Joke or woke? While a ‘Karen’ Halloween outfit has split opinion, it’s shown that white women are now the easiest of targets.

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Charlie Stone is an author and journalist who has worked for the BBC, several national newspapers in the UK and international media.

Charlie Stone is an author and journalist who has worked for the BBC, several national newspapers in the UK and international media.

“I demand to speak to the manager!” This is the phrase a Karen is sure to scream, when she doesn’t quite get the service she expects in a shop or a restaurant or her daughter’s ballet class. Whatever.

Karen, as you may well be aware, has become the very definition of a certain kind of privileged, racist white woman whose middle-class status gives her the ability – the right, even – to be condescending to others. Especially those who are there to serve, to serve the Karens of this world.

I’ve known a fair few real-life Karens over the years and, though they can be hugely irritating, they’re not exactly ‘scary’ in the Freddy Krueger knife-handed style of ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’ nor Jason from the ‘Friday the 13th’ horror flick series. Never mind Frankenstein or Count Dracula.

and the scariest costume goes to… pic.twitter.com/AgCXEeE7SX

Yet there is now a Karen Halloween costume that is scaring the bejesus out of folk and stirring up something of a storm. It was first spotted in a store in the US by Twitter user Helen Shivers who captioned the snap she posted with, “and the scariest costume goes to…”

Karen doesn’t have a knife sticking through her brain nor an eye that has fallen out of its socket nor a slit throat – the kind of outfit kids will wander around US streets wearing on October 31. She’s not a vampire nor a zombie nor a space alien. Although Karen is, to some people, most definitely a monster, the only thing razor-sharp about her Halloween outfit is the outdated bob haircut. 

Then, of course, the whole thing went viral. Some people thought it simply a hoot for Halloween, and some, predictably, found it offensive. 

“One needs to wonder if the Chinese manufacturers of these brilliant trending costume ideas scour social media to bring us the fastest and most relevant creations that fit into our social agenda. Priceless,” said one Twitter user.

“The way people have managed to turn this into a joke is honestly so unsurprising,” added another. “A whole costume for a label that’s supposed to identify women who weaponize their whiteness to. Brinkwire Summary News. For more information, search on the internet.

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