Pipe down, Karen.

J. Stokes
5 min readMay 4, 2020

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” — Epictetus

With each year new terms gain popularity, becoming part of the American lexicon either for a season or much longer. From “lit” to “okurr,” people have developed creative terminology for almost everything. However, while some transcend areas such as race, gender, and socioeconomic status, others have yet to be well received. This was the case when conflicting views circulated around the term “Karen,” which recently gained notoriety on social media and beyond.

Though “Karen” has been used for over a year, some have voiced concern about its meaning well into mid-April. For example, @EmillySwaven posted to Twitter the following on April 21st:

“I demand ABSOLUTE censorship of the K-word on Twitter. @jack If my demands are not met, me and MILLIONS other women will delete their accounts. The attack on innocent white women has to stop. Twitter has became a platform for incels.”


“Karen” is defined as a mocking slang term directed at entitled, obnoxious, middle-aged White women. The archetypal “Karen” has blonde hair, multiple young kids, and is typically an anti-vaxxer. Additionally, acting rude toward working-class staff or asking “to see the manager” when having an unpleasant shopping experience — though usually an overreaction — is deemed stereotypical behavior embodying this term. Some insist that a “Karen” knows she has societal power and uses her privilege at the slightest inconvenience to gain or maintain control. Recently, there has been a debate about the potential use of this term as a sexist and racial slur. Those leading the charge have been, ironically, White women.

Arguably, calling a White woman “Karen” is not oppressive since it refers to a specific type of individual. The same can be said of terms such as “woke” and phrases like “OK boomer” — itself another debated topic. Worth noting, other names have become terms describing individuals, such as Becky and Tyrone. Nonetheless, personal names are frequently used to help form and strengthen discriminatory and harmful power differentials within…

J. Stokes

Brain Activator | Health Motivator | Media Educator| Immerse yourselves in my passion by following K3mistry Productions: https://bit.ly/2LLuZ3N