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a new woman to hate harassment misogyny

Novak Djokovic booted from US Open after hitting line judge with a ball; his fans respond by sending her death threats

Djokovic comforts the line judge after hitting her in the neck with a ball

Tennis star Novak Djokovic got himself booted from the US Open on Sunday after he — accidentally, it seems — hit a line judge in the throat with a tennis ball, sending her sprawling to the ground clutching her neck.

Djokovic’s suspension was pretty much automatic — the rules are clear — but rather than blame him for hitting a ball in frustration after play was over, his fans decided to take their anger out on the line judge instead.

As the Daily Mail explained:

Fans of the world No 1 were quick to take to social media, finding [the line judge’s] public profile and sending thousands of hate-filled messages, including death threats. …

[Her] son died in 2008, and one of Djokovic’s fans told her ‘don’t worry, you’ll join him soon’ … while another posted: ‘hahahahahahahaha YEEEEES, YEEEEEEEES.’

They were not much more polite on Twitter, calling her a “bitch,” a “cunt” and a “Karen,” and accusing her of exaggerating her pain after being struck by the ball.

There’s nothing, it seems, that online misogynists can’t blame on a woman, but blaming a woman for being hit with a ball is a new one for me.

She didn’t make the rule that got Djokovic disqualified. She didn’t force him to hit the ball in frustration. Her only crime was catching a fast-moving tennis ball in the neck.

Djokovic, for what it’s worth, has asked his fans to stop targeting her, noting that “she’s done nothing wrong.” But somehow I doubt that will shut them up.

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An Impish Pepper
An Impish Pepper
17 days ago

I mean, what gets me isn’t so much the negative reaction to the Karen meme as the implication that it was never anything other than a misogynist epithet that white men use against white women.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
17 days ago

@An Impish Pepper

I’m open to evidence that it originated as something different. I never encountered it being used differently, and Know Your Meme documents nothing, but I’m not saying Know Your Meme is the be all end all. The uncaring splash damage against people who are legit named Karen tells me what whoever originated it didn’t care much about splash damage, at a minimum.

Kaybee
Kaybee
17 days ago

@Naglfar: No worries — this site is way less judgmental than most, you commenters are much more conscientious than most, and I’m just a wee bit sensitive on this now.

I guess it could be worse. I mean, my name could be “Karen Santorum,” right?

Viscaria
Viscaria
17 days ago

So I’m not deeply invested in the idea that anybody desperately needs to be called “Karen,” and I am white myself so my opinions here aren’t very important, but here are my thoughts anyway because I like the sight of my own words on my screen, I guess.

@Kaybee

Seriously, how is this not appropriation?

It’s not appropriation because there isn’t a community that owns the name Karen, not even the people-named-Karen community. I could name my kid Karen despite not having that name myself, and that wouldn’t be objectionable. That’s not to say it’s not rude to use your name this way, but I struggle to see how it qualifies as appropriation.

Imagine if your own, personal, unremarkable name suddenly became shorthand for “unrepentant pedophile,” or “brutal torturer of small animals,” or “clueless and vicious abuser of elderly neighbors.”

I wouldn’t mind if my name became a shorthand for “entitled 30-something white woman” because I can see how it could. There are a lot of entitled 30-something white women out there with my name. I would mind if people started associating negative traits with me, either sincerely or to make fun of me, purely because my name happens to be the same as the shorthand, which it sounds like has happened to your niece (and maybe yourself?) I am sorry that is happening, and I don’t think it’s fair.

@PoM

I don’t recall Karen ever being anything but a misogynist slur directed toward assertive women who “want to speak with the manager” because god forbid you ever want to speak with the manager while female.

FWIW in the magical universe where the shorthand was only used as I believe it should be, it’s not wanting to speak with the manager that’s the problem, it’s wanting to speak with the manager because a staff member was daring to eat on their lunch break or didn’t hop to immediately when the customer walked in or couldn’t process a year-old coupon or some other thing where the customer is being entitled and using their power over the worker to try and get them in trouble. I think it’s important that the sense of entitlement can come from whiteness and wealth and the power to negatively affect the worker is increased by whiteness and wealth. But we don’t live in my magical brain world, so maybe it is used by some people for every time a woman asks to talk to a manager.

