Last Updated on April 7, 2020
The meme name ‘Karen,’ after having been declared a slur by notorious feminist Julie Bindel, turned into a social media debacle, mobilizing all wings of the political debate, in the middle of a global pandemic.
Some have pointed out that worldwide lockdowns have rendered many people bored, perhaps contributing toward the heated discussion.
For the unfamiliar, “Karen” is a meme assuming several bodily forms, but centered around a middle-aged, bitter, suspiciously divorced, wino, mother with a questionable sense of fashion and coiffure, who has a vendetta against all low-level customer service employees as she furiously demands to speak with the manager at every franchise she frequents.
The tweet which sparked the social media firestorm, eliciting over 9,000 responses and several independent tweets broaching the matter, read “Does anyone else think the ‘Karen’ slur is woman hating and based on class prejudice?”
Does anyone else think the ‘Karen’ slur is woman hating and based on class prejudice?
— Julie Bindel (@bindelj) April 5, 2020
The tweet provoked popular replies from social justice and black Twitter, who justified the meme name “Karen” in becoming a slur on historic racial lines.
One social media tweeted “Karen as a woman hating slur is bullshit. But let me help y’all understand what ‘woman hating’ looks like against black women. You’re welcome. No need to thank me.”
Karen as a woman hating slur is bullshit. But let me help y'all understand what 'woman hating' looks like against black women. You're welcome. No need to thank me. https://t.co/SFyZVdFFLA
— Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (@SholaMos1) April 6, 2020
While another said “White people calling something a slur because it hurt their feelings, while simultaneously and systematically oppressing (knowing and unknowingly) people of color around them daily and weaponizing their privilege is peak Karen, Karen.”
“Not sure which is more hysterical, the concept of “Karen” being a slur or someone with the net worth & resources you have calling something classist. Thanks for the laugh, Karen,” commented a third person.
A fourth remarked “Rich people claiming they’re being oppressed because of classism is the literal equivalent of those racists decrying ethnic replacement and racism against whites because someone accuses them of not using enough spices.”
Comments which agreed with Bindel’s question or spoke about a racial component to the slur from a white person’s perspective were pilloried and ratioed by Twitter.
Several tweets in relation to Bindel’s question also emerged, becoming a topic compared to “trans exclusionary radical feminist”–a label often assigned to Bindel for her views on transgenderism.
— Monica Roberts (@TransGriot) April 6, 2020
Another person wrote “Not to mention that the OG “karen is a slur” person is noted transmisogynist Julie Bindel. This whole thing is so f***ing stupid.”
Since the rise of the coronavirus pandemic, social justice and wider left Twitter remained relatively silent after initially calling those who blamed China, “racists,” until China’s gaslighting, responsibility shirking, lack of transparency became sufficiently evident.
However, the Karen debate reinvigorated some areas of the web which had laid surprisingly dormant during lockdown.