Does your mom want to “speak to the manager” when things don’t go her way? Does she have a certain haircut? You’ve seen the memes, the viral videos and the TikToks about the dreaded white woman who terrorizes everyone. But now it’s time to answer the real question – Is your mom a KAREN? Dun-Dun-Duuuuun!!!
Ah Yes, The KAREN!
Almost all of us have spotted a Karen in the wild at least once in our lives and the term has spread on social media like wildfire. But what does it actually mean? Although I don’t have a Ph.D on the phenomenon, the term or name refers to entitled, angry, irritating and mostly racist, middle-class, suburban white women, typically middle-aged. These obnoxious women tend to be privileged, or at least think that they are, and often force people to conform to their unrealistic whims, wishes and behaviors. They have high expectations from everyone, they believe that the world revolves around them and are demanding beyond belief. Almost all of them have a blonde “bob cut” hairstyle (as if it’s a dress code or something), use their “white privilege” liberally, love to scream and shout at people (children included), drive a van or an SUV, and especially hate skateboarders! And they always…ALWAYS… want to “speak to the manager” (God help those poor souls) at retail stores and restaurants. They just love to complain, insult and make demands… A LOT! But it is not necessary that all Karens will fit this description. Remember kids, it’s not about the hairdo, it’s about the attitude.
They are seen as racist individuals who want to control others’ behavior. The term is a stereotype and mostly used as a negative slur to belittle someone’s unpleasant and unacceptable privilege-driven behavior. Although there is some debate and controversy surrounding the use of the term, there are a significant number of documented and well-publicized incidents that display their unsavory behavior and personality traits. However, this is definitely not a new phenomenon. It’s just that they are getting more exposure now thanks to that tiny little camera in our smartphones and of course, social media.
Are Karens Narcissists?
Yes! Duh! Obviously! All of them are! Some more, some less. Once again, I am no expert but Karens typically show the signs of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). From a psychological perspective, this can be identified as “narcissistic entitlement” which is characterized by “expectations of special treatment and preoccupation with defending one’s rights.” Narcissists are toxic, entitled, attention seeking, demanding, manipulative, aggressive, self-serving, histrionic, sadistic and always play the victim card. Consider this: a recent 2020 study explains that grandiose narcissism “is a personality trait marked by beliefs of personal superiority and a sense of entitlement to special treatment.” Does that sound familiar? The researchers explain that these individuals have high levels of grandiosity, try to grasp others’ attention and tend to be combative toward others. “In such instances, they are often perceived as confrontational, insulting, belittling, and intimidating,” explains the study.
They have unreasonable and unrealistic expectations about getting special treatment and that everyone should comply with their expectations. Just like a narcissist, Karens believe they always come first before others. They lack empathy and function from their own needs. Grandiose narcissists have high self-esteem, overconfidence, a sense of personal superiority and entitlement, are willing to exploit others for self-gain, and become hostile and aggressive when challenged, according to research. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a Karen to me.
Mommy? Are You A Karen?
Okay, I am not implying that there is something wrong with your mother, but if she humiliates, insults and shouts at people, stomps on others’ rights and prevents them from living their lives peacefully and is a racist, then that is not acceptable behavior. Now let’s get to the real question – is your mom a Karen?
If you keep asking yourself this question frequently, thanks to her psychotic behaviors, then here are a few tell-tale signs that you should look out for in your mom –
1. They believe in “white power”
Yes, it sounds racist but that’s who they are! The term alludes to Caucasian women who are racist and are abusive towards people of color. While they may claim that they are not racist, their passive-aggressive behavior screams of racism. Moreover, they hang out with other white women who support or encourage their Karen-ism. For them, nothing beats white privilege and this gives them power to treat “others” like they are below the Karens. This can be especially true, if the other person is black.