Last fall, the United States Mint announced the first five coins in the American Women Quarters Program, a four-year series of currency that will celebrate the achievements of “trailblazing American women.” For 2022, those inspiring icons are: Maya Angelou, Dr. Sally Ride, Wilma Mankiller, Nina Otero-Warren and Anna May Wong. The quarters depicting Angelou and Ride are already in circulation and have been warmly received — though some have also been struck by the altered appearance of George Washington on their change. He’s… thicc.
According to one observer, the Mint gave Washington a Jheri curl and did his edges:
Others claim the Founding Father’s well-known profile has been yassified.
But I think it would be most accurate to say that Washington has taken on the stately dimensions of that ultimate male archetype, the GigaChad. In some ways, it’s the culmination of a couple of centuries spent lionizing the Revolutionary War hero and first U.S. president as the embodiment of peak masculinity: tall, powerful, steely-gazed and unflinching. The further we get from Washington’s own lifetime, the more idealized he becomes. Check out this late 18th-century medal with his face on it — dude looks pretty homely if not downright busted.
What a glow-up he’s had ever since, all the way up through the age of memes:
However! The bulked-up, slick-ponytailed Chad Washington on the 2022 quarters turns out to have a backstory that predates our current, semi-ironic veneration of him as a Brit-killing alpha male. This likeness dates to the early 1930s, when sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser entered it in a national competition to design a coin honoring Washington on the 200th anniversary of his birth. Although popular, Treasury Secretary Andrew W. Mellon instead selected a left-facing profile by John Flanagan, which has graced our quarters for 90 years since. Fraser’s Washington was revived for a commemorative $5 coin in 1999, and now, at last — in keeping with the spirit of the American Women Quarters Program — has become the new standard on the 25-cent piece.
Fraser was “able to create a sense of his seriousness of purpose. The cheek muscles, you see the strength, the strength of character,” says Dean Kotlowski, a member of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. “The looking ahead, straight ahead, the sense of vision.”
In other words, he’s 100 percent that Chad.
Yep, leave it to a female artist to give us the manly hero we’ve been missing this whole time. You’d only flip this coin to make the weightiest of decisions. If you drop one in a parking meter, the whole thing explodes. They could barely fit any text around that massive melon.
In God we trust? Speak for yourself — from now on, I will let the spirit of Gigachad Washington guide me.