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(24,167 posts)
Tue Jun 2, 2020, 11:09 PM Jun 2020

I See a Backlash Coming: "The Karen"

This is how we become divided -- by stereotypes, prejudices, biases, assumptions and classifications that put us in boxes like Barbies on a shelf -- just a quick look at the packaging tells you the 'type.'

That's how a few instances created The Welfare Queen, still the symbol used to justify white outrage over taxes and "big government."

It's how "militant" feminists fighting for our rights were cast as Man-Hating, Unnatural Women, symbols of feminism and targets of attack, for decades.

There's also the Brainless Trophy Wife, the Bitter Old Hag, and the Snobby Liberal Elitist Nothing in Particular Just Hate Her. (See: The Karen.)

From the earliest times, we have women's names to blame -- Pandora, then Eve. (Careful of your Marys, sisters!) The blame passes down, often by first name.

Of late, the name "Monica" has been slut-shamed. And let's not have another "Hillary"!!

The Becky, now Amy Cooper as a new symbol of the white liberal racist Barbie, and Minneapolis as somehow -- facts be damned -- creating a basis for excluding Amy Klobuchar.

Ultimately, the new stereotype: The Karen...

This is not about INclusion. It is about EXclusion. The backlash is coming at "liberal, educated (Democratic)" white women, and you know why we can't call it out? Because I know, I know, who can have any sympathy for us? Aren't our lives just perfect???

I am with Black Lives Matter.
I am with the protesters.
I am with the movement for change.
I am voting for Joe Biden.

But the struggle in our racial tug-of-war has impacted me, violently. I am hesitant to speak of it because after all, I'm a privileged white woman.

Feminism starts with EQUALITY.

DO NOT label me a "KAREN."

29 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
I See a Backlash Coming: "The Karen" (Original Post) Sparkly Jun 2020 OP
No. "Karen" is a description of hugely entitled behavior. I am also a white woman. I don't Squinch Jun 2020 #1
it's a smear on a name shared by many perfectly ok women. DU should know better nt msongs Jun 2020 #2
It is a vicious stereotype. Government of, for and by males have created our current misery delisen Jun 2020 #3
Sorry. I totally disagree with this. "Karen" has nothing to do with patriarchy. Squinch Jun 2020 #7
All this. n/t ms liberty Jun 2020 #9
We should have a similar meme for the likes of Jamie Dimon. JudyM Jun 2020 #22
Oh, FFS, daligirl519 Jun 2020 #4
Why is it necessary to smear the many thousands of women named. Karen? delisen Jun 2020 #6
Now that you mention it, yes it is! Squinch Jun 2020 #8
See how easy Sparkly Jun 2020 #11
Poor dear. Squinch Jun 2020 #16
Why the resentment? Sparkly Jun 2020 #17
Hmm... why the projection? Squinch Jun 2020 #19
Sorry if I misunderstood you. Sparkly Jun 2020 #20
In what way Sparkly Jun 2020 #10
I vote for calling them shnooks 2naSalit Jun 2020 #5
How about just saying Sparkly Jun 2020 #12
But these assholes are far more dangerous 2naSalit Jun 2020 #13
I agree. Sparkly Jun 2020 #14
There is probably not a word with 2naSalit Jun 2020 #15
Same. Sparkly Jun 2020 #18
The point is, it has ZERO to do with gender.. whathehell Jun 2020 #25
Yes, something race and gender neutral.. whathehell Jun 2020 #23
"How the Karen Meme Benefits the Right" Sparkly Jun 2020 #21
"Misogyny is the last acceptable bigotry of the Left" -- Katha Pollitt, whathehell Jun 2020 #24
This message was self-deleted by its author CatLady78 Jun 2020 #27
This message was self-deleted by its author CatLady78 Jun 2020 #28
Thsnks for that excellent post! whathehell Jun 2020 #26
Total misogyny janterry Jul 2020 #29


(51,228 posts)
1. No. "Karen" is a description of hugely entitled behavior. I am also a white woman. I don't
Tue Jun 2, 2020, 11:25 PM
Jun 2020

behave like a Karen, so I don't worry about the label.

