Men are spending thousands of dollars on extreme plastic surgery because they think it will help them have sex

  • In the latest cover story for New York Magazine, reporter Alice Hines investigates the world of “incels,” and their obsession with plastic surgery.
  • Many of the men believe they need surgery to look like a “Chad,” or a good-looking alpha male, to receive the success and sex they believe they deserve in life.
  • In addition to plastic surgery, these men are also bodybuilding, doing penis-stretching exercises, and what they call “mewing,” or chewing hard foods to bulk up jaw muscles.
  • Incels from across the world are flying to Indianapolis to receive body modification surgeries from plastic surgeon Barry Eppley, who unknowingly became an online celebrity for his work.
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A subculture of men are spending thousands of dollars on plastic surgery in hopes that it will fix their sex lives.

In the latest cover story for New York Magazine, reporter Alice Hines investigates the world of “incels,” or so-called involuntarily celibate men.

The report delves deep into online incel forums, where men obsess over “Chads,” or the good-looking alpha-male ideal, and believe that they need to look like one to receive the success and sex they believe they deserve.

In addition to plastic surgery, these men are also bodybuilding, doing penis-stretching exercises, and what they call “mewing,” or chewing hard foods to bulk up jaw muscles.

The subculture is also known for its problematic history of promoting rape and violence against women, and endorsed Santa Barbara gunman Elliot Rodger, a self-described incel who killed himself and six others in a shooting spree after writing a manifesto in which he called himself the “supreme gentleman” and threatened: “If I can’t have you girls, I will destroy you.”

Many critics see the subculture’s motivations as toxic, including feminist writer Jessica Valenti. She said in a now-deleted tweet: “Incels are not a community of sad men that reflect a societal problem with loneliness. They’re a community of violent misogynists that reflect a societal problem with sexism and sexual entitlement.”

On forums like Lookism.net, and subreddits like r/Braincels and r/TrueRateMe, these men are trading tops on skin care, body building, and plastic surgery procedures with the goal of becoming “Chads.”


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Between 1997 and 2015, cosmetic surgery among people who identify as male has increased 325%, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

As Hines noted, many men from across the world are flying to Indianapolis to receive body modification surgeries from plastic surgeon Barry Eppley. Eppley became something of an unwitting online celebrity for his work among incels, who said the doctor should be “mentioned with the likes of Mandela, Shakespeare, Luther King, Descartes, and Mother Teresa” because of his work.

Among the procedures Eppley performs are shoulder widening and narrowing, quadriceps and deltoid implants, testicular enlargement implants (some “dinosaur-egg size”), and facial-masculinization surgery.

Hines wrote that Eppley has a “whatever you want” philosophy to surgery that doesn’t consider a patient’s possible body dysmorphia.

Incels online appear to view the procedures not as a body dysmorphia issue, but a necessary correction to a path of what they feel they “deserve” in life.

Read New York Magazine’s full report here.

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