What started as a meme about angry feminists who complain too much might be added to the Anti-Defamation League hate speech list.
Pepe the Frog and the ‘OK’ hand gesture memes have already been annexed by the Anti-Defamation League and are now officially considered symbols of hate. It seems as the “Karen” meme might be added to the list for hate speech against feminists.
When it comes memes it seems that the right-wing have the upper hand. Unfortunately, a lot of their memes have been banned on social media or, even worse, added to the list of hate speech which, in some cases, makes their use a criminal act. But are they really that bad?
The most recent memes to receive 1984 style censored ship on social media are the NPC and Learn To Code Memes.
The NPC meme — which was really just a counter-response to the Russian bot meme — called out certain people for being predictable by replying with generic responses like Non-Playable Characters in videogames. The meme was super effective, and the left retaliated by saying it was dehumanising and Twitter responded by banning anyone that used the meme on their platform. Oddly enough, you are still allowed to call right-wingers ‘Russian bots’ without consequence.
Some memes, however, transcended social media and made international headlines. A group of trolls gathered on the popular, yet controversial, image messaging board 4chan and orchestrated a campaign to fool democratic politicians and liberal media into thinking that a common hand gesture is actually a symbol of white supremacy.
‘OK’ hand gesture officially considered symbol of hate after 4chan meme campaign.
Several photos went viral of conservatives holding up the ‘OK’ hand sign and that was enough to convince liberal media that it was, in fact, a symbol of white supremacy (because all conservatives are white supremacists, right?).
After the meme went viral the ADL officially recognised the ‘OK’ hand gesture as a symbol of hate.
Now the ADL is at it again and this time they are targeting the “Karen” meme.
What is “Karen”? Meme explained!
Karen began as an all encompassing meme that simply meant ‘annoying woman’. It was essential the ‘Jane Dough’ of bad mother jokes. It then evolved into exclusively being about the never satisfied soccer-mum who would always complain and demand to see the manager.
But now the meme is specifically about radical feminist with coloured hair who pretty much make up cancel culture; i.e. want to ruin careers, cancels shows, etc.
Original Karen only wanted to speak to your manager. The new Karen wants you banned of Twitter and hopefully die from coronavirus. Karen to be added ADL censorship list?
And, in marvellously ironic fashion, the people who are usually considered to be a bit like “Karen” are now outraged at the term and are trying to cancel it by appealing to the Anti-Defamation League and want it officially to be considered hate speech.
Feminists agree that Karen meme should be considered hate speech
Does anyone else think the ‘Karen’ slur is woman hating and based on class prejudice?— Julie Bindel (@bindelj) April 5, 2020
Feminist blogger and self-published author, Julie Bindel, took to Twitter to express why she believes that Karen should be considered hate speech against women, especially feminists.
“When I was in my 20s, the slur against younger working-class women was ‘Sharon and Tracy’. I honestly cannot think of any equivalent for men. But I am so sick of women, including those of us that have devoted our lives to women’s liberation, being spoken about so disrespectfully.”
Her friend, and fellow feminist blogger and self-published author, Hadley Freeman chimed in, expressing that it’s far more than just sexist, but one of the worst things a man could say to a woman.
Yes – it’s sexist, classist and ageist, in that order— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) April 5, 2020
When challenged, Hadley Freeman stood her ground and adamantly stated that only ‘old women’ are named Karen.
“Really? What do you think of when you hear “Karen”? Is it a cultured, cool, upper middle class young woman? No, that’s a Sophie, Isabel, Alice. Karen = late 40 something suburban comedy housewife. It is deliberately and entirely specific and reductive – ageist, sexist and classist”
However, Dana Wefer, free speech attorney and self declared ‘gender critical womanist’, turned the argument on its head when she explained the the name “Karen” was originally used by woman of colour as a racist slur against white women in the work place.
Apparently I’m right!https://t.co/zDFYSvNJLJ— Seed Of Fire (@DanaWefer) April 6, 2020
Whether or not the “Karen” meme will be officially recognised by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as hate speech remains to be seen, but it is very likely seeing as they’ve added Pepe the Frog, bowl cuts, and the ‘OK’ hand gesture to that list.
What’s your take on the “Karen” meme? Is it sexist, ageist and classist? Should the “Karen” meme be considered hate speech by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)? Let us know what you think in the comments below.