What Is the Male Version of a Karen? Berkman Klein Center

This image made from Monday, May 25, 2020, video provided by Christian Cooper shows Amy Cooper with her dog calling police at Central Park in New York. A video of a verbal dispute between Amy Cooper, walking her dog off a leash and Christian Cooper, a black man bird watching in Central Park, is sparking accusations of racism. Karens and Kens have become even bigger news recently, when in America, they became linked with people who refused to wear masksand were filmed and put on social media after having meltdowns in stores and coffee shops when they were asked to put on a mask. Some went even further on Twitter, arguing that Karen was a racial slur as it only applies to white women.

Similarly, in November 2020, a tweet calling Elon Musk “Space Karen” over comments he made regarding the effectiveness of COVID-19 testing became viral. Numerous names for a male equivalent of Karen have been floated, with little agreement on a single name, although ‘Ken’ and ‘Kevin’ are among the most common names used. The Jim Crow era male equivalent to Miss Ann was Mister Charlie. This haircut is a short, angled blonde bob, sometimes called a “mom haircut.” “Speak to the manager” refers to escalating complaints or demands from retail or restaurant workers to their managers—a stereotypical behavior of Karen.

So, to illustrate the privilege, as the haircut denotes, a Karen can often be found, well, asking to speak to the manager. Karen Chang, a Bay Area resident who works in business management, had shrugged off early memes, but then the Amy Cooper video changed everything for her. For some women with the name Karen, these videos have made them outraged, of course, but also, at times, ashamed. There’s plenty of historical precedent for using a proper name to stand in for a whole archetype or stereotype of a character.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, “Karen” has been adopted as a shorthand to call out a vocal minority of middle-aged white women who are opposed to social distancing, out of either ignorance or ruthless self-interest. In The New York Times last year, the writer Sarah Miller described Karens as “the policewomen of all human behavior,” using the example of a suburban white woman who calls the cops on kids’ pool parties. Karens have been sams smokeless fire pit mocked for being anti-vaccine and pro–“Can I speak to your manager? ” They’re obsessed with banal consumer trends and their personal appearance, and typically criminally misguided, usually loudly and with extreme confidence. The Guardian notes that “the image of a white woman calling police on Black people put the lie to the myth of racial innocence”. Contemporary Karens have been compared to Carolyn Bryant and Mayella Ewell .

“From what I can gather, being a ‘basic Becky’ is when someone is trying hard to be different but is doing things everyone else is doing,” says Lowe, who actively tries to avoid coming across as a “Becky” in her social media posts. “So I don’t go to Starbucks and take pictures of my Frappuccino… And I try to keep myself well informed so I can avoid any ‘stupid’ tweets, show that I’m more dimensional than a meme that says I’m not. But how do the Jans, Chads, Janets, and Sharons of the world feel about the memeification of their names?

Harold is too old to understand anything, and there’s only one word to describe Janet. It’s about a desire by some white women to exert control over black folks — just as it was during slave times, just as it was in 1992 and just as it persists today, he said. Some have saidit’s sexist.Others say it’s aplaceholder forspeaking about the casual racism and privilege exhibited by some white women.

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