It isn't a stereotype. It's a shorthand for someone who thinks everyone is there to satisfy her demands.


(6,081 posts)
3. It is a vicious stereotype. Government of, for and by males have created our current misery
Wed Jun 3, 2020, 12:20 AM
Jun 2020

I ask you and every person who believes in full equality and full representation for all to not disparage the name Karen. It is an attempt to blame women for problems created by men and the intent is as always to protect inequality and male dominance-in this case white male domination.

We live in a patriarchal society and it needs revolution. We need equality for all.
I thank every person including all the men who refuse to engage I this verbal assault on the name Karen.

We had no voice in drawing up the Constitution - and even John Adams betrayed us when he ignored his wife's request to not forget "the ladies."

Women did not placate the slaveholders, men did. Women did not make the Supreme Court decisions that deemed slaves 2/3s of a person. Women did not run the Harvards that supported themselves through slavery, men did. How many women do you think raped slaves compared to men?

Same story for the French Revolution. Despite women fighting for their freedom, the Rights of Women were ignored.

Women have been kept out of the public space by men for centuries in our country. . Karen was a popular name for a female many years ago and most of them are now middle-aged. They have not enjoyed full equality throughout their lives and they should not have to endure this bullshit about their name now.

We need parity in representation, in all offices-right up to president. We still have a long way to go.

Society has to come before an economic system, human rights before business.

Men in Congress would never have been able to deal with the bankers the way Katie Porter dealt with Jamie Dimon. He was stunned. No male in Congress had ever questioned his authority and yet he had created misery for hundreds of thousands of households throughout the country in his thirst to make money for himself.

Elizabeth Warren needed to be appointed to head the consumer agency she created.

It seems to me that a person who thinks everyone is there to satisfy their demands is a description of many males, not females.

Women and girls matter and patriarchalists male and female-need to be confronted with the facts. Whether we have a democracy or authoritarian rule depends upon moving fast on full equality and taking responsibility to change the system which brought us to where we are today.


(51,228 posts)
7. Sorry. I totally disagree with this. "Karen" has nothing to do with patriarchy.
Wed Jun 3, 2020, 05:57 AM
Jun 2020

It has to do with an obnoxious, entitled form of behavior that has become commonplace.

I see nothing wrong with acknowledging obnoxious, entitled behavior when I see it.

And PS, my friends named Karen use the descriptor when they see the behavior.


(285 posts)
4. Oh, FFS,
Wed Jun 3, 2020, 12:35 AM
Jun 2020

As a Black woman and a Womanist, I know exactly what a “Karen” or a “Becky” is. It’s a white woman using her privilege to stomp all over people she sees as inferior. In fact, this post is peak Karen.


(6,081 posts)
6. Why is it necessary to smear the many thousands of women named. Karen?
Wed Jun 3, 2020, 02:32 AM
Jun 2020

Especially after many are saying how hurtful it is and asking us to not do it. Do you think men are not guilty of the behavior you describe?

Are there no gender neutral terms that can be used?


(24,167 posts)
20. Sorry if I misunderstood you.
Wed Jun 3, 2020, 11:24 AM
Jun 2020

I assumed "poor dear" was snarky sarcasm. Just trying to understand, and trying to stem the stereotyping. No resentment on my end.


(24,167 posts)
10. In what way
Wed Jun 3, 2020, 09:10 AM
Jun 2020

did my post stomp on anyone or call anyone inferior? How is it okay to label my post "peak Karen?" You don't know me or my experience. You don't know how I see other people.


(87,896 posts)
13. But these assholes are far more dangerous
Wed Jun 3, 2020, 09:22 AM
Jun 2020

than simply obnoxious. They are trying to get other people killed or at laest get them screwed over because they were called out for being assholes.

