One Karen to Rule Them All
An entitled white woman who abuses staff, expects special treatment, and demands to speak to the manager is nothing new. But the term “Karen” is. In the past year, and especially over the past few months, the name has made the leap from internet meme to everyday term. The spread has boosted by videos capturing the public freak-outs that are define Karen-ness. Its often store employees or innocent bystanders, trying to protect themselves from actual threats, shooting the footage. Other times, it’s onlookers who want something good to post online.
As the videos have grown, so has our appetite for them. Daily Dot in particular has near-daily coverage of Karens around the world, with videos typically sourced from Reddit and TikTok. But can any obnoxious white woman be properly called a Karen, or does it take a special kind of energy to earn the label? Here’s a look at the Daily Dot’s 10 most recent Karen posts, ranked by how much Karen-ness they actually contain.
Headline: “There’s a whole ‘Krewe of Karens’ ready to march in Mardi Gras”
A whole pack of Karens would, at first blush, seem to guarantee Karen status. But these women (and men) are making fun of Karens as part of New Orlean’s Mardi Gras parade. In 2019, they weren’t recognized by many. But then, uh, a lot of things happened and this year, the Karen Krewe was met with much more appreciation.
Speak to the Manager Energy Rating: 0/10
Headline: “Video shows ‘Rich Karen’ confused when asked what her job is”
Daily Dot labeled this woman a Karen after she responded to the question “What do you do for a living?” with “I”m married, why?” This woman is not a Karen, she is a folk hero. Until we find out that she voted for Trump, that is.
Speak to the Manager Energy Rating: .5/10
Headline: “Video shows ‘Grandma Karen’ swinging American flag at people, trying to bite woman”
It’s hard to feel sorry for a Karen, but, based on things you can hear in the background of a TikTok featuring “grandma Karen,” it seems likely she might be suffering from dementia. Swinging a flag feels like Karen behavior, but biting a fire marshal feels like a mental health episode, not an assertion of white woman dominance.
Speak to the Manager Energy Rating: 1/10
Headline: “‘Karen Del Rey’: Lana Del Rey blasted for wearing mesh mask”
Not even celebrities are immune from Karen status. Lana Del Rey angered followers posting an Instagram live of her wearing a mesh mask at a book signing. Stupid, yes, but low in Karen energy. At no point during the video does she yell at strangers or chant “All Lives Matter!”
Speak to the Manager Energy Rating: 2/10
Headline: “TikTok shows ‘Karen’ threatening to kill neighbor’s dog if she doesn’t get new Wi-Fi password”
A true Halloween tale of terror: The Karen is coming from just outside the house. While there is minimal context, in two videos, a woman can be seen demanding the Wi-Fi password from her neighbor. But, while menacing, her vibe feels far more mafia than Karen. A Karen would call the cops. This woman just wants to kill the dog.
Speak to the Manager Energy Rating:3/10
Headline: “‘Maxi Pad Mask Karen’ told off by bystander after harassing gym employees”
A rare Karen-in-a-mask sighting, it’s nevertheless an odd one: A maxi pad strapped to the face of a would-be gym goer. In this video, an anti-Karen emerges to ask the maxi pad-wearer to stop talking. It’s a short video, but Gym Karen gets to sneak in a few expletives and even a signature Karen Accusatory Point.
Speak to the Manager Energy Rating: 7/10
Headline: “‘Religious Rights Karen’ calls 911 after being barred from store for not wearing mask”
First posted in the Public Freakout subreddit, this Karen is participating in a time-honored tradition of calling 911 over nothing. (In this case, refusal to wear a mask.) Claiming discrimination, she reacts in confusion when the 911 operator refuses to back her up. While it’s a relatively calm Karen interaction without screaming or racial epithets, we do learn that this is one of just many times sh has called 911 on stores.
Speak to the Manager Energy Rating: 7/10
Headline: “Video shows ‘Freebirds Karen’ threatening to hit woman who asks her to wear mask”
While calling the cops is the primary mating call of the Karen, let us not forget the rarer, but equally important, call of the credentials. In this video, “Freebirds Karen” reacts to being filmed without a mask by screaming “I went to Brown! I went to Harvard!” While it’s pretty standard as far as Karen videos go, it’s got one stand-out moment: employees of Freebird yell back and hustle her out of the restaurant.
Speak to the Manager Energy Rating: 9/10
Headlines: “Anti-mask Karens lose their sh*t at a city council meeting;” “County meeting ‘Karen’ says she’s treated like a ‘diseased leper’ when she doesn’t wear mask” (TIE)
Is the government the ultimate manager? In these videos, different Karens show shaky grasps of the law and compare the anti-mask life to that of a leper. Outsized sense of entitlement and an outsized size of injustice combine into the ultimate Karen moment.
Speak to the Manager Energy Rating: 10/10