Should you get plastic surgery for RBG or is this just another one of those plastic surgery fads? The answer to that question can be a little complicated, especially given the social and cultural origins of so-called “resting bitch face.” It’s not a term you’ll find in any medical textbooks, but it is certainly a phrase that patients recognize–and will sometimes use to describe what they want to change.

Are People Really Getting Plastic Surgery for RBF?

There’s a condition called RBF that many people have. Don’t worry. It’s not serious. RBF stands for “resting bitch face.” It’s a term that mostly applies to women and, in general, means that a woman happens to look angry or upset even though her mood is neutral. Hence, the name. But there are some significant problems here.

First of all, the very formulation is more than a little sexist. The notion that women should, as a default, look happy and pleasant (that women should always look approachable is rooted in some very patriarchal ideas about how women should behave. And the idea that an upset or angered woman makes her a “bitch” is equally as sexist.

So the notion that one would undergo plastic surgery to eliminate RBF is problematic. You shouldn’t have to look happy all the time. And yet, there’s this emerging trend, where women are undergoing this procedure. In reality, there’s some nuance here. So today we’re going to explore RBF surgery and why there’s a sudden trend in undergoing a procedure that purports to “fix” RBF.

Where Does RBF Come From?

So, as mentioned previously, RBF is essentially a shorthand term for a neutral expression that might look angry, upset, or standoffish. This tends to occur because of the way the muscles in your face happen to be arranged and how your skin drapes as you age. There’s a genetic component to RBF–just as there is to nearly all of our other facial features. It’s the interplay between your muscles and your skin that creates the impression that you’re upset or unhappy when you aren’t.

But the social and cultural aspect in the creation of RBF shouldn’t necessarily be ignored. Here’s what I mean by that: the notion that women should look happy and approachable by default is entirely a cultural construction.

And yet, there are definite consequences for women with RBF. Many of them will face constant questions about their mood. Some may even begin to be perceived differently at work, for example, and their careers may suffer for it. Any number of negative consequences can come about because of RBF, so it’s no wonder that this procedure–not that there’s a widely publicized surgical procedure for it–is suddenly becoming trendy.

How is RBF Surgery Completed?

In most cases, the “RBF” procedure that most surgeons currently use is a combination of Botox and dermal filler injections to diminish the signs of aging in the face. By targeting certain areas–the marionette lines or the nasolabial folds, for example–surgeons can help decrease the perceived severity of your frown.

Because dermal fillers and Botox are both temporary solutions, the RBF fix will last only a few months. Some patients may continue to undergo treatments in order to maintain their results, especially if they really like the way they look.

It’s also worth noting that not everyone will call out RBF when they talk about their treatment. Some patients may say that they simply want to appear more cheerful. Other patients may simply want their face to more accurately reflect their mood. And that is indeed understandable (it’s one of the reasons why blepharoplasty, for example, is such a popular plastic surgery procedure).

Should You Get an RBF Treatment?

Our first instinct is to call out treatments such as “RBF treatment” as inherently problematic. You shouldn’t feel as though you have to undergo treatment for RBG. But on an individual level, it’s harder to be so prescriptive.

If you feel uncomfortable because of your RBF symptoms–if you feel like it’s holding you back from being happy with yourself, for example–then discussing treatment very well might be appropriate.

But it’s important to remember that any cosmetic surgery or plastic surgery procedure is, in some way, an alteration of your body. And since it’s your body, you should really have the final say over what you like, what you don’t like, and what you want. That’s why we’re typically reluctant to jump on trend bandwagons. To a certain extent, that’s what RBF treatment feels like to us.

On the other hand, it’s important that you feel confident in yourself, in your body, in how you look. If a simple treatment of injectables can do that, the price seems relatively small. Still, it’s worth thinking about the kinds of treatments that will keep you happy in the long run and produce the kinds of results that you’ll love–that will give you confidence and boost your self-esteem. No matter what it’s called, those are the procedures you should talk to your surgeon about.


About the Author: Dan Voltz has been writing about plastic and cosmetic surgery for over four years. He’s constantly in touch with surgeons to ensure he’s getting the most accurate and up to date information possible.

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