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“Duck Face”, also known as “Myspace Face”, is a pejorative term for a facial expression made by pressing one’s lips together into the shape of a duck’s bill. It is often associated with self-gratuitous photos of teenage girls posted on social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook.
The trend of Duck Face photos can be attributed to the emergence of social networking profiles, most notably with the launch of MySpace in 2003 and its rise to mainstream popularity in July 2005. Myspace users could create profiles including biographical information and photographs of themselves, many of which exhibited the facial expression that eventually became known as the “duck face.” On May 13th, 2006, the first Urban Dictionary definition for “myspace face” was submitted by user Crohnser, which described the female version of the expression as a combination of pouty eyes and pursed lips (shown below). On September 13th, an Urban Dictionary definition for “duck face” was submitted by user Mair Mair, which defined the mannerism as a two-lipped pout.
In November of 1979, a Little Feat album titled “Down On The Farm” was released, which featured a picture of a female duck wearing red lipstick on the cover (shown left). An episode for the television comedy series Full House that aired on October 13th, 1989 included a student who was nicknamed “Duckface” for making the pursed-lips facial expression. In the 2001 film Zoolander, the protagonist’s trademark “Blue Steel” look (shown right) has been frequently compared to the duck face.
On March 29th, 2007, deviantArt user Hauntash uploaded a photo of a woman pursing her lips titled “The Duckface.” On January 27th, 2008, a gallery of photos titled “The Ugly Duck Face” was submitted to the Internet humor site Ebaumsworld.
On April 24th, 2009, the single topic blog “AntiDuckFace” was created, which featured photos of young women posing with the facial expression. On March 7th, 2010, Redditor gentoolicious submitted a post titled “WDP (mostly women) make the awful duck lip face?”, to which Redditor Theditor replied with an explanation that the pose was used to mask insecurity:
“It’s kind of a mock sexy, from what I understand. A lot of females today feel so insecure about themselves, that the look is kinda a joke in itself. It’s a way to try saying ‘Hey I’m so secure that I make this silly face and can laugh about it with my friends, but its only because I’m really insecure and hope that this can hopefully get you attracted to me via false confidence.’”
On September 23rd, 2011, American actor Nick Cannon published a post to his official blog titled “Duck Face Fails”, featuring several duck face photos. On February 28th, 2012, BuzzFeed contributor brndib6 submitted a post titled “Duck Face: The Race for the Cure”, which included example photos with captions describing the pose as a disease.
As of April 23rd, 2012, a “Duck Face” Facebook page has received over 3,400 likes.