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Why the Subreddit r/FuckYouKaren is Problematic

The subreddit r/FuckYouKaren perpetuates dangerous stereotypes of women and engages in targeted harassment of other subreddits. Since its creation, it has devoted itself to perpetuating the “Karen” meme which has warped into sexism and as a result is in direct violation of Reddit’s content policy and Reddit’s rules regarding harassment. Reddit’s inaction on this situation does nothing to address the ongoing hostility that is directed at women on its site and demonstrates a lack of interest in protecting its female users.

What’s going on:

The subreddit r/FuckYouKaren was created on 7 Dec 2017 with the intended purpose of focusing its efforts on perpetuating the “Karen” meme and disrupting other subreddits. This subreddit often targets those who speak out against it and has devoted itself to finding and harassing users and moderators even outside of Reddit. Since its creation, r/FuckYouKaren has engaged in targeted harassment of other subreddits.

What Karen is:

Karen is a slang term used as an antagonistic female character in memes. “Karen” is generally characterized as an irritating, entitled woman, sometimes as an ex-wife who took custody of “the kids.” In 2020, the term was broadly applied to a swath of white women who had been filmed harassing people of color, including dialing the emergency services on them for no criminal reason.

The existence of Karen suddenly became less about creating a humorous character and more about exuding masculinity – making Redditors feel as if they were alpha males simply by virtue of insulting women in the “benign” name of humor.

What the problem is:

The subreddit is perpetuating dangerous stereotypes about women, particularly mothers. Its users are targeting and harassing women outside of reddit.

Stereotype 1: Women are inherently toxic

The meme takes a woman, and reduces her to a series of quirky, socially-constructed female stereotypes. She is often characterized as a domestic partner.

The mother character has taken on the characteristics of the immature, entitled and spiteful doxing vixen, because sexual liberation for women has become a threat to the status of men and boys.

Stereotype 2: Women are perpetual victims

If the mother character remains a bitch, she can be literally abused to reinforce the paradigm that women are victims to the whims of men, and at the same time, justified in any violent behavior because it is a response to suffering.

In actuality, women are not to blame for the behaviour of men. The same character is also often used to justify sexual violence against women under the same thread of thought – women don’t behave as society expects them to, and deserve whatever awful happens to them because of it.

Stereotype 3: Women who speak out against unfair behavior are the perpetrators of harassment

Stereotype 4: Women who speak out against unfair behavior are crazy

Heavily implied in this meme is the idea that challenging gender roles is wrong and could be used as justification for violence against those women.

Stereotype 5: Women who speak out against unfair behavior are literally children

Usage in other contexts:

There is now a growing trend to refer to the term Karen in order to silence any person who doesn’t fit cleanly into gender roles.

When we talk about Karen, we are talking about the women who speak out against unfair behavior.

Because of the deeply ingrained cultural idea that women who challenge gender roles are crazy and dangerous, we’re now seeing a trend on r/FuckYoukeran for users to refer to “Karen” when they call out mods and users of subreddits for their opinions. They are commonly told to “grow up” in response for sharing their opinions, and sometimes in response to something they’ve said.

This trend is a form of gendered silencing.

Comments

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  1. All I see here is a Karen complaining about being called a Karen.

    “Wahh I’m a strong woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and stand up for herself” she thought as she proceeded to verbally assault a 16 year old McDonald’s worker.

    “I deserve good service,” she said as she ignored her screaming child ruining everyone else’s dinner while complaining that her fries are too cold and need to be comped.

    “Get me your manager, you deserve to be fired!” she shrieked, her mustard brown hair standing on edge. How dare the help not stop serving another table, Karen needed her water refilled THIS INSTANT!

    Stop ignoring toxic women for the sake of propping all women up. That’s the equivalent to staying friends with a known abuser because “they’re honestly a really nice person on the inside”.

    Fuck you, Karen.

