarely begged of men.
Jason Rogers and Abbe Macbeth, behavioral researchers with international research and innovation firm Noldus Information Technology decided to see what it is about someone that makes us register an expressionless face as “bitchy?” And are women really more prone to “resting bitch face” than men? The short answer… no. No, they’re not.
From 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 software uses the points on the face to measure “contempt.” The researchers explained it as “kind of a tightening around the eyes, and a little bit of raising of the corners of the lips — but not into a smile.” Macbeth says, “Something in the neutral expression of the face is relaying contempt, both to the software and to us.” The software clearly isn’t capable of having gender-bias, so it was able to fairly interpret the faces: male and female. “It detected RBF in male and female faces in equal measure. Which means that the idea of RBF as a predominantly female phenomenon has little to do with facial physiology and more to do with social norms.”
See? Men are bitches, too. They’re just not expected to smile all day, so no one cares. Apparently men don’t exist to make everyone’s day brighter — only women do. Their expressionless faces aren’t off-putting.
Embrace your resting bitch face, ladies. If you’re wondering if there’s a similar term for men, there is. It’s called “breathing.”