Karen, Meet “Susan”, the New Way to Slander White Women
Move over, Karen. There’s a new lady in town: Susan.
She’s all over memes, just like you were.
Susan is bad. Why? That depends on who you ask:
- Susan is an older Karen
- Susan is a younger Karen
- Susan takes things too seriously
- Susan is a know-it-all
- Susan is annoying
- Susan is a coward
“Susan” is the new socially acceptable way to hate on white women.
I’m pretty sure she came after Becky, who was the precursor to Karen. Then there’s Stacy.
But who cares? They’re all mockable.
I started seeing the name “Susan” used to refer to the generic white women people seem to hate, so I looked up what it meant. Everyone knows what the term “Karen” means. Susan is far less defined.
Dictionary.com actually has an article called: “Karen” vs. “Becky” vs. “Stacy”: How Different Are These Slang Terms?
The article is super helpful. Here’s what I learned.
Beckys are “younger white women who are unaware or take advantage of their privilege.
In addition to loving apple-picking in the fall and selfies, a Becky is stereotyped as a so-called basic bitch who is a privileged, sheltered, generic, and unlikeable white woman.”
Karens are “middle-aged, ignorant, and aggressive white moms.”
Stacys are “a stereotype for an attractive woman who is vain, rude, and only interested in sex. Stacies are sexually active and looked down upon for it.”
Susans? Who knows what their transgression is.
Thank you for this lexicon of toxic whiteness. It’s super helpful.
I know numerous people in real life who have these names and don’t display these traits. They’re great people who do their best to contribute as wives, moms, employees, daughters, sisters, and friends.
Then they go on social media and see this.
Needless to say, it’s a little soul-crushing.
We live in an age where bullying is rightfully vilified, but somehow this is okay. It’s apparently funny, and if you don’t think so, you’re clearly a Karen.
Fortunately, a very helpful blog post whose sole purpose is to describe the differences between white women’s name insults acknowledges:
There are some folks reading this who might go “but that’s my ACTUAL legal name.” To you, I say I understand. Just because your name is Becky doesn’t mean you are A Becky. Just because “Karen” is on your birth certificate doesn’t make you A KAREN. Know what I mean? Cool.
Oh, okay, got it. Yes, that’s so cool. Ganging up on someone and then shaming them into saying it’s cool their name is an insult is great.
Your name is Becky, and you’re fine. But a “Becky” is entitled, basic, generic, and unlikeable. Got it?
Welcome to middle school.
Difficult white women exist, of course. Nobody’s questioning that. But guess what? So do difficult white men. There are also difficult Black, Brown, and Asian people.
Funny how we’re not rushing to define them with names common to their demographic and tear them up all over social media.
The reason this has the kind of social acceptability it does is that it’s aimed at white women, an optimal target. I’ll tackle the race issue first.
In most developed countries, white people have defined the power structure and traditionally have more power. Therefore, remarks against white people aren’t racist. A racist remark is a remark that stereotypes or denigrates someone in a race that is or has been oppressed.
Hmmm… Does that mean you can say whatever you want about white people and it’s all good? That’s what terms like “Karen”, “Becky”, and “Susan” suggest.
No, white people are not an oppressed class. But if we’re in a new, progressive age, what’s with deciding they’re the free target? I get that history can’t be undone, but were you personally wronged by an actual Karen or Susan?
If not, how about we let this whole trend go.
Yes, I realize white people do it, too. No, that doesn’t make it defensible.
Then there’s the gender component. Are we surprised that it’s mainly women taking the brunt of all this hate? I’m guessing no one is. Compare how many times you hear about Chads versus how many times you hear about Karens.
- Basic bitch
- White girl wasted
The ways to shame women, primarily white women in these cases, are seemingly endless. Funny how it doesn’t extend nearly as much to men, who have traditionally been the true holders of the powers that oppress.
Difficult people should be held to account. But turning women’s names into generic insults isn’t funny or cool. It’s certainly unnecessary.
In fact, it’s racial prejudice and misogyny.
End of story.