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On Finding Our Roar

Finding our Roar

If you’re a parent of teenagers, you will likely know how much they enjoy making you the butt of the jokes. Well, I assume it’s not just me…

Something else my teens seem intent on doing (lockdown seems to have ramped this up a gear) is calling me anything other than ‘mum’. I mostly answer to Sue these days, a name chosen for maximum annoyance (no offence to all the Sues out there, but my name has never been shortened to Sue…until now that is).

‘Pick your battles’ is one of my mum mantras, thus I tend to let Sue go, accepting it as a term of endearment. What I find harder to stomach, is the current insult of choice – Karen.

Wikipedia describes the term ‘Karen‘ as:

‘A pejorative term for women seeming to be entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is normal. The term also refers to memes depicting white women who use their privilege to demand their own way‘.

Firstly, I think we are all wondering why the name Karen? I mean, there’s a lot of women out there who were christened Karen and are now featuring in more memes than they’ve had hot dinners. Having turned to Google for the answer, there doesn’t seem to be one. What I did find however, were copious articles with titles such as ‘Haircuts to avoid if you don’t want to look like a Karen‘ (for the record, slightly old-fashioned, brassy, with lots of misplaced layers 😳 ).

Playing into their Hands

Having realised quite early on that being branded ‘A Karen‘ is not a compliment, I would regularly take offence (playing right into the hands of my teenagers). The more time that’s passed however, I’ve realised that anyone who has the audacity to speak up for themselves and has the misfortune of being the wrong side of 40, is likely to be labelled a ‘Karen‘ by any teenager within earshot.

Being unjustly told you’re too late for happy hour when the waitress deliberately ignored you for 10 minutes so happy hour has now well and truly gone? Damn right I’m going to speak up about it!

Waiting in all day for a delivery to later be told that said delivery will have to be rebooked because you were not in when they rang on your doorbell? There’s no way that I’m gonna let that one go!

Time to Flaunt that Brassy Hair

I recently read an article by the wonderful (and unashamedly assertive) Caitlin Moran, who pointed out that women in the throes of perimenopause, will almost certainly be lacking in the hormones that we’ve been relying on since around 13 years of age. That heady cocktail of progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone, that’s been bathing us in a warm glow of ‘niceness’ all these years.

“As your perimenopause gathers pace, you experience what I can only describe as an increasing sobriety. You no longer feel drunk any more. Suddenly, the poor behaviour of other adults comes sharply into focus, as you deal with your hormonal hangover.”

So this term ‘Karen‘, that today’s teenagers (I blame TikTok) insist on banding around…could it simply be middle-aged women with their ‘brassy’ hair, finally finding their roar again? I’m blowed if I will be letting any teenager silence it!

Who’s with me?

Inside, Outside & Beyond

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11 COMMENTS

  • Jill Bald

    You are too right about that. I remember your father bemoaning the fact that I had got super aggressive once I hit the big 50. There hasn’t been much change since.

    • Suzanne W
      AUTHOR

      Ha ha that made me laugh! Glad you found your ‘roar’ again 🙂

  • Nico Bencini

    So true Suz, I am totally with you on this. I have teens and ‘young adults’ living with me that seem to have the same ideas! I am tired of us past forty somethings being made to feel like we are a ‘Karen’ just for voicing an opinion! Bring on the roar.

    • Suzanne W
      AUTHOR

      Yes Nico! They clearly feel threatened by us 😉 Or embarrassed…

  • Lisa

    🙋🏼‍♀️

    • Suzanne W
      AUTHOR

      Much nicer to have friends on the journey!

  • BLEKE

    Suzanne,

    During my teenage years, we reckoned that our parents were dinosaurs. Perhaps that’s how it has always been — but the generation-gap in the 1960s did seem very wide.
    So now you’re “Sue” or “Karen”. AFAIK very few girls of your kids’ generation have those names, which is a plus point if the teens want to use the names in a jocular (Sue) or unflattering (Karen) way. (Isn’t it interesting how names go in and out of fashion? — when I was at school, none of my contemporaries had such old-fashioned names as Emily or Victoria or Jacob or Joseph, but there were Janes and Lynnes and Pauls and Stephens aplenty.)
    We do live in an era of consumerist entitlement, and it seems to me that a lot of people who accuse “Karens” of an overdeveloped sense of entitlement need to look in a mirror!
    Although you may encounter some resistance if you give orders to kids in their mid/late teens — oh yes, “pick your battles” — in your forties you have gained wisdom and experience which will stand you in good stead when you have to enter into negotiations. You’re probably familiar with the saying: “Diplomacy is the art of letting the other person have your way.”
    And if you find your roar when you receive bad service from waitresses and delivery-people whose wages you are (indirectly) paying, I’d say: “You have full authority here, Suzanne Weaver!”

    • Suzanne W
      AUTHOR

      Any excuse for our kids to belittle us, I think! Being called ‘a Karen’ is just another one to add to the list..

  • Sarah MumofThree World

    Yep, I’m with you! Society seems to think we are a bit redundant now we’re not as beautiful or cool looking as we were 20 years ago.
    But we’ve got a lot more experience of life and a lot to offer anyone willing to listen. We definitely shouldn’t be dismissed or ignored and our opinions are definitely still valid.
    PS my kids don’t make up names for me, but my siblings made up names for my own parents when they were teenagers, which still stick – they are ‘Jan and Ron’, even though that is nothing like their actual names. My mum is also ‘Doll’ and ‘Trout’.

    • Suzanne W
      AUTHOR

      Ha ha love that Sarah. Think I would prefer ‘Trout’ to ‘Karen’!

  • Gail

    Such a good post Suzanne! I’ve heard my teenager mention this name too – it does seem to be a ‘thing’ in their social media landscape. You’re so right that it could just be women starting to feel comfortable with their own voice in their forties. From experience, I do think those 40-something hormones might contribute to a certain shift! xx

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