• Karens are fighting back. (Change.org)Source: Change.org
“It is my right as a human woman to do whatever I want”.
By
SBS staff writers

27 Jul 2020 - 2:34 PM  UPDATED 27 Jul 2020 - 2:44 PM

A growing number of women named Karen are taking issue with their name being used as a moniker for racism and entitlement in white women, with a series of petitions popping up across social media.

One petition, started by a woman named Karen Button, is demanding that British tabloids stop using the term 'Karen' altogether.

"My name is Karen, and I've had enough of my name and my Karen friends being used to describe racist women in the tabloids," Button wrote in the description for her change.org petition, which has under 200 signatures.

"This also applies to all other names like 'Susan' to be described as a collection of terrible people in the media."

She added: "Its unfair to use a name to describe a collection of woman who are racist or not law abiding."

This new mobilisation of Karens internationally has presumably been inspired by the increased usage of the name to describe the public outbursts of non-intersectional feminists and white women refusing to co-operate with mandated coronavirus lockdown measures - as was the case over the weekend, when one woman's rant at Bunnings went viral.

“It is unlawful and it is discriminatory and it is illegal and I’m going to continue going in here and getting what I need because it is unlawful for you to do that,” the Melbourne woman, who appeared to film the encounter herself, said in the video. 

“It is my right as a human woman to do whatever I want”.

A later video, which was shared to a private Facebook group called 'The Conscious Truth Network', showed the same woman - quickly branded a 'Karen' by social media users - resisting arrest by a Victoria Police officer.

Another recent example is the now infamous Karen from Brighton, who was filmed for a network news segment complaining that she needed to broaden her daily walking route, as she'd already "done all of Brighton".

While some on social media have posited that the collective culture should change the spelling of 'Karen' to 'Qaren', so as to avoid insulting 'nice Karens', others have insisted that there is nothing offensive about the term.

In an article titled The ‘Karen’ memes and jokes aren’t sexist or racist. Let a Karen explain, published by the Washington Post, writer Karen Attiah explains why she isn't bothered by her name being used to describe bad behaviour.

"As a millennial black Karen, and a child of immigrants, I find the brouhaha hilarious and twisted," Attiah writes.

“'Karen' is not and will never be an oppressive slur. Anyone who disagrees can take it up with my manag … - I mean, with history."

She continues, explaining that the term 'Karen' didn't originate as a sexist term used by men, but was rather coined by African American communities to describe the entitlement and misguided rage of some white women.

"In 1955, it was a white woman who falsely accused 14-year-old Emmett Till of whistling at her in Mississippi, which led to him being brutally beaten and killed. Fast-forward to recent years and we still learn about black people being arrested or assaulted because a white woman called the police unnecessarily.

"Becky and Karen memes and jokes should be understood in this context, part of a long tradition to use humour to try to cope with the realities of white privilege and anti-blackness."

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