No shortage of obnoxious people exists in this world, but some go way beyond the call of duty. These so-called ‘Karens’ are the worst kind of public nuisance and have quickly become a trending topic on social media platforms.
Karen has become such a sensation that subreddits like r/F—YouKaren are popping up online – and for good reason: these women deserve to be called out on their behavior.
1. Waitress Rant GIF
Karen public freakouts have become an epidemic trend, both online and in real life. This growth is being fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic and conversations surrounding race relations and police brutality after George Floyd’s passing.
Although it may feel good to take aim at Karens for their entitled tantrums, doing so only masks the symptoms rather than addressing the underlying cause. As journalist Elle Hunt recently wrote for The Guardian, these women are using their privilege to gain advantage in an unjust system.
One recent instance of Karens gone viral comes from the video uploaded by TikTok account JourneyinTruth, showing an employee at a medical center in Kentucky being forced to leave due to her refusal to comply with vaccine mandate. When she attempted to return, she started screaming, coughing and throwing herself on the ground – according to the site.
She even spat at a worker who tried to explain the situation to her and then attempted to lick her face. Eventually, she was arrested and charged with various felonies.
In New York, Miya Ponsetto was searching for her phone when she got into an altercation with a Black man at a hotel. Video has since been deleted but it showed the woman screaming at the man and pulling him to the ground while refusing to give him her phone back.
The New York Times has also written about the Karen culture, labeling it a “misogynistic slur.” While some have pointed out that it’s simply a catchall term for middle-aged white women, others argue the name doesn’t necessarily reflect racism but simply highlights a world in which women are treated differently than men. As Vox reports, many who use “Karen” have condemned those who label it as an sexist term.
2. Cafe Waitress Rant GIF
Popular GIFs and Memes About Karen Public Freakouts
People often refer to middle-aged white women as “Karen”, usually with the accompanying “can I speak to the manager haircut”. This practice of social justice criticism can be seen on Know Your Meme’s list.
Though the Karen meme has gained in popularity, some critics contend it to be sexist and could lead to doxxing or harassment. This is because snippets of people’s lives are compressed into one recorded moment, making them easier targets for doxxing or harassment.
The term “Karen” originated with Dane Cook’s 2005 comedy routine and is also mentioned in the movie Mean Girls.
Some writers have noted the term “Karen” has come to symbolize an entitlement among middle-aged white women, particularly after viewing a scene in Goodfellas which shows a white woman calling the police on someone of color.
Some have countered that the name Karen is actually non-sexist and not a misogynistic slur at all. It simply serves to denote someone who engages in irrational behavior such as racism or using their privilege against others.
Karens have caused much controversy due to their controversial term, yet it continues to gain popularity and even been linked to racist incidents. Unfortunately, Karens are known for abusing people racially, especially in public.
Another characteristic of Karens is their irrational fear of animals. In fact, they have been known to attack and even kill animals in the wild due to this fear. This fear often goes hand-in-hand with panic and a lack of self-control – it’s this combination that makes Karens so fascinating to observe.
3. Mask-less Karen Rant GIF
The Karen meme, which has become so popular that it’s now used as a Halloween costume, first gained notoriety over the past couple of years as an expression used to denigrate white women perceived as entitled in public. Since then, it’s become used to refer to any white woman who’s been criticized for whatever reason.
Karen video went viral for unjustly calling the police on a Black man who wrote “Black Lives Matter” with chalk on his own property. A few days later, another video appeared of a woman leaning against a car in a parking lot to prevent another driver from getting their desired spot.
As viral nicknames like “Karen” grow in popularity online, their use is becoming more problematic. According to David Dennis Jr., a journalist who has written extensively about the potential repercussions of assigning such names to white women who have committed overtly racist or sexist acts, these can often be assigned to white women who have committed such offenses.
That is why, when a recent video of a white woman trying to reserve a parking space in Central Park was labeled as “Counseling Karen,” it was particularly upsetting. And if that weren’t bad enough, the person uploading the video called her by an anonymous “Karen” instead of giving her a more meaningful name.
Karen’s actions led to the creation of a subreddit dedicated to highlighting all of the times she has done something wrong in an inappropriate, offensive, or dangerous way. While some of these rants have been amusing, others can be downright frightening.
These videos typically depict middle-aged white women acting out of entitlement and creating trouble for those around them. But that’s not the only thing that makes these videos unique, according to Green. She notes that many feature middle-aged white women sporting a pixie cut – which she refers to as “mom bobs.” It is this combination of haircut and superior attitude which has made them such a popular meme.