Back in June, a 23-year-old named Brent posted a TikTok. He explained that he and his pal Jeffrey (seen in the background, though apparently a bit camera-shy) had once had a larger social group and were looking for more fun people to chill with near Moncton, a city in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. Brent gave a rundown of their shared interests — movies, comic books, video games — and what an ordinary hang is like for them.
It was a display of open-heartedness and vulnerability, but one Twitter user tried to ridicule them as pathetic nerds. They declared, on a now-suspended account, that the TikTok was “the most depressing shit” they’d ever seen. The remark could not have backfired any harder.
This pushback and support for Brent and Jeffrey helped the original video reach a far wider audience, and the call for friends was answered — about 30 people showed up to Brent and Jeffrey’s meetup in a local park, much to the delight of the internet. By maligning the guys as “cringe” for seeking out human connection, the hater had merely confirmed that they were wholesome, genuine, kind, and yes, even cool. If you thought about it, they were actually Chads.
The whole affair is a prime example of the uplifting content you’ll find on Reddit’s r/Chadtopia.
Like so much else online, the term “Chad” is nuanced and ever-shifting — and Chadtopia represents part of an ongoing effort to rehabilitate the word. On 4chan or incel message boards, “Chad” refers to a stereotype of the sexually successful straight man: a well-muscled alpha jock with a strong chin, minimal intelligence and unlimited arrogance. Because he supposedly has his pick of “Stacys” (vapid, bimbofied women), the Chad is regarded in these circles with a contemptuous jealousy. In recent years, however, mainstream social media has expanded the scope of Chad-esque qualities, folding in plenty of positive masculinity and self-confidence.
In short, anyone who embraces fearless authenticity, without regard for the cynics and bullies who might try to tear them down, has achieved a Chad state of mind — just as Brent and Jeffrey did. Whatever you identify as cringe-worthy or risible about a person immune to your snarky judgment is, instead of a weakness, a superpower. As the subreddit puts it: “There are plenty of things considered socially unacceptable or uncool, but some people are so confident in owning it that it becomes commendable. Reaching the peak of not giving a fuck and doing whatever makes them happy even as others make fun of them for it.”
This is the way of Chad.
With its promise of inclusivity (Chads can be any gender) and unconditional love, Chadtopia indeed lives up to a utopian ideal. Here, no one is ugly or awkward, an embarrassing dork or pitiable loser, as long as they recognize their inner greatness and share it with the world. A kid with spasmodic dance moves? Nope, a Chad showing us the true potential of the human form. An author sneakily inflating the Amazon rating of his book by giving it a five-star review? Nah, he’s a king patting himself on the back for all the hard work he’s done. An older gentlemen oversharing about his sex life? Bro, that guy’s a legend — he fucks his wife and posts baller selfies. It’s all a matter of reframing your perspective. Celebrating instead of shaming.
The internet can be a harsh place, and there’s a natural instinct to put others down in order to assert your higher status. Thank god for this strong counter-current of acceptance and joy — the Chadly state of grace that allows for a true expression of the human spirit, in all its varied, wonderful weirdness. Renounce convention. Unleash the Chad you have always been. The rest of us are waiting for you, with open arms and a warm smile. I think you’re going to like it here.