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What is mewing and why do people keep saying it?

By Sheroog Kubur, April 17 2024—

To answer the question — mewing is holding your tongue to the roof of your mouth to get a more defined jawline. It is one of the many forms of looksmaxxing and one of the simplest, being an exercise you can do while you’re sitting at a laptop or in class. Mewing can help ensure that you’re able to mog over the others in the room. 

To expand, mogging is when someone more attractive than their peers stands next to them, highlighting how good-looking they are in comparison to their less fortunate friends. Mogging comes from online communities boasting self-improvement and frequenting the gym, where it can be used as a tool of motivation. It can be encouraging to want to mog over the others at the gym or in a group photo. 

In a similar vein, in order to mog people you should engage in different forms of looksmaxxing, where you try to achieve maximum success in all physical aspects. This includes working out to get a defined physique, having a good hair and skin care regime or mewing. While it sounds like a joke, this has become a genuine vocabulary attached to self-improvement for young men, which allows them to have a clear pathway to being a better version of themselves. 

The hidden ideology within the practices is rooted in incel subculture and ideas of the sexual market value, where the value of men comes from their ability to provide security and women’s value come from their fertility. The practices of looksmaxxing are rooted in the ideas of the sexual market value — having hunter eyes, or a downturned gaze, a square jawline and a defined browbone. All these things are rooted in the ideals of what a real man should be. 

But the meaning behind the words is not that relevant when considering the broader context they exist within. Divorced from their context, the idea behind looksmaxxing seems inoffensive and mogging is, at its worst, a mean thing to put a name to. When placed back into their context, this becomes a more disconcerting sentiment — why do people feel so comfortable using incel slang in everyday language?  

By integrating the vocabulary of incels into the common language, the normalization of these ideas becomes more prominent. Instead of becoming red-pilled and trying to gain sexual market value, young men can instead focus on looksmaxxing to gain social capital. The ideology becomes watered down and inoffensive on the surface, meaning that the most it can do is leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth as opposed to sounding alarms for potential incel ideology. 

Unfortunately, the ideas have become distant from the words themselves. Now it is not uncommon to have pseudo-ironic comments about men mewing or looksmaxxing combined with the everyday vocabulary of mogging. The worst part is that people do not realize the origins of these words — the joke presides over the ideology. On the one hand, this takes the power away from them and turns them into the silly caricatures they appear to be. On the other hand, how many people are genuinely mewing? How many people genuinely use the word “mog” when describing a group of people? And most importantly, how many people realize these are part of incel culture? 

There’s a necessary candle that needs to be lit to the use of incel slang in everyday life. While it is possible for the language to become so divorced from its source that it loses meaning, these words are not at that point now. There are far too many avenues to travel down the path of inceldom to treat mewing or mogging as trends not to be taken seriously. 

This article is a part of our Opinions section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board.

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