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The actress, who was seemingly watching TV coverage of the government shutdown vote on Monday, spotted Murray, who has been in office since 1992, and tweeted a screenshot of the legislator without a smile on her face.
Social media quickly came to O’Donnell with feedback.
Who is she? Her name is Patty Murray, the third most senior Democrat in the Senate and a “badass” who “cares about women.”
And why is she frowning? Well, according to Twitter user Marc, she’s “tired of this s***.”
Many people also called out O’Donnell for not only not knowing who Murray was but shaming her for her appearance.
Resting bitch face (RBF), or as Murray’s expression was referred to on Twitter, “resting frowny face,” is something that many women have been stigmatized over, with celebrities like Anna Kendrick, Kristen Stewart, and Queen Elizabeth being frequent targets.
However, it’s more than just an internet phenomenon, according to a 2015 study. Scientists Abbe Macbeth and Jason Rogers used facial recognition software on more than 10,000 images to recognize basic emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, disgust, contempt, and neutral.
When judging expressionless faces to get a baseline, the most common term associated was neutral. Then the researchers tested the faces of well-known public figures with RBF and the average level of emotion doubled from 3 percent to 6 percent.
“The big change in percentage came from ‘contempt,’” Macbeth said, suggesting that “it’s kind of a tightening around the eyes, and a little bit of raising of the corners of the lips — but not into a smile” that makes the software interpret a neutral expression as seemingly throwing shade. According to Rogers: “Although that [RBF] face may not be intentional, the viewer’s brain is wired to analyze, and recognize, when a face is displaying even minute traces of contempt.”
And it’s not hard to guess why Murray’s face would might suggest contempt — her tweets make it perfectly clear:
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