This #Karen stuff is everywhere these days. Yesterday, CBS Sunday Morning did a segment on the term “Karen,” although every time I try to grab the link I get a 404, so quite potentially it offended someone and it’s been taken down. On the same day you had the “Karen” pictured above pulling a gun on Black Lives Matter protesters in St. Louis (her husband pulled a bigger gun). You have “Central Park Karen” — Amy Cooper — who seemingly lost her dog and her career at the same time because of a gay African-American bird-watcher. (I bet she didn’t think her Sunday was going to go that way.) I got back into Reddit a little bit this year, because of all the crazy shit going on and the need for some dank memes to contextualize it, and /r/PublicFreakouts, which is like an official #Karen channel in some ways, has had some gold on it.
This one has into the millions of views:
So yea, 2020 is the Year of Many Things, and #Karen is right up there.
Do we have scope creep on the term “Karen?”
We may. I personally viewed it as someone, typically a middle-aged white woman, who freaked out and broke up cookouts, i.e. “You minorities don’t live here, so you cannot congregate.” That was my core definition. I think we’ve crept into “any white woman who freaks out, regardless of age” or “any middle-aged white woman period” or just “entitlement.” So the definition has gotten broader, for sure.
Speaking of the broadest definitions:
That’s probably the deepest hit you’re going to get at a 35,000-foot level, at least that I’ve seen recently.
Wait, how did mask become ideology?
I think the short answer is “Because almost everything nowadays becomes ideology,” and not any rational reason. In America, it doesn’t help that Trump refuses to wear one, because right away you’ve got 10M people are like “My Lord and Emperor!” I don’t know how “potential for your health” became a “libs vs. the right” thing, but jeez, I’m just out here trying to afford dog food and a small second wedding, so what do I know?
Is #Karen a reckoning on entitlement?
That’s the goal, yes, but it doesn’t work perfectly in execution — because a lot of the people who mock Karens are Karens-in-training, junior-Karens (Beckys?), male Karens (Chads?), or are just entitled to the max themselves. If you mock what you are out of fear that you really are it but an unwillingness to acknowledge it, I am not sure it makes you “progressive” or “woke.” I think it just makes you not self-aware.
I think we want #Karen to be a movement of sorts about “We’ve had it with these privileged white women!” The problem is, a lot of people haven’t had it with them — the ones who scream on playgrounds? Dent cars with golf clubs? Sure. The rest of the lot, who you brunch with? No. And a lot of Karens have husbands who might employ you, or your husband, or your children, and that’s the second tier of the problem. Income is still a major deal in advanced capitalism, especially as people own less homes and own them later. If Karen’s husband Dale (changed it) is offering your son a job, do you really hate the idea of all Karens? I don’t think you do.
Who knew Karen was somewhat of a nuanced ecosystem, eh?