KARENS… Hating Women is Hip Again.

Terry Baum
4 min readMar 17


When did the name “Karen” become a meme for an entitled, racist White woman? It’s not clear, but this “Oh, she’s a Karen” business was always about hating women, specifically White women, and telling them to keep quiet.

Calling women “Karens” is a way to blame racism on White women. I can’t help but wonder why there’s no equivalent “name” for racist White men.

Let us not forget the White men, sometimes don’t even bother to call the police when they feel threatened by a black man — they just kill him. When George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, why didn’t people start calling racist White men “George”?


Could it be the same reason that the Trans Movement wants to call women “people who menstruate” but has never mentioned the possibility of calling men “people who ejaculate”? Or perhaps “people who piss all over the toilet seat”?

It’s so much easier to ridicule, attack and rename women, isn’t it? After all, men still have the power, right? We don’t want to upset them by making them collectively guilty for the racist violence of some White men!

When a White man does something horrific, like murder a Black man jogging in his neighborhood, he only represents himself. When a White woman overreacts to a possible threat from a Black man, she represents all White women. Collective guilt has been used against women, Jews, and every ethnic group — especially Black people — for hundreds of years. In fact, it’s probably been used against every group except White men.

Nevertheless, I really did hope “Evil Karen” would fade away. But when I walked into my neighborhood hardware store and saw the “Karens In The Wild” Coloring Book, I realized that the meme of racist, big-mouthed Karen is not just alive; it’s flourishing.

For your edification, here are just a few of the twenty “Karens” in the “Karens In The Wild” Coloring Book:


She’s out of control! (something that never happens to men, when they’ve had a drop too much)


She doesn’t scream or smile on the roller coaster — What an uptight White bitch!


Only an entitled racist White woman would send someone to the economy seats just because they didn’t have a first class ticket!


She actually thinks she has the right to tell other people what to do!


How dare she ask her daughter’s boyfriend what he does for a living!


She wants a very specific coffee drink!


She dislikes an idea!


She gets pissed off!

And my personal favorite:


An old White woman thinks she has rights?! She’s out of her mind!

This does not by any means exhaust the images in the coloring book. But I think you get the idea.

And what is the message of all these words and images? A White woman cannot be a manager, cannot be an airline attendant, cannot run for President, cannot order a fancy coffee, cannot ride a roller coaster, cannot get drunk, cannot comment on social media, cannot ask her daughter’s boyfriend questions, and cannot get old without risking being called a Karen.

In other words, “White women: Shut up!”

Perhaps some of you are thinking, “Oh, come on. It’s just a joke. Relax!” That’s what one of the men at the hardware store said. But if these were racist or antisemitic stereotypes instead of woman-hating stereotypes, would you still be telling me to relax? Why is still okay — not just okay but the height of cool — to hate women?

Perhaps some of you are thinking, “Okay, this book is obnoxious, but it has no effect on what happens in the world.”

Think again.

Words are powerful. They shape how we see other people.

This is the San Francisco Chronicle’s report on a political struggle engulfing Vallejo, a small city in the East Bay. The City Council was split on how to deal with a homeless encampment:

  • “City Council Member Hakeem Brown lashed out at constituents on Facebook after losing a vote on a sanctioned tent camp. After resident Annie Wheat read Brown’s posts, she emailed the mayor and others, saying ‘Claiming an entire group of residents to be racist is bullying and utter nonsense.’ Brown wrote Wheat, saying he would not sit down for any “Karens,” a term for a White woman who summons the police to report perceived slights by people of color.”

So Council Member Brown doesn’t have to figure out how to respond to Wheat’s words. He simply negates her right to be part of the debate by branding her a “Karen.”

Words also shape how we see ourselves.

While investigating the Karen issue on Google, I stumbled upon this statement in a thread of comments:

“I am a White woman named Karen, but I am proud to say……

“I will never be A Karen! Why? Because I will never call the police or ask to see the manager!”

Well, alright then, Karen! You’re welcome to come and sit meekly at Vallejo City Council meetings!

This woman is actually willing to surrender her right to object to how people treat her, in order to avoid the dreaded “Karen” label. That makes my blood run cold.

Congratulations, Patriarchy. There’s one less woman who will make a fuss.

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Terry Baum

Terry Baum is an actress, director, teacher, filmmaker, political activist, and award-winning lesbian playwright. Her blog BAUMBLOG is a “Top 100 LGBTQ Blog.”