Art & Culture
One Poet’s Ode To Her Resting Bitch Face

By Jenavieve Hatch

If you’re a woman who doesn’t smile for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, then you’ve likely been accused of having a resting bitch face.

Poet Olivia Gatwood turned her resting bitch face-induced shame into art. In a two-minute slam poem, she exposes resting bitch face for what it actually is: a symptom of the much greater societal issue of how women’s bodies are constantly under surveillance and subject to the approval of men.

The poem begins by laying out the many instances in which women are perceived as “mean girls” or “bitches” — wearing headphones without listening to music to avoid conversation, clutching keys in between fingers as a makeshift weapon, not laughing when something isn’t funny and, of course, not smiling. But these actions go far beyond petty meanness, and are indicative of the ways that women are constantly protecting themselves.

“Resting Bitch Face, they call you,” she says. “But there is nothing restful about you.”

And there isn’t. Women go to incredible, exhausting lengths to maintain a feeling of safety and security — and resting bitch face is just one small part of it.

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