Yesterday afternoon, absentmindedly, I tripped and fell into the comments section of a Edinburgh based social media group. I’m okay, still a little shaky and following my doctor’s advice – to stay the fuck away from Community facebook pages. You may think it’s extreme to call an emergency doctor because you’ve suffered a bruised ego, but that’s how entitled I am.
My website calls me Triona, but lately I’ve been called Karen several times.
I thought about putting up a copy of my birth cert, blanking out bits and showing enough for people to see I’m not Karen, and then I realised they didn’t mean it literally.
Like when a woman is called a whore or a cunt or a bitch, or in more recent times, a terf. These words aren’t meant to suggest that a woman referred to in these terms is an actual prostitute, vagina, dog or feminist. They are simply shorthand for misogynists who want to express the universal language of woman hating, in easily understood terms.
And every generation has their own words, but the millennia old tradition of putting women in their place continues.
It’s too late for me to avoid the Karen label. It is as inevitable as the terf label that proceeded it. Too mouthy. See? In my defence, I was born this way and despite the many successive attempts of the system and violent men to shut me up, I continue to have opinions and to voice them. But it’s not too late for you. Here are my top tips to avoid being labelled Karen.
(1) Don’t ever express an opinion in a public setting, be it real or virtual.
(2) Whenever possible, avoiding leaving the house, as this will minimise your chances of being overheard, unwittingly, saying something no longer sayable.
(3) In the privacy of your home, stick to talking about stuff you know and avoid all controversial subjects. Most subjects are now controversial so try to keep conversation in the present tense around action words. For example, you might say, ‘I am doing the laundry. Do people mind gathering their stinking socks and stained undergarments and leaving them in the washing basket?’
(4) Avoid Mumsnet like it was a recently revived wing of the I.R.A. Beneath those recipes for fruit scones and advice links to government benefits, there lurks an underbelly of resistance to the whole scale takeover of Womanhood. Nothing gets you called Karen quicker than resisting the whole scale takeover of Womanhood.
(5) As some of you will have jobs that necessitate leaving the house and compel you to converse about controversial subjects (almost everything) try to be the listener more than the talker. When you speak, acknowledge your privilege, ignorance and all round gratitude that you’ve been given a voice and then use it to amplify the experiences of people that aren’t you. Never, ever, centre yourself in any discussion, even with your shrink.
(6) If, as part of your job, you are expected to research your discipline, be aware research has evolved significantly. Where once it was a pre-requisite to have a well read, intelligent view of a subject, now less is more. Knowledge will be a handicap and sharing it a surefire, short route to a new nickname.
(7) Woke words evole quicker than conspiracies about Corona, so best to always follow another’s lead. Underpinning any work focused, compulsory communication should be the clear understanding that words kill, literally, and wokeness kills the meaning of all words, figuratively.
(8) Are you confused yet? If not, I don’t think I can help you. Confusion is good, use it to keep you off balance and fearful. The more afraid you are, the more you will self censor and not add to the workload of the oppressed, who have to take time away from fighting big oppressors – the state, the police, the government, their parents – to explain to you the devastating consequences your micro aggressive behaviour – hogging the office heater- has on the life expectancy of the indigenous tribes of New Guinea.
To summarise, erase from your mind any pre-conceptions of your powerlessness based on your own life experiences. You may never have been able to get the fucker to pay child support, but are so omnipotent that if you retweet a J.K. Rowling comment, a gender non conforming child loses their wings and the whole world becomes a shade darker.