If you work in the workplace, then you likely know of Karens. These middle-class white women are known for abusing their privilege while pretending they’re unaware of it.
But you may have recently encountered a different kind of Karen in your workplace: one who expects promotions without earning them. This type of harassment can have detrimental effects on both your career and relationships with coworkers.
What is a “Karen”?
If you’ve spent any time online, the term “Karen” has likely come to your attention. It refers to an entitled middle-aged white woman who expects promotions without earning them.
These individuals can be found in a range of industries, such as retail and food service. When not satisfied, these people tend to cause a scene and act rudely towards customers or employees. When presented with unreasonable demands, these people tend to throw a fit – even when they know full well that fulfilling those requests would put them out of business.
“Karen” can refer to either a woman or man. Generally speaking, it’s used for middle-aged white women but could equally apply to anyone feeling entitled to something they do not deserve.
Karen has become a widely popular internet meme, particularly in the United States where it can be seen as an expression of sexism and privilege. Additionally, critics have noted its tendency to serve as an umbrella term for certain middle-class white women.
It has also been suggested that the term should not be applied to middle-aged white women because they can sometimes act in such ways as part of their privilege, and are not required to act in such ways to qualify as “Karen”. Some argue this phrase has become derogatory, while others contend it simply expresses how some people feel.
An example of this phenomenon is a woman dubbed “Central Park Karen,” who called police pretending to be threatened by a black man. Her call was caught on video and has now been viewed more than 1.5 million times.
The word “Karen” comes from the Danish nickname for Katherine and derives from the Greek Aikaterina, meaning “pure.”
Karen is a popular girl’s name that has grown in popularity recently, being seen on several celebrities such as Amanda Seyfried’s character Karen Smith in the teen comedy Mean Girls.
How do I stop being a “Karen”?
The “Karen” meme is becoming increasingly popular on social media platforms. It features a middle-aged Caucasian woman, often sporting a short blonde haircut, engaging in argumentation with and condescending remarks directed towards service industry workers.
It is often used to indicate someone with an arrogant attitude. This could include throwing an angry fit in public or demanding promotions without earning them. Instagram pages like @karensgoingwilds have documented hundreds of these rage-filled incidents.
People dealing with an intensely stressful situation in their life may exhibit this kind of behavior. For instance, if you’re struggling to make ends meet or facing a financial crisis, it could be easy to feel entitled to things that you don’t need or deserve.
But being entitled can have negative repercussions, particularly for those suffering from high levels of anxiety or depression. A mental health professional is invaluable in working through these feelings and developing strategies to cope.
If you are dealing with a chronic illness, having support can be invaluable in managing symptoms. Having friends and family to lean on for advice is also invaluable.
It’s essential to identify what causes you these feelings so you can stop doing them and start feeling more optimistic about life. One of the best ways to do this is by creating an action plan which will help you relax and remain focused on achieving your objectives.
Additionally, if you’re dealing with anxiety or depression, having a professional on board can be invaluable in working through it. They may provide medication or provide advice about managing these symptoms.
Avoid becoming a “Karen” by not expecting things you don’t deserve. This can be challenging, but necessary if you want to live an abundant and rewarding life.
Karen name has become a byword for internet fun – yet it has also been derided as sexist and ageist. Some even go so far to claim it’s racist!
What can I do if I’m a “Karen”?
In recent years, “Karen” has gained notoriety on social media as a derogatory term for middle-aged white women who are aggressive, racist and closed-minded. She often presents as a stereotype: short-haired blonde wearing mom jeans while running errands for school.
Cleve Evans, an expert onomastics (the study of proper names), states that Karen isn’t necessarily a slur but it has come to symbolize an oppressive stereotype about white women. Similar names such as “Becky” or “Stacy” also signify sexist behavior.
Although the terms “Karen,” “Becky,” and “Stacy” have their origins in white American culture, they have gained new significance with Black Twitter’s rise of anti-racism activism. The slur spread among protesters during the coronavirus pandemic and has since been applied to those who protest social distancing or act selfishly; including white women who push for casinos to reopen despite warnings not to.
Thus, it’s common for people to ponder if a slur is racist or sets someone up to be sued under their rights under either Illinois Human Rights Act (ILCS 5/et seq.) or federal Human Rights Act (Title VII).
To properly comprehend Karen, it’s essential to comprehend its meaning and how people use it. Like other slang words, Karen serves to mock real-world racism and oppression.
Though this term is being used facetiously, it shouldn’t be taken seriously. On the contrary, it can help people recognize when they’re being sexist.
Sun emphasizes that being aware of one’s privilege should serve as a reminder not to act irrationally or be dismissive towards others. She suggests it could also serve as an opportunity for you to reflect on how you treat others.
Avoiding being a “Karen,” however, is achievable. By being mindful of your actions and how they impact others, you can develop greater mindfulness and make better decisions.
How can I avoid being a “Karen”?
Karens are middle-aged white women who become indignant at even minor inconveniences or offenses. These individuals possess a sense of entitlement and believe their needs come before everyone else’s. Typically loud and obnoxious, Karens will make a scene when they don’t get what they want.
Karen was initially used in Reddit meme culture to denote problematic women, but its usage has since spread. Despite its origins, however, critics have labeled the name “Karen” a sexist stereotype.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of expecting promotions without actually earning them. In doing so, you could end up becoming a “Karen” without even realizing it!
Though typically associated with middle-aged white women, the term can be applied to anyone who acts in an aggressively petty way. For instance, someone who yells at someone for picking berries in the park could be labeled a “Karen”.
To avoid becoming a “Karen,” remember that you don’t deserve such treatment. Additionally, this type of behavior indicates an absence of empathy and compassion.
Another effective way to avoid becoming a “Karen” and expecting promotions is by reflecting on what you are doing when making unreasonable demands or throwing tantrums. Retail or service employees might find it beneficial to create their own realistic demands that are easy to meet.
Managers should make sure their employees comprehend your rules and expectations. Furthermore, explain that you may not always be able to accommodate all requests.
Finally, if you find yourself facing a “Karen,” remain composed and don’t argue about it. If you can’t resolve the issue or don’t have time to talk with them directly, simply let them know that a supervisor will address the matter later on.
It’s essential to remember that not all Karens are “Karen.” Some might just be being annoying. Do yourself a favor and stop labeling every overzealous woman you encounter as an “Karen.” You might be pleasantly surprised to discover they’re not!