In recent years, the term “Karen” has gained popularity as a way to describe a particular type of entitled, obnoxious, and often racist behavior exhibited by some women. The term has become so ubiquitous that it has even made its way into the dictionary, where it is defined as “a person, typically a white woman, who is perceived to be entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is considered appropriate or necessary.”
While the origins of the Karen phenomenon are difficult to trace, it is generally believed to have gained momentum in the early 2010s on social media platforms such as Reddit and Twitter. Memes featuring women with short haircuts, oversized sunglasses, and an entitled attitude began to circulate online, often accompanied by humorous captions and exaggerated stories of outrageous behavior.
The Karen archetype is often depicted as a middle-aged, affluent woman who demands to speak to the manager in a store, makes unreasonable demands of service workers. The Karen is seen as the ultimate embodiment of entitlement, often taking offense at minor inconveniences and displaying a lack of empathy for others.
While the Karen phenomenon is often used in a humorous or satirical context, it has also been criticized for its potential to perpetuate harmful stereotypes and reinforce systemic racism. The term “Karen” has been criticized as being sexist and racist, as it is often used to describe white women and can be seen as a way to dismiss the concerns of women who are legitimately seeking justice or equity.
Moreover, some have argued that the Karen phenomenon is a manifestation of a deeper societal problem, namely, the entitled behavior of those in positions of power and privilege. The Karen archetype is seen as an extreme example of this behavior, but it is far from unique.
The Karen phenomenon has also been linked to broader social trends, including the rise of the alt-right and white nationalist movements. Some have argued that the Karen represents a particular type of white fragility, where any challenge to their perceived status as the dominant group in society is met with defensiveness and aggression.
Where you can find “Karens” more often
The states with the highest Karen density in the US are Alabama, Ohio, and Oregon, all of which received a score of 6.0 out of 10. 13 states, including Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, came closely behind with a score of 5.0 out of 10.
Karen-like behaviour happens to Canadians a little less frequently. Only one province, Alberta, received a score of 5.0, making it the province with the highest Karen density. The lowest scores of any province in the nation were earned by Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and New Brunswick.
The study then sought to identify which cities had the highest number of “Karen” social media posts per 100,000 households. With a score of 64.83, Windsor, Ontario achieved the highest rating in this area out of any state or province in the United States or Canada.
Victoria (15.86), Vancouver (13.89), Hamilton (13.75), Kitchener (13.20), Halifax (12.88), Ottawa (10.22), and Toronto (10.01) are famous Canadian cities with high Karen post frequencies.
With a score of 48.01, Austin, Texas, managed to emerge as the country’s top hotspot for reported Karen activity.
The worst Karen behaviours that people had observed were also inquired about in the poll, and it was discovered that excessive complaining (82%), mistreating service personnel (77%), making unreasonable demands (75%) and requesting to talk with the manager (73%) were the most prevalent.
You can find the full study on Karens here.