  2. You seem to be blatantly misrepresenting the facts about this subbreddit

    For instance why pretend it’s anti women when 40% of the Karen’s are male

    And it’s the stated policy of the sub that a Karen is a Karen regardless of age race or gender

    Let me guess…….did you feature in a video on this subbreddit and decide to try and talk to the manager?

  3. People living with this name are committing suicide over this shit. The memes, the hate, the harassment. The inability to even introduce oneself. It’s disgusting. And it’s never going to stop. Memes supposedly die out, but this one hasn’t for years. Look at the replies to this article. Seemingly every individual wants to just shut you up. Could you imagine if you had this name. Literally everything you say, everything you do, every opinion you have, will be shut down. I know, I live it. It’s all fun and games until a Karen has had enough and shoots some poor sap for making what they think is a joke. And you know what, I won’t feel one bit sorry for them. Fuck them.

    • Ah yes, let’s advocate for the murder of people because they called out your entitlement. Classic

      Fuck you, Karen.

    • Wow, I think I just lost braincells reading the bullshit you just wrote. you’re obviously a Karen, and a pretty crazy one as well. Go back to Facebook and talk about how vaccines are a dangerous government plot to your Facebook Mom group.

  4. Fuck you back Nunya

    yours truly,
    random Karen of the millions you just told to fuck off for no reason

    Nunya = Maria (a racist, ageist bitchhole who used to secretly hate ‘whites’ but now hates on middle-aged ‘white’ women openly because she is a racist bitchhole).

    How does that feel Nunya, I mean MARIA

  5. The term “Karen” refers to white women who use their privilege to further oppress and abuse minorities and people often adolescents and young adults in service jobs. This term is well deserved for this type of woman because they unnecessarily call law enforcement wasting the time and resources of law enforcement not to mention unnecessarily using law enforcement to harass and intimidate innocent people. The term “Karen” has nothing to do with men mistreating women who speak out against unfair treatment or being sexually liberated unless the unfair treatment the “Karens” are speaking out about is not being served and catered to as if they are royalty. Karens regularly harass and oppress other women who they perceive to be inferior to them such as minority women or women of lower economic class. Whoever wrote this article is very misinformed. Also men often do not get away with bullying others like these women do without repercussions. Karens are often guilty for using the “woman” card. That I highly resent because as a woman that makes my female gender look bad

    • As a middle class white lady who does her best to keep an eye on her privilege…THANK YOU. The Karen meme became a thing because people, who typically ARE upper/middle class white women, have been getting away with too much for too long.

      I won’t say sometimes people misuse the meme and people who aren’t REALLY Karens get called Karens, anyway; it sucks when that happens, and these things DO happen, because people are often malicious, or at the very least ignorant. But it’s not misogynistic to point out when women are mistreating others and behaving in an entitled manner. It’s not sexist or toxic to bring consequences to people behaving poorly, regardless of what gender they are.

  6. That’s like saying we should not condemn shooters because it promotes the stereotype that all Americans are shooters. Or that condemning rape promotes the idea that all men are rapists. Condemning white when who ask to speak to the manager does not promote stereotypes anymore than those things listed above do

  7. Last time I checked, a Karen could be any gender, sexuality, or race. Saying that calling someone a “Karen” is sexist is also one of the biggest Karen actions of all to boot!

  8. I think I just lost brain cells reading this, better go assault some women for speaking out against unfairness Lmao.
    This article is literally the most Karen thing ever, and if a Karen cult was ever created, I wouldn’t be surprised if this shit became their Bible

  9. Wow, I think I just lost braincells reading the bullshit you just wrote. you’re obviously a Karen, and a pretty crazy one as well. Shut the fuck up. Go back to your Facebook mom group and talk about how vaccines are a dangerous government plot.

  10. Karen refers to BOTH men and women usually white people who use their privileges to oppress minorities and are downright rude and entitled assholes. That is what TRUE Karen’s are. But I do agree that it seems a lot of men have used the term only because they are excited at yet another word they get to use to try and tell off women who do anything they don’t like.

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