7 Steps to Becoming Your Ideal Karen

Everyone has a Manager and You Deserve to Talk to Them

Disclaimer: All of this is terrible advice. This is satire and you should do none of it. And as bad as Karens can be, white supremacy serves only white men and so white men are almost universally worse but receive little to no public censure. If you’re a white guy thinking you’re going to a-ha a white woman or any woman with this … don’t. Just don’t.

The world’s a hard place to navigate right now what with being legally required to not be a public health nuisance over both vaccines AND masks. Sometimes it’s hard to really take the time, light a $75 candle named for a celebrity’s private parts, and get to the excellence that you know dwells deep within. Take these seven steps on your path to self-actualization.

1. It’s (not) All in the Name

Not everyone can actually be named Karen. And even if your name is actually, “Karen,” you may be Karen but you are not necessarily a Karen. Being a Karen is a greater calling (to the manager). So fear not, all you Jenas and Christys and Elaines: you too can be a Karen!

It’s actually ideal if you’re not named Karen so that when you are called a Karen you can blubber a bit and then in a fit of white fragility pretending you don’t know what it means declare, “b-but, my name’s Becky!” (Or Amy or Lina or Mary.) The important thing is to remember that being called a Karen is the worst possible thing that can ever happen to anyone ever for all time. Which brings us to …

2. Remind Everyone that Karen is the New N-Word

You might think an ice cream social with lots of young impressionable kids running around is an inappropriate place to equate systemic racial injustice born from a legacy of slavery and its resulting genocide to your temporary inconvenience and mild embarrassment, but go with it. Those kids need to learn about life. Claim your white power, girlfriend. You know, unless and until you start out-earning your husband.

The goal here is to reach a level of paradox that may only be overcome by a god suspended on a crane. What you want to do is simultaneously negate Black experience and history while claiming you’re in far more dire straights. After all, what’s two-hundred plus years of forced labor, having your family ripped apart, constant beatings, the threat of murder and unjust imprisonment, lack of access to healthcare, less access to good jobs regardless of qualification, redlining, and random unscheduled massacres when compared to your inability to procure a McMuffin in a timely manner?

3. Get Your Eyebrows on Fleek

It is important to note here that by “on fleek,” I do not mean “good.” What is perfect for a Karen is not perfect for anyone else. But when embodying the essence of a Karen the eyebrows are absolutely crucial. You need them to menace hapless Black people you encounter in the course of your day, but you also need them to affect a good helpless-white-lady-in-peril cry.

This is Lisa Alexander showing off her Karen style eyebrows for the season. Lisa’s paired this look with a maniacal grin and leisure wear. (Photo found here: https://blacksportsonline.com/2020/06/video-racist-lisa-alexander-harassed-a-man-on-his-property-for-writing-black-lives-matter-in-chalk-here-is-all-her-info/)

Now, the eyebrows that are right for you are going to depend on your face. Some Karens may prefer a thick or arched eyebrow and others might opt for a straighter line or thinner coverage. Part of the Karen journey is learning what’s right for you. However, there are two at least hard and fast rules.

Your eyebrows must not be symmetrical and you must not have botox.

You want your overall look to be of the budget variety even and especially if you’re actually rich. If you’re having trouble achieving it, just be verbally abusive to your brow artist and they’ll take care of it for you.

But you also want to make sure that your expression is instantly changeable. You’ll need it for the Amy Cooper “Get Out,” style flip when you transition seamlessly from harassing unsuspecting Black folks to calling the police on them for no apparent reason. Botox is not only expensive, but it can keep you from really selling that “white woman in danger,” vibe.

Also, it’s spider venom. What are you doing?

4. Sport a Hard to Maintain, but also Fundamentally Poorly Executed Hairstyle

You probably expected this to be higher in the list. After all, the Karen cut is one of the iconic symbols of a Karen and ultimately the best means of recognising one in the wild. However, Karens are like bears in that they may have a wide range of cuts and color and the point is you shouldn’t be paying so much attention to the hair as you should be gingerly extracting yourself from the situation.

Left to Right: A woman sporting the classic “Karen” do and either a brown, grizzly, black, or kodiak bear. Probably not, but possibly a polar bear. I know very little about bears but I do know that not all polar bears are white. Hashtag not all polar bears. (Actually, not even 100% sure about that either. I’m pretty sure that thing on the right is at least a bear, but it’s really only by process of elimination. Bears are weird.)

The Karen hair, much like the eyebrows is really not about the actual style so much as what you do with it. Unlike the eyebrows you do want to select a hairstyle that really doesn’t work for you and ideally requires regular visits to an upscale salon. Once again particularly if you can afford an upscale cut you’ll want to repeatedly verbally abuse your beautician for the best results. Remember, the essence of a Karen is ensuring everyone around you is miserable.

