Now that cities are weeks into quarantine and shelter-in-place orders, some truly outlandish takes are making their way to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
On Sunday, one woman decided to take the plunge and post something truly foolish to Twitter. Julie Bindel, a journalist, author and noted women's rights activist, tried to claim that the name Karen has been turned into a slur.
She went on to say it was misogynistic to use the name in reference to white people and defended herself in a number of follow-up tweets. She said she became aware of the term because she "saw white misogynistic men use it towards older women" and didn't know it was originally just a fun meme.
Does anyone else think the ‘Karen’ slur is woman hating and based on class prejudice?— Julie Bindel (@bindelj) April 5, 2020
It is certainly used by enough white men for it to be morphed into a misogynistic slur. Also, those names are classically working-class, and I do object to the classism within this narrative. The ageism too is a massive problem. I think countering racism with ageism is not great.— Julie Bindel (@bindelj) April 5, 2020
She went to claim that "Becky" is, somehow, racist and sexist as well.
When I was in my 20s, the slur against younger working-class women was “Sharon and Tracy”. I honestly cannot think of any equivalent for men. But I am so sick of women, including those of us that have devoted our lives to women’s liberation, being spoken about so disrespectfully.— Julie Bindel (@bindelj) April 5, 2020
She then tried to say that the Black women using it were also being classist.
Becky definitely is, and it could be argued a little bit anti-Semitic to. My agent, who is called Becky, was slurred in this way – they were laughing at her name. She is Jewish. It’s definitely ageist, and there is no equivalent to describe a man who is bigoted and the like.— Julie Bindel (@bindelj) April 5, 2020
It is often used by white men, including towards women of colour. And also, as you know, women of colour do not have a ‘get out of jail free’ card on classism. There is a lot of it about.— Julie Bindel (@bindelj) April 5, 2020
An unofficial Twitter account took the exchange further, comparing "Karen" to the word n****r.
The term "Karen" is being used as a sexist and racist slur. Considering this is an equivalent of the n-word for white women, should it be banned on Twitter?— Friends of Journalism (@journalistew) April 5, 2020
If no, explain:
Bindel's exchange with people on Twitter had "Karen" trending on Twitter on Sunday night. As always, Twitter roasted her endlessly with some of the best jokes and ruthless tweets to come out since we all were forced to stay home.
she's yelling "Karen" pic.twitter.com/PuDEVkLfpP— profloumoore (@loumoore12) April 6, 2020
Until people start saying, "no, I'm not hiring you, Karen." Or "no, you can't live here, Karen." Or ,my favorite, "I'm gonna burn your house down with you and your Karen kids and nobody's gonna do shit cause I'm the fucking sheriff, Karen," I don't wanna hear any comparisons.— baked nigatoni alfredo (@akaBlackTony) April 6, 2020
Karen’s give me heebee jeebees— numa perrier (@missnuma) April 6, 2020
Only a Karen can call another Karen Karen.— Chris Ray Gun (@ChrisRGun) April 6, 2020
My white friends when I ask why I’m not allowed to say Karen pic.twitter.com/jhJyxvr48s— TJ 🇱🇨🇯🇲 (@Quantum_King_) April 6, 2020
😂I plan on saying all of it, so...— brittany packnett cunningham is staying inside! (@MsPackyetti) April 6, 2020
These Karens can’t stop me! I’ll put cases on all you Karens pic.twitter.com/uI14mrQSFj
Fuck dem otha Karens cuz I’m down fo mah Karens https://t.co/gOMkJ5tv1W— Emergen-C Stan Account (@D0ntHurtY0self) April 6, 2020
Our sources have confirmed that this woman's name was Karen pic.twitter.com/2DbxtBp3UW— The Most (@Most) April 6, 2020
One Twitter user decided to take it seriously and break down the actual origins of the "Karen" meme.
KAREN: derives from “Cookout Karen”, a phrase used to mock this woman who called cops on a Black family having a BBQ, also sometimes called “BBQ Becky” https://t.co/2KvtSjVZXx— della - pro black magic ambassador (@della_morte_) April 6, 2020
As the nation remains in quarantine, it's only a matter of time before someone else comes up with an asinine way to become offended.
Calling someone a “Becky” or a “Karen” is rooted in Black women’s critique of privileged white (or white-adjacent) women. Which doesn’t mean when it’s appropriated by white culture (as all Black slang eventually is) it can’t be stupidly misused.— della - pro black magic ambassador (@della_morte_) April 6, 2020