Karen has evolved into more than just a forename during the last few years. It is now commonly used to describe a naggy, complacent, and entitled middle-aged white woman from the middle class.
Some of your own pals may have made jokes like “Don’t be a “Karen,” or “All right, Karen.” Even though it appears to be all in good humor, two crucial questions about the term “Karen” must be addressed.
Is this, first and foremost, an updated disparaging word for today’s females? Should it be corrected if this is the case? Second, why isn’t there a male counterpart to a ‘Karen’?
There’s a good chance you’ve encountered at least one guy Karen in your life. That conceited snob who is never content with anything, who reminds you of Logan Paul or Pharma bro, who is constantly very rude to the wait staff, who always wants to talk with the manager, and who serves to justify the creation of the word “entitled.” I continue since all Karens on the planet already merit the term.
We all have seen male Karens around us. And we definitely feel the need to give him a name!
But who, exactly, is a male Karen? And what unique nickname can we bestow on him?
The Internet appears to be split in its search for a male counterpart of Karen, with strong contenders such as Terry, Kyle, Ken, and even Donald (of the Trump fame) – but no success.
Karen is a phrase used in popular and meme culture to denote an irritating woman who represents herself as entitled, haughty, and privileged, whether unconsciously or knowingly.
According to The Guardian, its popularity skyrocketed during the coronavirus epidemic in 2020, when people identified as Karens made headlines across the country. The term was primarily associated with racism in the article, but it has since come to mean much more.
It’s also a given name for a classist woman, usually white, middle-aged, and a mother from the United States. This is due to the perception that Karens are always upper-class, middle-aged white women with a distinctive bob cut haircut who tend to be very high maintenance.
Two white people called the cops on an Asian-American doctor, Khoa Lam, who was only visiting his parents in a housing development, and the name “Ken” came up in another recent viral incident.
After being confronted by the woman, Lam had taped the entire interaction because he sensed a “Karen on the loose.” He was approached shortly after by a man who was on the phone with the cops. For his acts, Lam dubbed the man a “Ken.”
Then there was Mark and Patricia McCloskey, a St. Louis lawyer couple who stood outside their home with pistols drawn to guard it from demonstrators they worried might attack it.
A now-viral photo of the two quickly became the buzz of the internet, prompting a slew of memes mocking them as Grand Theft Auto loading screens, movie posters, and, of course, as a “Ken & Karen” pair.
Where did Karen come from?
There are two ideas on how the antagonistic term ‘Karen’ came to be. The first was inspired by a popular Mean Girls meme from the 2010s, which featured the blonde, inept juvenile figure of Karen Smith with the phrase “Oh My God, Karen, You Can’t Just Ask Someone Why They’re White.”
The second argument is based on the mobster film Goodfellas, which was released in 1989. Karen Hill plays a stay-at-home mother in this film who faithfully obeys her husband, famed gangster Henry Hill, despite infidelity and domestic violence.
Throughout the film, she was virtually at the mercy of her husband, while possessing a fiery, independent personality when he wasn’t there.
Regardless matter how the modern-day ‘Karen’ came to be, the term is typically applied in a negative, aggressive manner to females. It is humorously used by both males and females, both of whom may be unaware of the slang word’s derogatory nature.
Why isn’t there a male counterpart to a ‘Karen’?
This is an issue we must consider as well. Why do we, as a society, use slang terminology to stereotype women and degrade their image in order to legitimize patriarchal oppression? Despite the fact that the term itself appears to be innocent, its intent is not.
Why don’t males have a similar term? There is no such thing as a stereotypical ‘John,’ ‘Bill,’ or even ‘Steve’ now.
These are the kinds of questions we need to ask ourselves in order to completely grasp the meaning of the term “Karen.”
I have yet to come across a male equivalent to the word since writing this essay. Although one may abound in the future, we must yet ask, “Why isn’t there a male equivalent of a “Karen?” This is where the seemingly benign word could get a little tangled.
What is a male Karen?
It may be argued that Internet users – largely males, some with toxic views – invented the male version of Karen to legitimize their obvious use of the phrase, which permits them to assault anyone who, intentionally or unintentionally, transgresses basic social norms.