I guess this is why I decided to comment even though I don’t really care if no one ever uses the word “Karen” as a pejorative ever again: because I believe the behaviour I’ve described above to be a really terrible weaponization of white privilege, and I think it needs to be called out, somehow or other. And while the “speak to the manager” entitlement can come from white men, as well (my own dad is frigging awful for this), some of the other behaviours associated with the shorthand are very specifically female expressions of white privilege.

@moregeekthan

At some point, these terms combined, and folks started calling white women who were quick to call the cops on black folks “Karens”. I find this development confusing, sexist (why we letting white men off the hook)

Yeah, so this is what I was alluding to above. I really don’t think this use of the word lets white men off the hook for racism, including using the police against Black people. I think it is a specific shorthand for the specific way that white women are able to leverage our reputation for helplessness and innocence against Black people. I think the reputation itself is pretty sexist, but we as white women have managed to weaponize that to harm Black people and other people of colour for a very, very long time, and that deserves to be acknowledged and named. Not named Karen, maybe, but named something.

Anyways sorry for the longest comment in the history of the world.

Crip Dyke
17 days ago

@Viscaria

I think it is a specific shorthand for the specific way that white women are able to leverage our reputation for helplessness and innocence against Black people. I think the reputation itself is pretty sexist, but we as white women have managed to weaponize that to harm Black people and other people of colour for a very, very long time, and that deserves to be acknowledged and named. Not named Karen, maybe, but named something.

Absolutely. Just as Blackness & womanhood have intersections that affect how each is perceived, so too do whiteness & womanhood.

There are particular ways in which white women’s racism has manifested differently than white men’s racism and we need ways to talk about that.

Anyways sorry for the longest comment in the history of the world.

Pfft. I’ve had longer. And even if it was the longest, it was clearly an honest and useful addition to the discussion throughout. There’s no problem with having a lot to say so long as you’re not wasting the time of the other people in the conversation … particularly in a text-based conversation where people can simply choose not to read you if that’s what they want.

You’re good. No guilt.

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
17 days ago

I think it’s important that the sense of entitlement can come from whiteness and wealth and the power to negatively affect the worker is increased by whiteness and wealth. But we don’t live in my magical brain world, so maybe it is used by some people for every time a woman asks to talk to a manager.

Yeah, I’ve seen women called “Karen” for daring to disagree with someone who was in the wrong. I’ve seen black women called “Karen.” I’ve seen wronged parties called “Karen” for objecting to the oppression visited upon them. Basically any woman, or other person who presents as female, who doesn’t minimize their profile and take up as little space as possible is risking being called “Karen.”

You don’t even have to ask to speak with a manager; you just have to take up some space. It’s not a word restricted to commercial contexts. If you don’t take the shit that people sometimes want to dump on your head and smile while it drips down your face, you become “Karen” in the eyes of way too many people.

IDK maybe it’s a function of the city I live in, and the online spaces I frequent, but “Karen” is just a slap-down for any assertive woman in my experience. It’s not limited to white women, women with a particular haircut, women who ask to speak with the manager, or women who are weaponizing their privilege. It’s not even restricted to women, but applies to anyone who passes for a woman in public spaces.

Naglfar
Naglfar
17 days ago

@Kaybee

my name could be “Karen Santorum,”

If that were the case, I’d feel sorry that you have to be related to Rick Santorum (in addition to the “other” meaning).

@Crip Dyke

There are particular ways in which white women’s racism has manifested differently than white men’s racism and we need ways to talk about that.

Something I’ve noticed is that racist white men are more likely to directly engage in violence against PoC, while white women are more likely to “play the victim” (i.e. the Emmett Till case) in order to activate the legal system or vigilantes. This is obviously not always the case, but it does seem to be the typical circumstance.
This probably has mostly to do with the way people are socialized and forced to conform to society’s expectation of men as aggressive and women as passive.

Last edited 17 days ago by Naglfar
nobody
nobody
17 days ago

@Naglfar

O/T: TERFs have declared that because a male YouTuber (who AFAIK is cis) has a higher voice and looks young, he must secretly be a trans* man trying to convince girls who like programming that they are men or non-binary.

