Karen has become a byword for entitled white women who exhibit public tantrums when they don’t get their way.
This year has seen an uptick in Karen incidents. These individuals often act superior and insist on seeing the manager.
But they also create some of the funniest videos on TikTok. Here are some of our favorite entitled Karen moments captured on camera!
1. The Entitled Karen Who Thinks She Owns a Spot at the Gym
The internet is full of entitled Karens, entitled brats who make life miserable for those around them. These individuals are notorious for their rude remarks, calling out people on the street and being louder than others. Living with someone like this can be a hassle; therefore you should never take their behavior seriously.
The term ‘Karen’ has become a ubiquitous online slang for middle-aged white women who are perceived as demanding. This could include asking to speak to the manager, wearing an unflattering haircut, or engaging in racist behavior.
However, as Karens have become more commonplace on social media platforms, criticism has been voiced that the term is sexist – with real-life Karens being particularly targeted. Philadelphia community organizer Gwen Snyder claims the name Karen is a derogatory term rooted in class prejudice and “the idea that an older white woman using her privilege to demand their way”.
British feminist commentator Julie Bindel noted the parallel to “Sharon” and “Tracy” used in 1980s sitcom Birds of a Feather to denigrate working-class women. However, she notes this occurrence is more frequent among black American culture than Britain – an attempt to find humor within racism and oppression.
In the video above, a young woman and her boyfriend argue over a gym rule about face masks. Although there is only a brief notice given, they seem confused that it doesn’t apply at their gym. Laura steps in to clarify that under federal law you must wear a face mask when taking part in exercise classes at any fitness facility.
This woman makes an important point, yet she seems unwilling to acknowledge its worth. She should learn that showing some respect towards others goes a long way.
2. The Anti-Mask Karen Pretends to Hyperventilate
In the latest of this pandemic season’s rage-inspiring shoppers-gone-wild videos, “Karen” filmed herself at Target store destroying an entire display of face masks by violently pulling and knocking them off their racks. The video has already amassed 9.9 million views and sparked the creation of the hashtag #MasklessKarenStorm to highlight this extreme behavior.
According to Newsweek, a woman using the screenname Jessabird on Reddit recorded the video and it quickly went viral. After being exposed by Nebraska newspaper and Reddit users alike, German software company SAP fired Janene Hoskovec, otherwise known as “Anti-Mask Karen,” for her on-camera stunt.
Although some of these meltdown videos have caused controversy, they have proven largely ineffective at altering anyone’s behavior. According to Gary Fine – associate professor of sociology at Northwestern University and co-author of Why We Hate Masks – using social media as a punishment does not work.
However, the “Karen” meme serves as an instructive example of how anti-mask and anti-lockdown discourses are shaped by gendered contexts on Facebook and Instagram. Through multimodal discourse analysis of active anti-mask and anti-lockdown users’ posts on both platforms, three main discourses emerged: hypermasculine portrayals of “Karen”, appropriation of freedom/feminism discourses, and hypermanipulative portrayals of “Karen”.
The Karen is often associated with female products, mirroring how women are often depicted in other consumer product advertising. A Karen serves as a metaphor for these self-centered entitled white women who have gone rogue this year by pretending to be attacked by nonviolent Black bird watchers, crying about wait times at drive-thrus or pulling guns on Black families over disputes at Chipotle.
3. The Entitled Karen Who Thinks She’s the Manager
In essence, this individual believes her opinion matters more than others’. That means she has the power to change store policy and get what she wants regardless of consequences.
These individuals are commonly referred to as “Karens.” These individuals take issue with managers and employees alike, feeling entitled to everything they possess. And if someone else does something they don’t agree with, they are typically ready to fight back and demand justice.
In recent years, the Karen phenomenon has manifested into a real-life issue for those who deal with her regularly. Dealing with someone like this can be frustrating and even downright angry when one feels justified in their views.
When dealing with entitled Karens, having a strategy and knowing what to do when they arise is beneficial. Sometimes all that’s required is temporarily delaying their needs until another time; but in more serious cases, direct confrontation may be necessary to address the situation directly.
Though such behavior can be dangerous, it’s not impossible to avoid. It just becomes harder when dealing with someone who demands superior treatment than everyone else and won’t stop until they achieve their objectives.
Therefore, the most crucial thing to do when encountering such people is not to let things get out of hand. This especially applies to employees.
If you come across a shopper at the mall who seems out of place, don’t try to make them feel comfortable. Doing so could only lead to further issues and it may be difficult to argue with them when they try to leave.
Similarly, if you come across someone at the gym who doesn’t abide by rules or show disrespect for equipment, don’t ignore them. It could be indicative of their arrogance.
4. The Entitled Karen Who Thinks She’s Too Busy
Karen has become synonymous with those who act too entitled. While they may get away with it online, in real life it can lead to serious problems.
Dr Lauren Rosewarne, a gender, sexuality and pop culture expert at the University of Melbourne, notes that “Karen” has become an iconic term in online humor as well as being used to denigrate people of colour in service positions. According to this expert, Dr Lauren Rosewarne believes “Karen” represents an arrogant middle-class white woman who speaks down to those of colour while often in service positions.
Karens have many ways to express themselves online, but one thing to watch out for is the constant presence of “Live, Laugh, Love” decorations. This signature phrase can be seen in numerous viral TikTok videos.
Karens can also be selfish and waste others’ time and energy. For instance, they might ask for a drink at the bar without considering how it will impact other customers, or buy food for everyone in the restaurant without considering how it affects other patrons.
They may also make it a habit of calling into meetings without warning or being an annoyance to other staff members. While these behaviors may seem harmless at first glance, they have the potential to spread like wildfire and make people hesitate before visiting your establishment again.
Some Karens have even been known to take their frustrations out on service workers at the local grocery store. They might yell at employees who simply want to help or demand that policies be adjusted to accommodate their preferences.
It’s always beneficial to inform someone when you have already spoken with a manager about their request. Doing so can save them the hassle of having to reschedule, and it also ensures that they don’t repeat inappropriate behaviors.
The Karen meme has gained enormous traction on the internet and inspired several subreddits, such as r/fuckyoukaren, where people can share their stories about encountering these types of rude women. But as many have pointed out, this slur has been condemned by radical feminists for being “woman-hating and based on class prejudice”. Whether this is an accurate reflection or not, seeing these women being labeled sexists and entitled by members of our public serves as a sobering reminder how far we still need to go in our fight against racism and sexism.