Both female and male Karens coexist today, despite a lack of agreement on what to call the man. Unlike “female Karens,” the Internet has not been able to produce a common, recognizable, and unique physical characteristic for male Karens. And that is just surprising!
Male Karens exclusively have white skin, a hefty and tall frame, an American passport (maybe), and likely involvement with alt-right parties if female Karens have a bob cut to identify themselves.
Most Common Characteristics of a Male Karen
The following are the most common characteristics of a male Karen as described by the internet:
In any situation, a sense of entitlement (like a supermarket or a park)
Sexism, racism, and/or classism are all examples of discrimination.
Physical characteristics: Caucasian, middle-aged, and masculine
They are outspoken in their attacks.
During their chats and attacks, they are extremely confident.
Donald Trump (Karen in Chief), Elon Musk (space Karen), and Tucker Carlson are all notable instances of male Karens.
We also mentioned Logan Paul as a celebrity version of a male Karen. That’s because he’s notorious for having a “punchable face” as a result of his provocative and entitled behavior. In 2017, for example, Paul was chastised for filming a body and distributing it to YouTube.
He was well aware that his privileged status would protect him from reprimand. What’s more, guess what? After a brief layoff, he was back in the game. The same may be said of Martin Shkreli, albeit we wouldn’t categorize him as a male Karen. If you’ll pardon the expression, a half-male Karen. When he chose to boost the price of essential AIDS medications by roughly 56 times, he was just being a snob.
Some Typical Male Karen Behavior Examples
Are you unsure what constitutes masculine Karen behavior? Here are a few instances from our own experience:
Even when it’s evident that she’s uncomfortable, a man mocks a Chinese woman by squinting his eyes with his palms repeatedly.
A man in his early 30s refuses to wear a mask in a country where it is required, claiming that he has the right to do so.
While contacting customer service through email, a man insists on speaking with the manager.
A man who called the cops on a Hispanic-organized party in a park to which he had not been invited.
On the Internet, there are countless stories about male Karens disturbing societal order. However, there appears to be no consensus on what to call them. Even Reddit is split on what name we should give to a male Karen. Hundreds of users have inquired, “What is a male Karen called?” but no homologous phrase akin to Karen has yet been established.
Is Ken the one? Is it Kyle or someone else? Kevin, how about you? Is Donald Trump, on the other hand, the masculine Karen?
Karen (female) vs. Karen (male)
While male Karen is descended from the original word, there are many parallels and differences between the two. Male Karens, for example, have fewer threads than female Karens.
While the temporal difference (male Karen only became popular in 2020) is the main cause for this, we’ve observed considerably less Reddit postings on Kens and Kyles than Karens.
The existence of an exclusive subreddit for Karens with a few hundred posts a month on average. That’s a significant number for a meme trend that began as a joke and has since been criticized by a wide range of people.
In comparison, in February 2020, someone attempted r/MaleKaren, which has since languished with only two subscribers. That’s only one person, plus the individual that started it all. If you Google the phrase “man Karen,” all you’ll see are photographs of female Karen.
The physical look and style are also noticeable differences. Although a white t-shirt and a hairstyle reminiscent to late-2000s Eminem have been attributed to a male Karen, it has not gained the same level of support as the bob cut. Musk’s comments about Karen in orbit was also edited with the blonde bob. As a result, it may be inferred that male Karens have no distinctive physical characteristic.
This makes the original phrase much more unpleasant because it becomes physically discriminatory as well, which it was already.
A man. Karen is really just a man who irritates people in almost everything he does. It may be while walking in the park, doing weights at the gym, drinking shots at a bar, or simply perusing the Apple store’s items. In the case of the coronavirus, he is also someone who initially dismisses Covid-19 as a hoax, refuses to wear a mask, doubts vaccine efficacy, and then, when the bug strikes, plays the victim and privilege cards, assuming he is entitled to the first injection.
In other words, a Steve, a Kunal, a Karan, a Vlad, a Peter, or a Greg could be the male version of a Karen. The main point is that he is in your vicinity. We’re also criticizing his feeling of entitlement and privilege.