If you've spent some significant time on the internet, you might've run across someone accusing someone else of being a 'Karen'. It usually occurs when someone is complaining about something inconsequential or making a big deal out of something that most balanced people would just shrug at and move on. The antics of Karens and entitled parents are a source of entertainment and ridicule for many netizens.
Not long ago we unveiled a blog post containing 5 of the worst baby girl names in 2020, and Karen was right near the top of that list. It seems a perfectly serviceable name, but the internet has done what it does best and warped it into something quite different. You'll want to avoid looking like an entitled parent at all costs, lest you get meme'd out of existence by the myriad karen subreddits and entitled parent YouTube channels.
I probably spend far too much time lurking these sites and getting my giggles at these insane stories. Some of them might be fabricated, but I get the distinct impression that many of them aren't. When I'm out and about I keep my eyes peeled for entitled people being socially disruptive, and it happens for more often than one might expect. Once you know what to look for you'll probably be able to spot these situations unfolding before they reach their apex.
So what exactly makes a Karen? Many will tell you that it's the bleach blonde bob haircut, the overpriced designer labels, or the excessive use of spray tan products. They're not completely wrong. Those are indeed some telltale signs that this woman will probably ask to speak to the manager at some point during a conversation, but the true measure of a Karen's entitlement is really all in the mind.
The classic Karen is a woman in the 30-60 range, usually with children, and the distinct air or a suburban mom. These things are completely fine on their own, heck I fit right in there... But when paired with entitlement? You have a recipe for absolute disaster. The true Karen is not only entitled but also nosy, pushy, and belligerent. She often looks down on retail workers and abuses them for amusement.
I've met people who seem to be perfectly reasonable until they don't get their way with one thing or another. Whether that be impossible discounts, free stuff, or simply being refused a request. The stealth Karen then undergoes a brief but significant transformation and initiates a banshee howl. Before you've even realized it, you're in a battle with an entitled parent.
Perhaps even more terrifying than the legendary Karen is the entitled children that she will defend no matter what. Defending your kids sounds great on paper, but when they suffer no consequences for disrespectful, dangerous, or downright disruptive actions? Those children will develop an ego even larger than the one that spawned them. Deflating their ego only enrages the Karen. It's a precarious situation.
Entitled children will attempt to take things that aren't there, purposefully break things, make a mess, and be as loud as humanly possible because they have never and probably will never learn about consequences. The truth of the matter is that these children will spiral out of control until they're unleashed into the real world and either hit rock bottom or discover that they aren't the untouchable royalty that they were led to believe that they are.
I often get very sad when I witness an entitled 10 year old throwing a tantrum and rolling on the floor because he didn't get a third bag of M&M's that day. Sure, it's easy to be frustrated with the entitled kid but it's really just the end result of a severe lack of proper parenting. Karen stands back on her phone or even worse immediately gives in to the tantrum, and the prospects for the future of our species starts to look a little bit dimmer.
How To Avoid Being A Karen
I think the answer to this question can be conveyed in one simple word: compassion. If the toilet paper has run out in your nearby grocery store, don't attack the person stocking shelves. The manager doesn't want to hear it either. If there was something that could be done, he would've done it! He has probably been ranted at more times than he cares to remember, and will probably go home to a house without toilet paper just like you. It has taken a lot of practice, but I have learned to turn my frustration into positive energy.
When I feel something ugly bubbling inside I make a concentrated effort to turn it into something that I'd like to hear. Instead of unleashing a barrage of annoyance, I'll drop a sincere compliment in their lap. "No toilet paper? That's alright. You're doing a job on the front line that's probably pretty thankless, so I just wanted to say that you're doing great work. Thank you." This technique has kept me from losing my cool in many situations.
In addition to being compassionate, it helps to be receptive. If another mom says that your kids have stinky feet, put your ego aside and ask yourself if that's a true statement or not. Maybe it isn't true. She could just be trying to push your buttons, so don't give her the satisfaction... If the comment does ring true then thank her for her concern and snag some grape deodorizer foot spray or bubblegum deodorizer foot spray to nip the issue in the bud.