This is why it is my firm belief the root of both homophobia and transphobia is sexism and hatred of women.

Destroy sexism…and the mindset anyone is entitled to treat people badly based on how they look… we’ll all be better off.

Naglfar
Naglfar
17 days ago

@nobody

Destroy sexism…and the mindset anyone is entitled to treat people badly based on how they look… we’ll all be better off.

Although I think there is a bit more to LGBTphobia in addition to the sexism element, I 100% agree that getting rid of sexism and the associated mindset will help all kinds of people. TERFs conveniently dodge this by saying they want to get rid of gender, so they can keep all their sex essentialist bullshit whilst still pretending to be feminists. Gender identity and trans people are not the problem, the problem is the society we live in. Trans and GNC people are just an easier target.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
17 days ago

I believe this was the origin of Karen. Which I actually didn’t realize until Chadwick Boseman died and this sketch made the rounds.

And from there it evolved to the calling cops/speaking to the manager as a way for white women to be racist.

It was not originally a misogynist insult, but as a way to describe the specific way white women assert white privilege. Women are socialized to be more passive aggressive and men are socialized to be more aggressive. So when white women want to commit a hate crime, we find proxies (like the cops) to do it for us.

Then George Floyd’s lynching happened and BLM was a big national topic again and white people learned about ‘Karen.’ That’s when it became a synonym for ‘bitch.’

If any Black commenters want to correct me here, please do feel free. But this is my understanding of the origin and trajectory of the term. I’m just really not comfortable with the direction the discussion is taking because it’s really getting dangerously close to trying to police the way Black people choose to talk about racism. And no. Lets not.

Moon Custafer
Moon Custafer
17 days ago

I read a comment earlier today (in a different discussion) that any term describing a particular form of oppression is useful for about fifteen minutes and then it gets co-opted.

I suppose “white women’s tears” still describes the particular form of racism pretty well, but I don’t think I’ve seen it used in a purple of years; anybody know if the phrase got tainted somehow?

Policy of Madness
Policy of Madness
17 days ago

This routine well predates the SNL skit, and talks about Karen, and names Karen as a douchebag, which is closer to the current Karen meme than anything having to do with well intentioned but bland potato salad:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6m42ZQHTfs

I’m not going to claim this is the origin of the meme, though.

I’m not here to tell non-white people how they are allowed to talk about white people. But I am questioning how the common wisdom came about that Karen originated in the black community, which no black people of my acquaintance have backed up and for which I’ve seen no evidence. Black people reacting to racist white women back a couple of years gave each individual offender a unique name. BBQ Becky and Pool Patty are the ones I remember. Boiling all offensive women down to Karen came later, and I don’t remember there ever being a stop along the way where it was an exclusively black term.

Naglfar
Naglfar
17 days ago

@Moon Custafer

any term describing a particular form of oppression is useful for about fifteen minutes and then it gets co-opted.

See also: cotton ceiling, kyriarchy, etc

Snowberry
Snowberry
17 days ago

I always figured that “Karen” was a reference to “Mean Girls”. (Note: I have not seen “Mean Girls”.)

Full Metal Ox
17 days ago

@Policy of Madness:

The Black Jeopardy clip, with an increasingly incredulous T’challa learning of the indignities that are African-Americans’ routine lot, eloquently demonstrates what the whole idea of Wakanda means to Black people.

And am I correct in my impression that white men are the only people whose anger doesn’t have a ready-made dismissive (or demonizing) stereotype waiting to intercept it?

Alan Robertshaw
17 days ago

@ full metal ox

And am I correct in my impression that white men are the only people whose anger doesn’t have a ready-made dismissive (or demonizing) stereotype waiting to intercept it?

The term ‘gammon’ has entered political discourse here to describe angry right wing white men; or rather pink men I guess. That now being the reason for it. The idea being it’s the sort of flushed with anger red faced types you seen ranting about stuff on the news.

I don’t know how common it is outside twitter and media circles though. Bit more here for anyone interested:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/gammon-left-wing-political-insult-twitter-racism-debate-right-charles-dickens-a8352281.html

Big Titty Demon
Big Titty Demon
17 days ago

@Kaybee

I also look side-eyed at the claim that only SOME people get to use my name as a dismissive, insulting slur because (reasons).

