The TODAY Show is treating a made-up condition as a good reason to get plastic surgery.
A few months ago, a comedy group named Broken People released a mock-public service announcement about “bitchy resting face” — a “condition” in which women look mean or unpleasant when their face is at its natural, resting state. But while the fake PSA was meant as a joke, one media outlet has latched onto it to highlight a trend in plastic surgery meant to alleviate the made-up condition.
The TODAY show has run a five minute segment on the video, and an accompanying article proclaiming the condition is “semi-real.” The evidence? A plastic surgeon, Dr. Anthony Youn, said it was:
“Bitchy resting face is a definite phenomenon that plastic surgeons like myself have described, just never with that term,” he says. “Basically many of us have features that we inherit and/or develop with age that can make us look unpleasant, grumpy, or even, yes, bitchy.”
Youn says many plastic surgeons perform what he calls “expression surgeries,” procedures meant to improve resting facial expressions.
Youn suggests the “grin lift, used to turn a permanent frown upside down,” as a cure for the condition, along with botox and filler at the corners of the mouth.
Journalist and comedian Taylor Orci, who was a part of the original PSA, described her inspiration for the video by recounting the many times she had been stopped on the street and told to smile. This situation — which is so common that one Etsy seller is capitalizing on it with a “Don’t Tell Me To Smile” sweatshirt — isn’t just a funny thing that happens occasionally to women; it is a form of street harassment. On ihollaback.org, a website dedicated to identifying and ending street harassment in 22 countries and counting, women document over and over again being told to “give me a smile” by men who pass them by.
A plastic surgery cure for ‘bitchy resting face’ is just one of what seems to be a countless number of procedures that capitalize on a cultural pressure for women to look and act a certain way. Last month, plastic surgeons reported seeing a 4,378 percent increase in plastic surgery that would make women’s arms look like Michelle Obama’s.