Women Want One Thing in Men, and It's ‘Hunter Eyes’

The latest trend in male beauty has nothing to do with six-packs and everything to do with looking like a sexy cheetah.
Christian Bale, Robert Pattinson and Chris Hemsworth with their hunter eyes circled
Collage by Cath Virginia | Photos via 

Every month Alex Cabba posts photos of himself on Reddit and asks strangers to rate his appearance. The 33-year-old was diagnosed with body dysmorphia, but this doesn’t stop him asking faceless users questions like: “Do I have a recessed chin?” and “Do I need forehead reduction surgery?”

People have not been kind. Some of the responses include “you give off a creepy vibe” and “you need to lose weight. 3.5/10”.


Cabba ranks his confidence as near nonexistent, and one of his many fixations is achieving “hunter eyes”: a new obsession among some men thanks in part to TikTok, where videos claiming that highly attractive guys have narrow deep-set eyes – think Chris Hemsworth, David Gandy and Robert Pattinson – have attracted millions of views. The corners of Reddit where Cabba hangs out are full of men desperately asking for help to change their eye shape. “I wish I had [hunter eyes] because I want to be very attractive,” he sighs. “I am just not attractive.”

Robert Pattinson at the Batman premiere

Robert Pattinson: a man with "hunter eyes". Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Hunter eyes aren’t a new concept. The term originates from online blackpill and lookism communities – forums where strangers exchange similarly extreme ideas around physical appearance and critique each others’ looks – which claim that the hottest guys have a hooded eye-shape with a positive canthal tilt, meaning they turn up at the ends.

Cabba theorises that hunter eyes “make a man [seem] more dominant and mysterious”. You might call this a “fox eye” or “cat eye” shape – the idea is that men with hunter eyes are sexier to women as they resemble apex predators like tigers and cheetahs, and therefore look like they could protect them. (As opposed to, you know, eating them.)

On TikTok alone, videos tagged with “hunter eyes” have attracted a total of 49.6m views. Men on the least desirable side of this beauty spectrum, according to these communities, have “prey eyes”, and these doe-eyed schmucks are thought to look weak and unassertive. Despite the fact that he is universally fancied by almost every woman on the internet, Timothee Chalamet’s negative canthal tilt would land him firmly in “prey” territory.


Romania-based Cabba is saving up to get an endless list of cosmetic procedures, including liposuction on his chin and cheeks, hair transplants or minoxidil for his scalp, an upper lip augmentation and forehead surgery. He also wants to get a canthoplasty “for [his] negative canthal tilt”, and tells VICE there is one doctor who would be perfect for this: Dr. Barry Epley.

The Indiana-based cosmetic surgeon, whose patients are roughly 80 percent men, became an internet phenomenon after a 2019 New York magazine article covered his surgical work with incels trying to become Chads. Data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in 2020 found that men made up 8 percent of all cosmetic procedures and eyelid surgery was in the top five procedures for them.

Eppley is relatively unique among surgeons in that he specialises in facial restructuring. Through the judicious use of implants, filler and surgery, he helps men literally remodel their faces in a quest to look more stereotypically manly. 

He tells VICE that the focus on male eye shape emerged over the last four years, and “certainly did not exist ten years ago”. The desire for hunter eyes is now “common” with his patients, he says. 


“Facial masculinization is about adding more structure and support and shape AKA more definition” he says. “Hunter eyes are probably an extreme variation of masculinising.” 

But many of the images his patients show him as examples of what they want aren’t even real, he adds: “Very often, they are looking at artificial things like models squinting.” Reddit pages dedicated to the pursuit of hunter eyes pretty much show the same actors and models maintaining a Blue Steel-like glower. In photos taken from a different angle, even Chalamet can look more hunter than prey.  

TikTok isn’t just helping to popularise the aesthetic – it’s helping to spread misinformation on what is physically possible, too. “Glow up tips for boys”, a TikTok with 2.6m views, claims you can stretch and pull your eye area to achieve hunter eyes. Countless videos also suggest that mewing – flattening your tongue against the roof of your mouth – can redefine your jaw and give you hunter eyes. 

On the extreme end of the spectrum is “bonesmashing” – the act of repeatedly hitting your face in the belief that it will make you look more chiselled. Though mostly framed as an inside joke on TikTok, some men on Reddit claim to have earnestly attempted it in the pursuit of a larger jaw and hunter eyes. 


Spoiler: According to Dr Ross Perry, a cosmetic doctor, mewing and bonesmashing are unlikely to change your eye or face shape in any tangible way. But they’re part of a wider trend of looksmaxxing, in which men pursue extreme physical glow-ups through surgery and grooming techniques to improve their lives. A term once confined to incel forums, those who don’t define as incels but have poor body image – people like Cabba – appear to be leaning into this in the hopes of being happier and attracting more women. 

Perry, the medical director of London and Bristol-based skin clinic Cosmedics, says that it is very difficult to achieve hunter eyes without surgery “due to the necessity of correcting the anatomy”. The type of surgery required is “a very delicate and highly specialised procedure”. 

So what kind of procedures would someone need to achieve this aesthetic? Eppley says depending on what the patient came in with, it would require multiple procedures, including a brow implant and tear trough filler, with each operation costing anywhere from $2,486-$7,460 (£2,000-£6,000).

Where Did All the Male Body Hair Go?

Not everyone is as surgically committed as Cabba. One man, who regularly posts on mewing and aesthetic self-help subreddits like Cabba, told VICE: “I do want them but I could live fine without them since they're genetic.”

The Redditor – who requested anonymity to protect his privacy – has posted several updates on his journey to looking more attractive. The rise in popularity for hunter eyes is obvious among those in his online circles, he says, adding that there is a greater demand for people to look attractive more generally. 

“The increase in the number of single people and standards resulted in an increase in insecurity, so people want to look better and they eventually either discover the ideas of mewing, looksmaxxing, hunter eyes, better posture, etc by accident or intentionally,” he explains. But rather than this empowering him with the tools to feel better about himself, it’s only made him feel worse: “It has made me more aware of my own imperfections.”

Many of the men chasing hunter eyes seem convinced women are only attracted to the human version of a jaguar, and it’s clear they believe changing their appearance accordingly will astronomically improve their dating chances. But many, myself included, can attest to the fact that the men you fancy often aren’t a triple threat of tall, stacked and scowling. Why else would Chalamet – a sexy but haunted Victorian doll – bring so many women around the world to their knees? Why would bug-eyed Pete Davidson be able to bag Instagram’s finest women one after another? 

And, as Eppley points out, achieving hunter eyes can be extremely expensive. You know what’s cheaper? Self-acceptance. Or, in the meantime, squinting.