This is just so personal! I wish its 15 minutes were just over, but I’m afraid this might never pass…

And now you’re so close to the origin of Karen, as a reaction to the Lakisha and Shaniqua and other Black woman stereotypes. It really hurts to have the people in power make your name a perjorative, eh? That wasn’t Black people that did that, that was the white mainstream that made it synonymous with bitch. I stand by my point.

If you think Black people should sit down and shut up and not create return stereotypes because that’s not helpful, just suffer with dignity… welp, I don’t know what to say to you. We disagree. White women should perceive it as a call to action to make sure there are no original Karens and police themselves, not as a call to action to rail against black people and the mean meany stereotypes they made just because white people made a few little welfare queen jokes that helped oppress an entire race and police that race instead.

You guys are really taking Know Your Meme as an in any way Black-influenced site? (Or woman-influenced? Dimes to dollars the editors are >90% white men.)

@ Full Metal Ox

You are correct. Why would we dismiss a white man’s anger? A white man has power, and to dismiss his anger is to run the real risk of injury or death.

Last edited 17 days ago by Big Titty Demon
Naglfar
Naglfar
17 days ago

@Alan Robertshaw

The term ‘gammon’ has entered political discourse here to describe angry right wing white men; or rather pink men I guess.

Since I don’t live in the UK, I mostly heard it as a mocking nickname for Graham Linehan due to the similarity to his first name. He fits that description pretty well. Speaking of which, I haven’t heard much about him since he got banned from Twitter, and it seems like most of his former friends have deserted him for JK Rowling now that he’s no longer able to help them abuse trans* people on Twitter.

Or, in meme form:
comment image

Lakitha
Lakitha
17 days ago

Okay all this prioritizing of white womens feelings about a term that may or may not apply to them, and is being misused by a complete different set of people, is making me deeply uncomfortable here.

Here is where know your meme is wrong because the use of Karen in the black community predated that site, and comes at least before social media. It was only an expression we used among ourselves, but with invention of the internet all of our “behind the back” words we used to describe “white people who were getting on our nerves” have now been widely disseminated, and abused, by white people.

Like I said, we don’t use the term anymore, long before the 2018- 2019 definition found in “know your memes”. As far as I know it’s been our policy to stop using most slang terms after it reaches mainstream culture, and usually after white people have wildly misappropriated the terms for their own use. So you probably won’t discover it’s provenance on that website.

And I’m going to run the risk here of pissing off at least a couple of people on here by saying this, but it doesn’t matter how offended you are, you don’t get to police black peoples reactions to oppression, (and Karen was one of the nicer terms we used to refer to such women.) You can say it’s a slur if you want to, but I’m not impressed by white womens tears (one of the less nice things we say about white women who cry because some PoC hurt their feelings) about this. I know at least four black women named Karen, one of them is my cousin, and they all know it wasn’t a term that ever applied to them. Yes, it is a slur against white women, but the way we used it, you had to be a white woman who was abusing her privilege by meeting certain criteria. This ain’t about you or your feelings. This was about how we coped with racist white women, by mocking the privilege they abused. The term has been so misappropriated we now just use specific names in the insults, based on specific behavior ( ie. barbecue Becky.)

As I said this use was years ago, and most black people have stopped using the term because it’s outdated and overused. You need to use that energy to talk to the white men who are currently misappropriating this term, not cry to black people (who are not currently using the term) about your hurt feelings. I just wanted to answer some history on the term as it seemed y’all were confused about it’s provenance, but how y’all are discussing this has made me deeply uncomfortable.

Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
17 days ago

@Kaybee

I’m just sick about the way my name has been stolen and perverted and twisted and used to craft some vicious unintended meaning.

Although I don’t consider the use of the name Karen to be appropriation — and although your pain is small compared with the pain caused by racism — I’m so very sorry about the way your name has been used lately. From the beginning of my awareness of this trend I’ve thought about the impact it has on people named Karen. I have some personal experience with this because my brother’s name was occasionally in the local newspaper when he was young — and not for positive reasons. Funnily enough, I now live in an area where I share my last name with someone who is usually seen as a classy kind of person with reasonably good politics. (Thank you, Great Goddess.) With any luck, the next super cool song that sweeps the nation, maybe the planet, will be a love song called “Karen.”

