The Resting Bitch Face of Punctuation

Do you abuse the exclamation point?

If you do, it might be because using the good old period is, when it comes to punctuation, the equivalent of resting bitch face. (“You’d be so much prettier if you smiled more.”)

At least, that’s one of the comments in a recent Facebook discussion about the gendered use of punctuation.


  • Let’s get this project moving forward.
  • Let’s get this project moving forward!

A female boss might write the second sentence—along with a smiling emoji—so that she’s not perceived as being too aggressive, too bossy, too something. It’s an attempt to appear enthusiastic while avoiding stepping on someone’s fragile ego, which is a dance familiar to many female bosses, no doubt.

Me, I use exclamation marks when trying to be funny or when injecting levity into a conversation. But I’m not a fan of their excessive use. I’m definitely on team period, resting bitch face be damned.

I’ll monitor this gendered use of the exclamation mark in my own email interactions and report back.

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