|First appearance||Krautchan imageboard, 2010|
Wojak (//; from Polish wojak [vɔjak], lit. 'soldier'), also known as Feels Guy, is an Internet meme. A simple, black-outlined cartoon drawing of a bald and wistful-looking man, it is used in its original form to generically represent emotions such as melancholy, regret, or loneliness. Many variants of the meme exist.
"Wojak" was originally the nickname of a Polish user on the English-language "International" board of the defunct German imageboard Krautchan. He started posting the picture that later became known as Wojak sometime around 2010, often accompanying it with the template phrase "That feel when X" along with variants. Both the face and the phrase "that feel when X" originated from a Polish imageboard called vichan. It spread to other international imageboards, including 4chan, where by 2011 an image of two Wojaks hugging each other under the caption "I know that feel bro" gained popularity. Wojak's face was also paired with the phrase "that feel" or "that feel when", often shortened to "tfw".
Later variants often paired Wojak with the originally unrelated character of Pepe the Frog. The relationship between these characters varied significantly depending on the artist, with Pepe sometimes providing Wojak with companionship and other times subjecting him to violent and scatological abuse.
More recently, Wojak has become a common sight on the websites Reddit and Twitter.
In 2016, the act of posting modified Wojak faces of ridiculed or deformed nature (referred to as "brainlet" Wojaks or Slowjaks) emerged as a way to criticize the intelligence of a poster. A common variation of Wojak-derived images posted in this trend are heads with disproportionately large, wrinkled brains, meant to depict high intelligence.
In October 2018, a Wojak with a gray face, pointy nose and blank, emotionless facial expression, dubbed "NPC Wojak", became a popular visual representation for people who supposedly cannot think for themselves or make their own decisions, comparing them to Non-Player Characters – computer-automated characters within a video game. NPC Wojak has gained online notoriety. The meme gained media attention, initially in Kotaku and The New York Times, due to its usage in parodying the perceived herd mentality of American leftists. This usage of the meme has been attributed to Donald Trump supporters. About 1,500 Twitter accounts falsely posing as liberal activists with the NPC meme as a profile picture were suspended for allegedly spreading misinformation about the 2018 United States elections.  On January 13, 2019, a conservative art collective known as "The Faction" hijacked a billboard for Real Time with Bill Maher, replacing Maher's image with that of the NPC Wojak.
In November 2019, the "Coomer" Wojak picked up in popularity with the "No Nut November" trend. The Coomer depicts a Wojak edit with unkempt hair and an untidy beard, to raise awareness about porn addiction. A lot of the popularity of this meme can be attributed to the "Coomer Pledge", a viral internet trend which dared people to abstain from masturbation for all of November, and change their profile picture to an image of the Coomer if they were to fail.
The doomer is an image macro and character archetype that first appeared on 4chan. The image typically depicts Wojak in a beanie, smoking a cigarette. The archetype often embodies nihilism and despair, with a belief in the incipient end of the world to causes ranging from climate apocalypse to peak oil to (more locally) opioid addiction. The meme first appeared on 4chan's /r9k/ board in September 2018.
A related meme format, "doomer girl", began appearing on 4chan in January 2020, and it soon moved to other online communities, including Reddit and Tumblr, often by women claiming it from its 4chan origins. This format is described by The Atlantic as "a quickly sketched cartoon woman with black hair, black clothes, and sad eyes ringed with red makeup". The doomer girl character often appears in image macros interacting with the original doomer character. The format is often compared to rage comics.
The "doomer boy" variation is marked by messy black hair, black hoodie, boy-ish features and a sad expression. It is thought to have originated from a tweet on January 30, 2020. Doomer Boy oftentimes interacts with similar "doomer" characters in image macros.
Often confused with the "Chad" Wojak due to their nearly identical names, although it had seen use on /pol/ since 2016. it gained traction outside of 4chan on a tweet on August 1, 2019. Yes Chad is sometimes referred to as "Nordic Gamer," "Nordic Chad," or simply "Chad" and a female variant is called "Yes Trixie" or "Yes Stacy." Yes Chad depicts a blond man with a beard and bright blue eyes, however there are several variants, many of which are based on political stereotypes.
The Soyjak is typically portrayed as a bald or balding face, with a small beard, glasses, and a surprised or excited expression. The soyjak is used in arguments as a form of ad hominem argument and attacks the masculinity or appearance of a poster; it also attacks members of typically "nerdy" communities. The Soyjak originates from a 4chan post made on September 21, 2017 showing Sony fans as superior to Nintendo fans.
- Polandball – another meme which originated on Krautchan to make fun of the user Wojak before spreading to the English-speaking world.
- Rage comic – a similar meme which also uses less derivative copies of black-and-white Microsoft Paint illustrations.
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- Martinez, Ignacio (7 January 2020). "Meet 'Doomer Girl,' the new voice of a classic meme". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
- "Meet 'Doomer Girl,' the new voice of a classic meme". The Daily Dot. 2020-01-07. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
- Spence, Sade (2020-12-11). "What Is A Doomer Boy?". StayHipp. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
- "Yes Chad". Know Your Meme. Retrieved 2021-06-15.
- "Soy Boy Face / Soyjak". Know Your Meme. Retrieved 2021-06-15.
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