Comedian Russel Brand on his show Ponderland once talked about the type of people who adopt some signature weird hat or graphic t-shirt in place of having an actual personality. I?m always reminded of this whenever I see or hear about a neckbeard.
What is a neckbeard?
Neckbeards have been targets of ridicule on the internet for a while now, and they most definitely do deserve it. Know Your Meme describes a neckbeard as ?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.?
Cottilomuchaplata / WikiCommons
Obviously, there is a lot more to it than that, but the reason why neckbeards receive so much ridicule is due to their blatant sexism (and often racism), lack of hygiene, laziness, and obsession with obscure hobbies such as anime and tabletop games. While every neckbeard is different and they come in many forms, one item often associated with them is the fedora, to the point that if you see a man in public wearing a fedora and they?re not cosplaying as Indiana Jones, you?d probably be right in thinking they are a neckbeard.
What is a fedora?
Fedoras were invented in the late 19th century and were a common form of men?s formal wear throughout the 20th century, especially when men were expected to wear hats outdoors. Around the 2010s, the fedora made a comeback due to its popularity amongst hipsters, and neckbeards. Its association with both of these groups are what gave the fedora its negative association.
Sachaem / Pixabay
Neckbeards and fedoras
The rise of the fedora amongst neckbeards coincided with the airing of the popular tv series Mad Men, a show about advertising executives in the 1950s and 60s. Whilst the show was intended to highlight the sexism of the time period, many men misinterpreted the message and found the misogynistic characters relatable, even heroic in their eyes.
It is perhaps thanks to Mad Men that the neckbeards developed an obsession with the 1950s. Many of them seem convinced that if they had been around at a time when women were meeker and more submissive, they would have found girlfriends easily, rather than being the lonely virgins they are today. Thus, they began wearing fedoras to feel closer to the time period they love and perhaps because it made them feel like the characters in Mad Men.
State Library of Queensland, Australia / WikiCommons
Obviously, there?s nothing wrong with this. It?s not much different than people dressing in steampunk clothes because they like the Victorian aesthetic. But what the neckbeards forget is that the fedora was intended to be worn as formal wear. If you watch Mad Men, you will see that the characters only wear their fedoras in formal situations, mostly when they?re at work, and dress them up with nice, well-tailored suits. Even today, the only hipsters which make fedoras look good are those who match them with dapper outfits.
gain007 / Pixabay
The neckbeard instead tends to wear their fedora with any combination of the following:
An unkempt beard spreading across the neck (hence ?neckbeard?)
Greasy, unkempt hair
Obscure anime (often hentai) or My Little Pony t-shirt
Old, stained jeans or tracksuit pants
Katana (yes, really)
None of these items go well together (most of them are from different time periods) and the neckbeard?s natural lazy tendencies usually mean they don?t bother to take care of their clothes. Yet they seem convinced that simply putting on a fedora will make them look smart and attractive to women. That would be the equivalent of me wearing my high heeled shoes with yoga pants and a plaid shirt. The shoes wouldn?t make the outfit look classy, they would make it trashy.
The online backlash and Mad Men?s conclusion do mean that the fedora is becoming less popular, even amongst neckbeards. At least I thought so, until my husband and I found some on sale at the mall only a few weeks ago. Now I still live in constant fear of the neckbeard, and their ill-fitting fedoras.