Since the dawn of time, The Karen has been a feared creature among managers across America — and perhaps anyone who doesn't benefit from white privilege. But on Monday, an unforeseen breakthrough occurred. After the New York Times released a series of polls done in collaboration with Siena College that revealed the voting preference of men and women in battleground states depending on their first names, results appeared to be shocking — nay, groundbreaking. The “Presidential choice, by first name” poll listed the 10 most common names for each gender polled and their voting preference, with the name Karen yielding some noteworthy results: 40% of Karens are voting for Donald Trump, while 60% are voting for Joe Biden.
Yes, that's right, it looks like Biden did the unthinkable just one day before the 2020 general election: he won over the Karens. And for as much as Karens are dragged on social media and in real life, this time, Twitter users were quick to offer praise to the formerly reviled Karen community. Some believed that the Karens of the world were owed an apology, another analysed that societal pressure was working, and another suggested that it was actually the Richards of America who needed to watch their backs; according to the polls, people named Dick — I mean Richard — are 64% likely to vote for Trump and 36% likely to vote for Biden.
In case you were missing an explanation to all of this, the name Karen has long-existed as a slang term for white women who utilise their privilege for personal gain. Since at least the mid-2010s, it was the name given to the asymmetrical haircut popularised by reality star Kate Gosselin and sported by women who wanted to “speak to the manager.” Karen skyrocketed in popularity in 2020, with the name becoming a catch-all title for everyone from more dangerous white women like Amy Cooper, who called the cops on a Black man birdwatcher in Central Park and lied that he was threatening her, to just scream-y women who refuse to wear face masks while out in a pandemic because it’s “against their rights.”
Of course, Karens responded to the slang use of the name Karen by insisting that it was being weaponised for sexist — and yes, racist — reasons to denounce white women. Noted TERF writer Julie Bindel asked on Twitter in April if “anyone else thinks the ‘Karen’ slur is woman hating and based on class prejudice?” Tucker Carlson has also picked himself to die on that hill after quote-tweeting the National Republican Congressional Committee and asking his followers, “Anyone know why the NRCC is using ethnic slurs?”
While we commend Karen for standing on the right side of history, this is only the beginning: Karens are a powerful force, and when united could do a lot of harm or good.