Viscaria
Viscaria
17 days ago

After reading what both Big Titty Demon and Lakitha said, I see that while I thought I was “helping” or whatever, really I was talking about my own feelings and pitting them against the feelings of other white women and just generally centering our perspectives as if they are crucial to this discussion, and they’re not.

@Lakitha said:

but it doesn’t matter how offended you are, you don’t get to police black peoples reactions to oppression

I’m sorry I participated in doing that. I’m going to keep reading this thread, but I’ll keep my thoughts to myself.

Adding an edit because I worry I am not being clear:

If someone says “I don’t think Black people should be allowed to say this because X” and I say “Well, actually, I think they should be allowed to say it because Y,” I have accepted the premise that white people (in this case white women) get to decide what it is or isn’t okay for Black people to do or say when experiencing racism. I’m going to be more watchful for that going forward. Now I’m for real going to shut up.

Last edited 17 days ago by Viscaria
Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
17 days ago

@Lakitha

It was only an expression we used among ourselves, but with invention of the internet all of our “behind the back” words we used to describe “white people who were getting on our nerves” have now been widely disseminated, and abused, by white people.

Thank you for that. It weren’t my place to say it, or that whitewashing the origins of words we’ve jacked isn’t exactly a shocking new thing for the English speaking world.

Big Titty Demon
Big Titty Demon
17 days ago

@ Lakitha

I don’t want to leave you alone in the discussion, but you’re making the argument I would like to make much better than I can. I’m just over here agreeing with you.

Pie
Pie
17 days ago

@SpecialFrog

Also he is an anti-vaxxer but that is a separate issue.

Also a coronavirus denier, at least up to the point where his idiotic little tennis tour ended up with a load of covid cases because unlike everyone else they didn’t follow basic infection control procedures and had a nice celebratory indoor party so they could all breathe each other’s air better…

He’s also trying to start a men only tennis player’s association. Or rather he’s claiming that it is an all-inclusive association, its just that he can’t actually name the women in in just yet. He’s asking around, he says, though given his history of saying that women playing tennis should be paid less and receive a smaller prize than men because they’re less popular probably won’t go down well.

Moogue
Moogue
16 days ago

You know the whole Karen thing has been broken when Karen isn’t asking for the manager, but literally IS the manager.

To me, the whole Karen thing was inevitably going to become sexist, if it wasn’t always. And not because discussions about “white women’s tears” are wrong, but because Karen never precluded sexist uses. I’ve worked in customer service my whole life, and now work in a call center resolving disputes (among other things), and the one thing I’ve learned is that every angry customer has a story, and that you shouldn’t judge a customer until you know their story. Some people really are entitled assholes, some people are banking on bigotry of some kind, but some people’s actions become’s more understandable once you learn about the reasons for them.

IMO, the problem with Karen isn’t that it makes a valid point about “white women’s tears”, it’s that it’s a blanket term that’s made about a customer’s motivations usually without their story and motivations being known. As such, it is inevitably falls victim to the user’s sexism, given society’s delusions about women and their lives.

Last edited 16 days ago by Moogue
TacticalProgressive
TacticalProgressive
10 days ago

@An Impish Pepper

I mean, what gets me isn’t so much the negative reaction to the Karen meme as the implication that it was never anything other than a misogynist epithet that white men use against white women

That has seemed to be the ever more apparent implication. That being said: I feel baffled whenever those same guy’s that use the “Karen” prejorative also seem to, weirdly also apply it to men like me whenever I call them out for their nonsnse, bigotry and general bullying?

I don’t know wither they think I am a women simply on the praxis that I call them out on their bs and they think that “oh only a ‘irrational, sensitive, emotional’ woman would object to my big brain logic” and therefore think I am a woman to “be put in her place” (the fact they do that to any women to begin with when met with dissent is already pretty damn bad, but it’s bemusing when they assume that anyone who does dissent from them is a women by default) or the are trying to apply the pejorative to men like me as a sort of prolapsed adjective devoid of actual meaning.

Which to me seems to lend credence to the saying: “Their is no bigger Misandrist: than a Misogynist.”