Obnoxious doesn't even come close.


(87,896 posts)
15. There is probably not a word with
Wed Jun 3, 2020, 09:31 AM
Jun 2020

Last edited Wed Jun 3, 2020, 10:06 AM - Edit history (1)

appropriate definition to describe the mindset but it's there and it needs some easily identifiable term without a full paragraph preceding it to explain what it is. I have a sibling named Karen and know several other women named Karen and they aren't complaining...

Karen, Diane, Jenny or Suzie... it's a name that is easily recognizable. It's widely used beyond DU so I don't see where it's going to change soon.


(29,186 posts)
25. The point is, it has ZERO to do with gender..
Fri Jun 26, 2020, 01:50 AM
Jun 2020

A number of White Men have been FORCING their unmasked selves into Costcos and Walgreens and I don't see them paying for their "privilege" with snide nicknames.


(29,186 posts)
23. Yes, something race and gender neutral..
Fri Jun 26, 2020, 01:26 AM
Jun 2020

The "karen" meme violates the DU rule against "divisive group attacks" It specifically forbids "disrespectful nicknames". I've already alerted on a post, and gotten it hidden on that basis.


(24,167 posts)
21. "How the Karen Meme Benefits the Right"
Wed Jun 3, 2020, 01:19 PM
Jun 2020
How the Karen Meme Benefits the Right - by Nina Burleigh. She traces the origin of the meme to a Reddit Thread (which I hadn't known) and says:

How better to get some of those middle-aged, suburban white women back in the fold — or at the very least, to sit out the election — than to stoke progressive misogyny with a social media assault that heaps contempt on white suburban women? Divide and conquer is a tactic that never fails to stump the diverse left.

In "The Sly Sexism of the OK Karen Meme," Sarah Ditum says, "It’s a finger trap insult, where struggling against it only makes it grip tighter." That is, when a woman points it out, she's called a Karen. Ditum quotes a more recent source:

In a 1991 essay, the feminist scholar Catharine Mackinnon noted that the phrase “straight white economically-privileged women” had become a kind of “dismissive sneer”, used to imply that the women it referred to were too pampered, too cossetted, too privileged to ever experience subjugation on the basis of sex. What is the “white woman”, asked Mackinnon? “This creature is not poor, not battered, not raped (not really)… She flings her hair, feels beautiful all the time, complains about the colored help, tips badly, can’t do anything, doesn’t do anything, doesn’t know anything…” What a Karen.

Other essays I'd recommend if anyone's interested:

The Karen Meme is Everywhere and It Has Become Mired in Sexism - Hadley Freeman traces "Karen" to a 2005 Dane Cook monologue when he said, “Every (friendship) group has a Karen, and she’s always a bag of douche.” She asks:

Do I really need to spell out the sexism of a meme about a woman’s name that took off from a man griping about his ex-wife and has become a way of telling women to shut up?

Feel Free to Use Karen Memes, Just Stop Pretending It's Politically Justified - Meghan Murphy

People (let’s call them women) are trying to have a conversation, and discussing the implications of “Karen” — that is to say, how it is used, and the purpose of that use. In fact, the response to those arguing “Karen” is a means to insult, dismiss, and mock women demonstrates the purpose of “Karen” rather precisely: you are a stupid woman and your concerns don’t matter — you don’t deserve to be taken seriously as a human being, you are silly, unimportant, and to be mocked.

I hadn't read these before - I was just writing from my own thoughts. But these writers are much more eloquent than I am, and maybe something they have written will resonate more than my words did.


(29,186 posts)
24. "Misogyny is the last acceptable bigotry of the Left" -- Katha Pollitt,
Fri Jun 26, 2020, 01:32 AM
Jun 2020

feminist and writer for The Nation.

Response to Sparkly (Reply #21)

Response to Sparkly (Reply #21)

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