Karens have really come into their own this year. From wanting to speak to the manager to refusing to wear face masks, the amount of obnoxious entitlement recorded on smartphone cameras has risen astronomically.
Obviously we needed a word to define all these dickheads, and Karen is the one which stuck. But not everyone is happy with this choice of name, which led us to ask our 27 Pedestrians: is Karen really a slur?
The answer, unsurprisingly, was a resounding no.
“Only Karens would say that Karen is a slur,” Lacy-Jade said.
Heaps of people said they themselves had encountered Karens while working in retail or hospo. The common definition turned out to be an entitled white woman who weaponises her privilege, often against low-paid workers.
Yaffa, 23, has even devised a whole taxonomy of the different kinds of Karens.
“The first Karen is just really obnoxious and asks so many annoying questions, but it’s just because they think they’re better than everyone else,” she said.
“The second type of Karen, though, I feel like they’re just a product of their anxieties and they just really struggle to be in the world sometimes, and they inflict that on other people out of their anxiety.”
Even among the handful of people who reckon Karen is in fact a slur, most still thought the word was both useful and that the people who get called Karen deserve it.
“If you’re choosing to yell at people at Coles because you have to purchase a bag because you forgot to bring a reusable bag, then that’s on you,” said Isla, 26.
Sarah May agreed with both points, adding: “You’re not a minority who’s being persecuted, you’re just being a fuckwit.”
But here’s the thing about the Karen discourse. At the end of the day, people who get called Karen and then turn around and cry “slur!” are kind of playing a victim card to excuse their shitty behaviour.
“It reduces the experiences of anyone who has actually been called a slur,” Arya, 24, said.
There you have it. Not only are Karens obnoxious, but they’re problematic too.
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