I’ve always rather liked my name ‘Karen’. Considering I was going to be either ‘Mavis’ or ‘Mabel’ I think I was pretty blessed. I’ve sailed through life happily answering to ‘Karen’ when it has been uttered in a friendly way. A stern tone would make me feel a little more concerned.
However, myself and several other Karens whom I know have now noticed that our name has been somewhat tainted. In fact, I was commenting on a local community post on Facebook recently when an anonymous person wrote: “Don’t listen to her — she’s a Karen”. And then the Karen stuff started flying!
I’m a pretty level headed person with a good sense of humour, but by the end of the tirade, I felt a little like any marginalised person would feel — bruised, battered and unheard. In fact, I felt I could not comment any more. I had been effectively silenced.
I felt (admittedly, only very slightly) like how a person disadvantaged by slurs against their race, colour or creed must feel. It was quite confronting and upsetting. I had been judged by what people think a ‘Karen’ is like. And it was not true. It was a contrived stereotype.
So who is a Karen? What is this social media contrived phenomena?
From my research, apparently Karen is a type of stereotype for a white middle-class, middle-aged woman who is very affluent. She demands to speak to the manager, is opinionated, drives an SUV, has a bob hair cut with blonde highlights and is highly opinionated.
She also has a cat. She is often racist, uses Facebook and is an anti-vaccination follower.
I was gobsmacked. Why? I actually met some of the criteria, but only a few of them.
I do have a bob, but it is grey and not highlighted. I have a cat. I am white. I am highly opinionated. I do ask to speak to the manager when necessary. However, I drive a humble little Suzuki, I am no where near affluent, I am working class, I am not and never will be elitist or racist, and I’m on the fence regarding vaccination. In fact, all things considered, I think I’m a really nice person.
So, my dear ‘Karen’ friends, and all the other ‘Karens’ out there. Let us fight back and rejoice in and enjoy our ‘Karen’ identity. Let’s start a ‘pro-Karen’ movement!