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2012 Silver winner in the Health/Medicine/Nutrition Category of the Independent Publishers Book Awards

Monday, April 30, 2012

Do women genetically own the bitchslap face?

A male friend of mine asked me the other day my thoughts on something he had been mulling over. He had experienced many times over the years what he described as a physical facial reaction by women that bordered on intense distaste over some really minor things.

You know it, it's the look of disgust/exasperation/worthlessness shot your way by the fairer of the species when she doesn't like something. It's the kind of look you'd expect if you just told her you ate her baby. But, in reality, you just did something like put an item in the wrong recycling bin. Or took the last spoon in the lunchroom.

Now, before you get your collective panties in a bunch, not all women do this. Just certain ones. I've known them myself and I don't quite understand how they think they can socially get away with it. I have too much respect for others to willy-nilly pull out the primate look of mean. It just doesn't communicate any message I want to send across.

We were trying to figure out why (some) women do this, yet men don't. I've never seen a man use a similar facial expression, no matter the circumstances. It reminded me of the primate facial expression charts from Ye Olde Anthropology classes I took.

I suspect women do this as a throwback to their, historically speaking, limited physical and social power. Letting you know, straight out, that she's upset about something without verbally, or physically, having to do anything beyond "the look". As in, do not even think about taking advantage of me in those bushes. Or, in modern terms, do not even think about putting that plastic in the food waste bin.

More interestingly, humans seem to share a number of similar expressions with chimpanzees and other apes, but I wonder if female chimps own the look of disgust/exasperation as well. In any case, have you experienced this yourself? Do you know men that facially react in a similar way? Or are you the queen of the bitchslap face?

Oh, and for those of you who doubt the similarities in primate behavior, I present you this:


11 comments:

Plastic-free Beth Terry said...

Michael does it.

Martha said...

Why is it ok to post pictures comparing Pres. Bush with a chimp? If you posted the same expressions next to Pres Obama EVERYONE would cry foul...rather than laugh.

Robj98168 said...

"We were trying to figure out why (some) women do this, yet men don't. I've never seen a man use a similar facial expression, no matter the circumstances."

I must disagree. I give great bitchslap face!

And Martha- It's OK because Bush acts like an ape. And i kinda think they share the same brain. But that's all I am gonna say on that subject!

Crunchy Chicken said...

Rob - I think you get special dispensation.

Martha - Because he's a chump?

Salish Sea Trading Cooperative said...

LOL: as an East Coaster, women and men speak their minds freely. We can also (equal gender opportunity) add any kinda face we wanna as we speak. You gotta problem with that? :-) btw, I've seen more men than women do this, but I work in high-tech, notorious for uptight guys (you DID what to my code?!) Are you sure your friend isn't just uncomfortable with a woman's anger and misinterprets the intensity? Don't drop him into downtown NYC, he'll cry.

Martha said...

I assume that as a writer you want a bi-partisan readership...you would otherwise only be "preaching to the choir." Your book about the toxic jungle we live in is important! I bought one. It deserves a wide audience, but for "the other side" to hear your message you might be less inflammatory. Just say'in!
an old hippie (who celebrated the First Earth Day!)

Crunchy Chicken said...

Martha - I wholeheartedly agree. Or, at least I used to. Not that it's stopped me in the past. Anyway, if I have to stop writing what I want because people are blinded by it, well then I'm going to stop writing. Which is not exactly what I want to do either.

Brad K. said...

Martha,

I think that particular aspect of disrespect for Pres. Bush stems from the general tone of his opposition, and an amiable tolerance on the part of him and his supporters.

Pres. Obama has not exhibited a shred of tolerance. His legacy will be shaded with rainbows and unicorns, I imagine.

As for the face, I think there was a time when, socially, women were focused in the home and seldom bore public scrutiny -- making more intimate gestures such as the exaggerated facial stuff more common among women. Men were taught about the "stiff upper lip", to conceal their thoughts lest they be used against them in social and commercial dealings.

Yes, I do think there is a gender bias in the *origins* of this social slander. But the lines blurred in recent times, and boys and girls have shared vices and foibles previously thought to be gender specific. TV, I think, changed a lot of this, displaying both male and female foibles for all.

On the other hand, this might be a legacy of the "evil eye", a non-verbal way to either curse another or to recognize one that is hampered by a demon, and an attempt to ward off attack by demons. That would put the act somewhere along the "Bless you" when one sneezes, as a means to ward off the demons just expelled from the body, at a time when diseases were considered to be the result of a demon invading the body.

Maybe!

Greenpa said...

Crunch- another aspect of the BSF you might consider- there are a couple of statements here from guys that they DO see it from guys- I'm wondering if there might be a gender specific usage; eg, females can show it to both females and males; but males tend to show it only to other males... "tend" being a critical word.

I think more study is needed. Looks like a grant opportunity to me. :-)

Surviving and thriving on pennies said...

guilty as charged. 8 out of 10 photos taken of me I have that bitchslap face. Don't know why because I am the most happy person ever. ugh it sucks

Plickety Cat said...

LOL -- I have to agree that I've seldom (sans uptight software developers of course) seen bitchslap face from a masculine male; although femme-type gay males give the absolute BEST bitchslap face!!

However, I have rarely seen the typically male chest beating and dominance posturing from many females (outside of street gangs at least). So maybe bitchslap face is the feminine version of this overblown behavior and display of contempt? Facial vs. physical.

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