Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Oh shit, the incels have discovered cosmetic surgery

Illustration for article titled Oh shit, the incels have discovered cosmetic surgery
Photo: Chris McGrath (Getty Images)

Incels are fascinating. For the blissfully unaware, the term stands for “involuntarily celibate,” and though it was invented by a woman with good intentions, a bunch of misogynist dudes on Reddit swiftly claimed the label for themselves—as is the American way. Incels have created their own terminology in the dark and swampy corners of the internet, where they trade tips on how to make their wieners bigger or get ripped so they can gain access to the vaginas they are so clearly entitled to plunder. It’s a violently misogynistic community—make no mistake about that—but it also might be the least self-aware one; an entire community dedicated to the art of the self-own. Take, for instance, the latest trend among incels: Cosmetic surgery. In a feature that inspires both awe and numerous eye rolls, The Cut explores the world of incels and their desperate obsession with becoming “Chads”—a term that refers to the hyper-masculine, square-jawed physical ideal popularized by male models. The incels want to become Chads so they can conquer a “Stacey”—their term for beautiful women, the kind who only ever seem to get with Chads.


In order to become Chads, incels have anointed Indiana-based cosmetic surgeon Barry Eppley as their God. The Cut follows one incel in particular, whose online handle is (or was) “Truth4Lie” as he embarks on a multi-thousand dollar journey to obtain a Chad face. It is, in effect, a far more thrilling self-own than jelqing—the term for a technique adopted by incels who pull at their half-boners for hours on end in a fruitless attempt to make their penises bigger. Unlike jelqing, which is free (last I checked) and useless (don’t need to double-check that one), cosmetic surgery is extremely expensive and actually achieves something—superficially, at least. Men are flocking to surgeons like Eppley to have their shoulders widened, their jaws chiseled, and muscles implanted where there were none before. Using custom implants, Eppley can help incels become the Chads they’ve always wanted to be, on the outside at least.

Perhaps the most delicious moment in The Cut’s feature involves an incel with the online handle “LegendOfBrickTamland.” Incels bemoan the many “privileges” bestowed upon women (LOL!) and whine about how we’re allowed to decide who gets to enter our vaginas and when, and scoff because women are never judged for getting plastic surgery (the internet is truly a world of fantasy and delusion)... and then something kind of magical happens:

“Getting treated better after surgery feels sickening,” wrote one user, LegendOfBrickTamland. Brick had gotten a new jaw, nose, and cheekbones from a surgeon in California, costing him around $30,000, and still he was furious at women and the world. “It’s like, I am the same fucking person, and yet I am somehow better because I spent some money and had a man cut my face up. Might as well just go with prostitutes. At least it’s an honest exchange.”

On that day, LegendOfBrickTamland unwittingly stumbled upon something women have been experiencing for, oh, I don’t know, the last forever-teen thousand years. Imagine, if you will, living in a world where you constantly feel judged for your outward appearance, where you are bombarded with images of “ideal” beauty, where your entire worth is—as far as you can tell—based on what you look like and not who you actually are. Unfortunately, the incels have yet to discover the body-positivity or body-neutrality movements, nor have they considered the galaxy-brain idea that maybe—just maybe—spending tens of thousands of dollars (from where did you get this money?!) on cosmetic surgery will not change who you are on the inside. And even more unfortunately for them, who they are on the inside is toxic sludge in the shape of a man.

It’s kind of amazing that they devote so much of their time to excruciatingly futile endeavors like spending $30k to look like someone else, or yanking on their penises for hours on end instead of taking a more simple approach—like, I dunno, being better people who don’t hate women and espouse toxic and violent misogynistic bullshit. This answer has always been staring them in the face—a face that is probably just fine the way it is. And I know this because I am a woman. Physical insecurity is hardwired into my DNA. While I cannot be bothered to feel sad for these men and their expensive new faces, I can give them a piece of hard-won advice: No one gives a shit what you look like as much as you do.