STOP! Before you jump to conclusions, I’m not here to join the bandwagon of the popular “Karen” stereotype. For those who are not aware, according to popular social media, THE Karen is referring to a super entitled middle-aged white woman who acts inappropriately. In this context, though, “Karens” basic nature is exactly like the one from the popular stereotype- the Karen that eagerly wants to speak with your manager and make your life miserable. However, it’s not confined to any RACE, AGE, or GENDER. I repeat, in my opinion, Karens can belong to any age, race, gender, and can have any type of hair or haircuts. “I don’t believe in Karen Haircuts”.
On the contrary, although it sounds harsh and immature to categorize people who are whiners and call them Karens. It is also uncool to call them out on social media; we get it. But we need to understand why or what triggered this whole movement?
According to Insider.com, the internet went viral when stories of women who were apparently problematic and overly entitled stormed social media. The first incident was reported in Central Park, NYC when a woman named Amy Cooper called police on a black man on May 25th, for no apparent reason- to which the internet agreed that she was a Karen.
Days later, another such woman went viral for leaning on a spot in a parking lot to prevent the driver from the parking, the internet agreed that she was a Karen too. Ever since then, the internet has been flooded with Viral videos of women mistreating retail store workers on petty issues and asking to speak with their manager. There have also been cases where they refused to wear a mask and called out employees disrespectfully for enforcing the rule. But they were only doing their job, Karen. Therefore,it has become a moniker for women who act entitled or inappropriately, going around judging or mistreating people like they own the world.
Karen movement was perhaps a defense mechanism that started on social media by people who were personally affected or witnessed the unfair treatment of Karen’s towards innocent people. Let’s agree that we have entitled and problematic people in every race and for a matter of fact men can be Karens too? Karen with all CAPS can be male KARENS.
Anyhoo, as much as empathy we are trying to show towards Karens, we all need to learn a major lesson out of all this. And that is “How to NOT be one of them”. Let’s look at some of the points below and see if we fall in the Karen category knowingly or unknowingly? And if so, how to avoid being a bully or stop behaving in a rude ignorant manner.
1. Please don’t ask for the manager on things that don’t need a manager:
When you are at a retail store, don’t expect perfection in every situation. Sometimes things can be imperfect and that’s okay. Situations can be out of the control of employees or front-line workers. If you have not been robbed or lied to, about a service/product, please don’t ask for the manager. Managers have too many people to manage in the first place and for the most part, managers are always backing their teams up until and unless you have really been wronged. So, don’t cause extra trouble and waste people’s time only because you thought that the worker didn’t greet you or the price of the product was too high. Instead, try to give constructive feedback by politely asking for an email address or contact info of the person in charge.
2. Don’t boss around your family in public
We all know how Karens are known to be control freaks. We get it Karen, but please avoid making things uncomfortable for your family members and other people around you. You don’t want to be that lady who yells at her husband or son for not obeying orders. Neither do you want to be the guy who is screaming at his wife at the airport for taking an extra 3 minutes for leaving the house. Let’s all be civilized and try to control our emotions whether or not in public.
3. Sucking the fun out of joyous moments:
Karens are known for sabotaging the joy in people’s days. Their endless list of unmet demands and complains about how things aren’t going the way they want, is just mind baffling. If you are having a fun event with friends or family, try to overlook little things that may have caused you discomfort. Everything shouldn’t revolve around you and your needs. It’s ok if someone is not giving attention to you but your best friend. Who cares? Can we for a minute act like adults and stop causing rumpus for others and ourselves. Don’t be a Karen or a KAREN.
4. Keep your opinions to yourself unless you are asked:
We all have opinions and it sure is healthy to share them politely. The Karens have a tendency to slap their opinions on people’s faces making sure it hurts them. Some things don’t require an opinion, but Karens give voice to every unnecessary opinion neglecting the fact that it can hurt people’s feelings. Opinions like: “Oh, you are from the city of xyz, it’s so ghetto”, thanks for your opinion, Karen but we didn’t ask for it. The point is, if your opinions are capable of hurting others, please try and keep them to yourselves.
5. Karens are the biggest racists:
Let’s all agree, we all come across people who somehow manage to get under our skins by passing a nasty comment about our appearance or our ethnic backgrounds. Sometimes it’s not meant to be vicious, but other times it sure is meant to push your buttons. Currently trending, Comments like, All Asians look the same or You are too pretty for Asian, or where are you actually from? Can have a double meaning to it. Let’s just stick to not bringing race when we are complimenting people. Unintentionally, it may come off as hurtful. If we have nothing good or uplifting to say, let’s not say it.
6. Karen’s poke their noses in everybody’s business:
We all know the basic characteristics of Karen’s, and this one is the most obvious one. If you are not being affected by something that someone is doing, or if you have nothing to do with it, just don’t pry. People have a tendency of asking unlimited personal questions irrespective of how uncomfortable the person can get. Let’s not be one of those people. Let people live and if they have to, they will tell you what’s going on. Mind your own business, Karen.
7. Lack of wisdom:
All knowledge is trash if there’s no wisdom applied to it. With Karen’s, there’s clearly a significant lack of both. Ignorance, however, is prolific. We all must try and be wise in difficult situations. Practicing patience and controlling emotions is crucial. We don’t really know what other people are going through in their lives. While some people are open, many others choose not to share their despair. They are skillful at concealing their stumbling blocks and putting up an “I am doing great”, face. We as human beings, need to be heedful to their feelings and respect every individual, no matter where they come from, what profession they are in, or how poor/ rich they may be. Our duty is to treat every human with respect and at the least, practice empathy. In the end, we sure are answerable to God. Let’s strive for wisdom by reading books, helping others, and being less hypercritical and more compassionate. Remember, compassion is to look beyond your own pain to see the pain of others.