Years have passed since we first noticed women on social media who go by the handle “Karens,” yet it seems there are always new ones appearing.
Karens are often emboldened by their privilege and use it as a weapon to harass those they don’t like. From calling the police because a Black person was having a picnic to hurling racial insults at a delivery driver, these white women have demonstrated that they have no boundaries.
1. They’re a waste of space
Karen is a name often associated with bad behavior, both online and in real life. They’re known for their petty sexism and microaggressions as well as their aggressiveness towards customers and employees.
Karens often exhibit traits motivated by social justice anger, but they can also come from a place of privilege. According to BuzzFeed News, Karens typically belong to the middle class, are white and female and often act entitled or against others’ interests.
Karens who become angry can pose a danger to those around them, as they frequently use sexist slurs and misogynistic language. If not taken seriously, Karens may become intimidating – particularly for women of color.
When a Karen enters your store or restaurant and begins shouting at staff for a minor infraction, it’s time to address them. While not all Karens are violent or threatening, they can still be unpleasant.
Furthermore, rude behavior from others can lead to increased spending or even the loss of business. While this may create an uncomfortable situation, it’s essential that you address the matter with patience and understanding.
To avoid a Karen, be an excellent customer. If you’re unsure what to do, Dani Weller – customer service team leader at Bionic – suggests using their policy guide as a resource when handling complaints.
If you need assistance with an issue, she suggests talking to the manager. That way, you can express your worries and they can take steps to address them.
Dudley emphasizes the importance of remembering Karens aren’t always right and may just be seeking conflict. These individuals can be highly irrational and suffer from mental illness, so you never win a battle with them.
In today’s digital world, where women are routinely harassed and threatened on social media, it’s no surprise that people have turned to the name Karen as a way of making fun of such behaviour. However, it should be remembered that this does not imply it’s necessarily sexist in any way.
2. They’re a waste of time
Karens have been making headlines across America for the past few weeks. These women become irrationally furious when rules don’t bend to their will – whether at a grocery store or on an airplane.
In some cases, people become angry due to something they perceive as wrong, or at their friends and family for being unreasonable. Others simply feel overwhelmed by what’s going on in the world.
They’re often recorded and shared on social media platforms. And if you’re an active user on these networks, chances are good that you have encountered one or more of these people at some point.
Karen’s identity remains uncertain, but the term has become widely used as a shorthand for an arrogant white woman who’s entitled and rude, according to Vox. The expression first gained notoriety on social-media platform Reddit where users on r/F**kYouKaren shared bitter insults against other users.
According to I.M. Nick, a nomenclature scholar and former president of the American Name Society, shorthand may have originated during an era when naming patterns were less frequent but has also been amplified by social media’s tendency to abbreviate names, suggesting a possible connection.
Recently, as America grapples with twin crises of public health and racial justice, the Karen meme has gained in popularity. A disparaging critique of entitled white females, it has become increasingly pertinent to discussions surrounding class privilege and social inequality on a national scale.
The term has also been linked to the coronavirus pandemic, where women are getting criticised on social media for failing to wear face masks or follow quarantine regulations. During lockdown, it has particularly become an epithet for certain types of “Karen” who seem not particularly concerned about public safety and believe the whole thing is overblown.
Many of these videos are caused by people feeling overwhelmed with the current state of the world and unable to act responsibly. They’re angry and frustrated, yet often can’t direct their rage at people of color in a manner which won’t be perceived as racist by mainstream society.
3. They’re a waste of money
For decades, the name Karen has been derisively labeled. However, this year has seen an especially volatile time to be called a Karen due to the coronavirus pandemic in America and protests for racial justice.
Amidst all this mayhem, a video has gone viral with the title “Karen Calls Police on Black Man in Central Park.” In it, a white woman complaining about being asked to leash her dog falsely accused an African American companion of threatening her life. As a result, she was fired from her investment firm job and required to surrender her dog.
Another Karen-inspired behavior that’s been spreading on the internet is refusing to wear a mask when shopping. People have been seen throwing fits over masks at Target, Dairy Queen and Home Depot among other places; the trend has even spread to Starbucks!
Some Karens even go so far as to fabricate emergency calls to 911, usually directed at Black neighbors and often featuring some of the most racially charged of all Karen-isms.
These calls, often involving Black men and women, are indicative of an outdated form of racism in America. According to Human Rights Watch’s recent report, calling the cops on people of color without cause is just one example of how white Americans can exert control over Black and brown lives.
This form of harassment has long been condemned by social justice groups and law enforcement alike. It’s a remnant from the past when Black and Brown people were held in slavery and denied participation in civil society.
Karen often demands to speak with the manager when she’s dissatisfied with the service she’s received at a restaurant or other establishment. She might even be irate that she must pay for something promised but never received.
Karens not only waste time and space, but they can be a significant drain on taxpayer money. For example, Black women arrested for shoplifting can face filing charges with the government that could cost up to $5,000 – that’s if they don’t obtain legal counsel, which is possible. This costly process adds further stress into an already precarious situation while doing nothing to aid victims in any way.
4. They’re a waste of life
The Karen phenomenon is an umbrella term used to describe a group of women who dress, talk and think similarly. It began in America but has since spread throughout other countries around the world.
It’s a term that describes an elite group of white women who are entitled, often racist and determined to obtain what they desire. These individuals harass Black and brown people on the sidewalk or call the police when they don’t like their neighbors’ cats or kids.
Lillian Glass, a communications expert based in Los Angeles who has studied social media rage, notes that these videos demonstrate feelings of anger, frustration and fear. She believes it may be due to lockdowns, furloughs and the re-emergence of Black Lives Matter activism as people cope with stress from lockdowns and furloughs.
But she also noted that many white people have been under stress for years, especially during the recession when many lost jobs and worried about how they would pay their bills.
When people became anxious about not receiving their paychecks, many of them responded in unexpected ways. Some even took their frustration to the streets or on social media platforms.
One of the first Karens to emerge was Amy Cooper, who called police on a Black man she believed to be threatening her in Central Park. Afterward, she apologized for her actions.
Another notable case was Lisa Alexander, who called the cops on her neighbor after they stenciled “Black Lives Matter” on his property. As a result, she was ultimately forced to resign from her position as an administrator.
The Karen phenomenon has been criticized as misogynistic, yet some argue it’s actually a reaction to real-world racism and oppression. Stephanie Younger (18-year-old activist) wrote an essay for the Black Feminist Collective stating that “Karen meme backlash is peak white feminism,” since Karens are typically white women who use their power to enforce oppression and violence upon others.
Karens ultimately get what they deserve. They are a group of entitled, often racist and sexist women that have become part of American culture – an unnecessary waste of resources in terms of time, money and energy for everyone else.