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Neckbeard is a pejorative term referring to unattractive, overweight and misogynistic Internet users who wear a style of facial hair in which a majority of the growth is present on the chin and neck. Neckbeards are commonly associated with hipster stereotypes and Internet addicts who frequent websites like 4chan and Reddit.
The earliest known online use of the term “neckbeard” can be found in a Wackbag Forums post by member SOS on August 24th, 2003, in which he asks if the facial hairstyle is considered “ugly or sexy.”
The neckbeard facial hairstyle, sometimes referred to as the portmanteau “neard,” has been traditionally associated with male members of the Amish Mennonite Christian church fellowship (shown below). Amish men do not shave their beards after becoming married, but are forbidden to grow mustaches due to its association with the military. Several notable historical figures were known to have worn the beard, including the Roman Emperor Nero, American Liberal Republican Party founder Horace Greeley and German composer Richard Wagner.
On April 29th, 2004, MetaFilter user angry modem submitted a post asking if he should grow a neckbeard, which received many responses deriding the facial hairstyle. On May 1st, 2005, the Internet humor site Something Awful published a neckbeard guide, claiming that men with neck facial hair are typically deemed unattractive by the opposite sex. On December 19th, Urban Dictionary user parttimehanyou submitted an entry for the term “neckbeard”:
“Derogatory term for slovenly nerdy people who have no sense of hygiene or grooming. Often related to hobbies such as card gaming, video gaming, anime, et. al.”
“The neckbeard is a feature of the slovenly obese, that stereotypical virginal denizen of teh intarwebs who lives in his parents’ basement at age 25+ and despite his college education and vast computer skills, works a menial, low paying, low stress job, perhaps as night manager of a grocery store or phone tech support.”
OOn September 6th, 2009, the /r/neckbeard subreddit was launched, featuring various image macro jokes about the facial hairstyle. On November 2nd, 2010, the viral content site BuzzFeed highlighted a photograph titled “Ultimate Neckbeard” (shown below).
On December 14th, 2011, MMO Champion Forums member Chunkyman posted a thread asking why neckbeards were stigmatized online, which received over 100 responses within 24 hours. On December 28th, 2012, Redditor wildsportsbets submitted a photograph of a man with a gray neckbeard to the /r/WTF subreddit (shown below). Within three months, the post garnered upwards of 24,000 up votes and 1,000 comments.
The advice animal character Butthurt Dweller is often considered an example of the neckbeard stereotype, with captions expressing arrogant, misogynistic and immature character traits.
Neckbeards are commonly associated with men who wear the fedora felt hat as a fashion accessory, which is often mocked online for being worn by men without poor sense of style.
Fatlus is an internet slang term and pejorative label used to describe Western fans of the Japanese video game developer company Atlus and its video game franchises, most notably Megami Tensei, as well as its spin-off titles Shin Megami Tensei: Persona and Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga. In the MS Paint-style webcomic series with the same name, “Fatlus” is depicted as the archetype of male Otakus or Weeaboos.