I’m a Karen, too …

You probably know the meme of Karens, middle-aged white women being obnoxious who “want to speak to the manager” and who are just needlessly rude and condescending (I feel sorry for all Karen’s out there, most are probably nice people, but I’m still going to use this term for simplicity’s sake).

I get why people are upset: Karen’s throwing a fit seems to happen quite regularly, and usually against poor young retail employees or random bystanders who don’t deserve to get yelled at. Why are those women so angry? You could argue that white boomer women are the most privileged humans to ever have lived: Most of them are middle class and grew up in a time where you could afford college, marry a breadwinner man and live in a nice house which is now unaffordable.

But I’d wager that most “Karen’s” aren’t really evil people. I don’t deny that there are probably some genuinely sadistic women out there who love to make others uncomfortable. Some of it is mental illness, too, for sure. But I think most “Karen’s” are just unhappy. They’re dissatisfied with life, they don’t feel appreciated, they’re tired.
A person who is content and happy doesn’t lose it if somebody cuts the line.

And here’s my take: When they explode, I think they feel powerless and overwhelmed.

Why do I think that? Because I sometimes feel like a Karen, too. And it happens when I feel powerless and overwhelmed.
It usually happens when I’m tired and stressed anway. Then, I become super irritable and a small annoyance can piss me off way more than it should. It could be when kids are running around and screaming on the bus. Or when I try to reach for an item in the supermarket and an overweight woman stands there for a minute or so, blocking my way.  In these moments, I feel that Karen energy bubbling up inside of myself, too. I want to explode, push somebody out of my way or scream at them. I haven’t acted out on those impulses yet, but I came close (and I’m not proud of it).

I have that Karen energy too, even though I’m super un-confrontational and conflict-avoidant, almost to a fault. Maybe it’s precisely because I don’t really have an outlet for this anger, and pushing down those emotions will eventually make them erupt in anger.

I think Karen’s are often pretty sensitive and anxious people as well. They are just overwhelmed in these situations, they are tired of problems piling up, and they’re tired of feeling powerless. They can be blamed for not having found healthy coping mechanisms and not having enough self-awareness that lashing out is not helping. But still, I can sympathize with them.

I’m not saying we should accept Karen’s misbehaving. But maybe people like me can also learn something from them: Don’t let people out there mistreat and bully you. If people are unprofessional assholes, it’s ok to tell them. Don’t become verbally or physically abusive, but learn to speak up for yourself.

All I’m saying is: We all have the Karen anger inside of us, too, sometimes. Acknowledging this is the first step to NOT act like a Karen in public.

By the way: I further explored this topic in my recent Bedtime Show.

😴 What might help you find calm

Intentional ASMR Picks:

💎 Hidden Gem:
Gentle Voice ASMR is a great German channel that I’ve discovered recently. She’s not the typical young ASMRtist and I like her voice and roleplays, such as this recent drugstore roleplay (despite the lipstick on her teeth)

Unintentional ASMR Picks: