In this guest post, the CEO of PR/comms agency Extollo, Katy Denis, examines the social phenomenon of our time – the entitled ‘Karens’ amongst us & why they can be such a danger…
Until last week, I had no idea who or what a “Karen” is. Thanks to (and I use that term very lightly, to actually mean – ‘please may I never have to see anything like that hideousness again’) some women who I won’t give any more publicity to, I found myself Googling to find this definition in the Urban Dictionary.
Karen – The stereotypical name associated with rude, obnoxious and insufferable middle-aged white women.Karens take everything wrong with the typical over entitled western woman and crank it up by several thousand percent.
Yep, that pretty much covers it. Sure, there have been the awkward laughs and the “wow, is this legit?!” with wide eyed emoji-style looks, the clever spoofs, and even reactionary marketing campaigns riding the Karen wave, but this week, having reflected on those infamous videos and the pretty terrible behaviour of so many people recently (not all Karens as such) it has actually started to worry me.
I’m not the smartest person I know, but I’m smart enough to know that being asked to wear a mask to help protect our own health, and that of others is not a violation of our human rights. How embarrassing that we are becoming known around the world as the people who think that.
Giving the Karens a break for a moment, I simply cannot relate to the selfishness of people who are not quarantining when advised to and who are still having huge parties, in a pandemic, clearly not caring about vulnerable people in the community (young and old) who can, and are dying from this virus, and suffering from increased loneliness and deteriorating mental health.
If they can’t or won’t be compassionate to those people, what about the business owners who are literally just hanging on, financially and emotionally? Or, I encourage them to embrace their selfishness and think about their economic future and the simple fact that the longer they refuse (in an totally outraged, entitled manner of course) to do some pretty straightforward (non-freedom violating) things, the longer this pandemic will continue, and the more damage will be done to our economy – and their chances of getting jobs, promotions, being able to buy shiny things, possibly even some tools from Bunnings .
Now I absolutely appreciate that we are all very different and in no way am I suggesting that we should think or act the same, far from it, but I did until recently think that the majority of us have a good moral compass, a pretty healthy level of innate kindness – and a conscience.
Sadly I think I’m being proven wrong, and I’m ashamed to say that I have found myself wishing that some of these people would witness a loved one literally drowning in their hospital bed as they struggle to breathe with a death rattle in their chest, as my family did and now have etched into our very beings (sights, sounds and emotions I will never, ever forget), after my dear Dad passed away fighting pneumonia last year. Like I said, I’m ashamed of that thought, but it’s driven by complete disillusioned and sadness at people who can’t see beyond their own whims, oh, and the fact that I believe being a complete A-hole is not ok!
The good old days of bingeing Tiger King and ‘we’re all in it together’ vibes sadly seem like a lifetime ago.
This pandemic has brought out the best in people, but, unfortunately, it has also brought out the worst in people too, and a lot of some very bad eggs. It has got me thinking, a little like the end frame of ‘Silence of the Lambs’ when the camera pulls back and you see a crowd shot with Hannibal Lecter in the middle and everyone going about their business – walking among a serial killer, and none the wiser.
Okay, possibly a tad dramatic, and we’re probably not going to get chopped up and eaten by a Karen, or another selfish, self-serving member of society passing us in the Bunnings aisle berating staff as they go. What does worry me though is that we could face someone who has this complete lack of compassion, and disregard for others when we least expect it, or can least afford to face them…like in an emergency setting or care situation.
That actually terrifies me.
So, how about less of the selfish and obnoxious and more of being kind, doing good stuff for others. Sound good? Great.
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