There’s lots of guides online for stylists and beauticians on how to complement the various shapes and forms women’s faces come in. But you’re a Karen and you’re gonna Get. What. You. Asked. For. The best way to go about it is to figure out what celebrity cut you like best and just demand exactly that regardless of your face shape, natural hair color or texture, or how involved the look may be. For extra Karen flavor make an appointment, but show up ten minutes late and demand that your stylist still fit you in and complete the cut and style on time. Particularly if the style involves any perming or dying do not tell them beforehand. You’ll be tempted but resist. That’s how you get the real chonky Karen style.

5. Get Creative with Your Entitlement

Anyone can demand to speak to the manager, but if you really want to release your inner Karen you want to make it your own. Look for opportunities outside of just standard retail to harass people in the service industry or random unsuspecting BIPOC.

Man stencilling his own home in chalk? Tell him you know the owner.

Family having a BBQ in a park? Demand to see their permit.

Kid with a lemonade stand that also sells bottled water? Every bit as bad (and worse) as selling loosies.

This is your opportunity to shine. Assert your white privilege in any way you can and remember your mood is ultimately more important than other people’s lives. The key here though is as a Karen you should never solve your own problems even and actually especially if your problems are fundamentally stupid. At the earliest opportunity you’re going to want to call the manager or the police.

Once the paternal authority figure has arrived your true work begins. If the manager or policeperson is a woman or BIPOC you need to keep on Karening. Tell them that “this is ridiculous,” and that they need to “solve this right now,” and for extra points you may want to slip in a jab at Affirmative Action and how that’s the only possible reason they have their position.

But, if the authority figure is a white man the real work of the Karen begins. You may have done a blubbering warm up on your 911-call about how the well-appointed bird watching man with the seriously upmarket binoculars is a threat to your very life, but you need to really sell that act. Don’t worry Karen. It’s method acting. If you believe you’re the victim they’ll believe you too.

And if it fails you can always just record an indignant follow-up video in your car minutes later. It’s not like you’ll face any consequences.

6. Be Weirdly Borderline Cruel to Animals, but also Care More about Animals than Black People.

The easiest way to do this is to walk around with your dog off its leash because for a lot of Black people dogs particularly big dogs off their leash is inherently threatening and traumatising.

I can’t imagine why. (Bill Hudson/ASSOCIATED PRESS Photo found here: https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/06/18/193128475/how-the-civil-rights-movement-was-covered-in-birmingham)

But we’re not here for the easy solution. We’re Karens. Letting your dog get out of control and just bark aggressively at random people is child’s play. The real test for a Karen is how we behave towards other people with animals or when we see an animal involved in a violent and/or racist encounter.

Most importantly you’re going to want to place more importance on the welfare of the animal than any BIPOC you see. For example if you hear about a Mexican worker with questionable paperwork being fired from his job without pay after his hand was badly mangled in a meat packing plant your concern shouldn’t be for his health or the economic fallout he and his family are likely to face. Nor should your ire be directed at the company for refusing to pay him, refusing him any compensation for his life-altering injury, or forcing him to work in the unsafe conditions which contributed to or caused his injury. No. This is HIS FAULT for NOT being a VEGAN.

An especially creative way of exerting your privilege via animals is through confusing service and guide dogs with emotional support animals. If you yourself can have an animal make sure you ignore it so it’s really poorly socialised but then insist on all the same rights and access for your animal as someone who is blind and needs their animal to guide them. If you can’t have your own animal insist on petting service animals without permission from their human. This technique is especially effective with people whose service animals are there to help them with seizure disorders because distracting the service animal substantially increases risk of hospitalisation and death for the human.

But pretend like you don’t know and it’s everyone else who’s being unreasonable.

7. If you have to, there’s always the Apology Tour

Sometimes just being a white lady isn’t enough. You might end up with your video or picture all over the internet, you might lose your job, or the New York Times may do an exposé on the amazing disaster you call your life. Now, there’s lots of ways to do this. You can cry-talk in a tik tok video about how you’ve changed. You can sing an a capella version of “Imagine” really poorly and post it to Twitter. Or if your case really blew up you can go on TV and do an interview. Extra points if the Black person you tried to get killed comes on and give you a hug.

But either way you’re going to have to cry. Crying is the universally recognised way to get the situation to go your way. Maybe it backfired a little the first time, but just fix your dollar store mascara and try again. Try practising in the mirror. You want to look contrite, but still “pretty.” Race is only skin deep after all, so should be your contrition.

It’s going to be a tough sell, but particularly if you can get a jab in there about feminism being wrong you’ll be right as rain soon enough.

Okay, that’s quite enough of that nonsense. Remember to vote. Check that your registration is still valid or get registered. Election day will be November 3 this year. Make sure you don’t just vote in the Federal elections but also the state and local elections.

The ACLU is working overtime right now and will happily accept your donations here: https://action.aclu.org/give/now

It’s also Juneteenth today so if you want to mark the date with a donation to BLM or the NAACP click on the links provided.

Doctor of Palaeopathology, rage-prone optimist, stealth berserker, opera enthusiast, and insatiable consumer of academic journals.

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