Screenshot Instagram/@barbarashappyfamily, @linda_parnell2
Scores of teenagers around the world are using their summer free time during quarantine to roleplay as "Karens" on Instagram.
They make fake profiles and imitate the stereotypes associated with middle-aged white American women, like "Minion" memes and supporting Trump.
Insider spoke to some of the fake "Karens," who appear to be predominantly teenage girls.
The fake "Karens" said they're using their accounts to "troll" the "real Karens" and other Gen Z-ers, and that they don't actually support Trump or the other content they post about.
They also participate in mass group chats with other "Karens" to socialize.
There's a growing trend on TikTok and in Instagram comment sections — accounts with names like "karen.williams.34," "becky.fuller31," and "barbarashappyfamily" are showing up in droves to post "Minion" memes, wine glass emojis, and comments like "TRUMP 2020."
But while the profile pictures may show smiling blonde women with bob cuts, these aren't your typical white American moms. These are teens roleplaying as "Karens."
The accounts play off the hugely popular "Karen" meme, which is meant to depict certain white women as entitled or racist. The meme itself has proved controversial, with some criticizing it as sexist or a distraction. Viral videos of white women like Amy Cooper, who infamously called the police on a Black birdwatcher after he asked her to put her dog on a leash, have bolstered the trend.
As more videos continue to emerge online of predominantly white women being called out for their behavior, the "Karen" meme has surged in popularity. What started as a meme about women who complain to customer service representatives has morphed into a blanket term to make fun of predominantly white, conservative American women.
Stuck at home in quarantine, teens are inspired by viral TikToks about "Karen" Instagram accounts. They're imitating the profiles themselves, creating accounts starring their fake husbands and kids.
Now there's an entire community of fake "Karens" living in their own virtual world.
Teens are making 'Karen' accounts out of boredom
For Gen Z-ers around the world, making fake Instagram accounts that hinge off trending news and culture has become a larger trend. Teens on TikTok developed "Alt TikTok," where some users impersonate anthropomorphic brands. On a darker note, some teens created fake fan accounts for a 23-year-old charged with double murder. The "Karen" pages are more light-hearted, but appear to follow this pattern.
To get attention, some of the "Karen" roleplayers promote their accounts on TikTok. Others go to popular teen Instagram pages like "@tiktokroom" and post pro-Trump and anti-liberal comments to attract eyes to their pages.
Once you scroll through a fake "Karen's" account, it's easy to tell if it's a troll. The family photos are often stock imagery, pictures of famous TikToker's families, or have faces crudely cut out and pasted over others for comedic effect. The captions are dramatic and play off of stereotypes about white moms: The "Karens" post about reading the Bible and going to Wal-Mart, for example. Different "Karen" accounts often interact with each other in character.
Insider DMed with several of the teen "Karens," like "katie.williams1987," who roleplays about having twins and getting divorced from her husband "John" because he's no longer a Trump supporter. In reality, "Katie Williams" is a teenage girl named Mariam who lives in Germany.
"I'm doing this because it is fun and I am bored in quarantine," Mariam told Insider. "I don't support trump or white lives matter and all that stuff. I'm just trolling people to see their reaction [sic]."
The posts often mimic common microaggressions, evoking the stereotype that real "Karens" are racist. 16-year-old Sabrina lives in the US, and her "Karen" account is "@carolynnjanet." Her bio includes an American flag emoji and describes her as a "pro-life supermom & wife." It also mourns her deceased dog "Hermês Sorbét." She writes "Stop calling me racist! My dog is black," and posts about her daughters "Ashlynn" and "Gwendolynn Leigh-Anne."
Sabrina also mocked the idea that the "Karen" meme is sexist, posting a now-infamous tweet asking if "Karen" is a slur, and captioning it "Us white moms go through so much these days!"
"It's basically to troll the actual Karens or republicans in general, expressing their ideas in an explicit way," Sabrina told Insider in a DM. "Also to mock them," she added, "and the funny thing is that they actually fall for it and agree with our comments on different posts."
The teens are finding opportunities to socialize in giant 'Karen' group chats
The idea of Gen Z-ers "trolling" Republicans is nothing new. Most recently, thousands of teens made national news after they registered for tickets in advance of President Donald Trump's Tulsa rally to falsely inflate the campaign's attendance expectations, instigating a response from Trump's campaign.
But the "Karen" Instagram accounts also give bored teens an opportunity to socialize. Mariam added this Insider reporter into a mass "Karens" group chat, one of many, where nearly 30 teens talk throughout the day about their "Karen" personas and their actual lives. One of them even added superstar Billie Eilish to the chat, but unsurprisingly, she's not active.
The "Karens" in the group chat identified themselves as mostly girls between the ages of 13 and 16, and many of them were from the UK and Canada. None of them seemed to know each other outside the "Karens" community, which one of them jokingly described as a "cult," reminiscent of some of the TikTok "cults" that have grown popular in recent months.
Many of the "Karens" answered Insider's questions in character, but most of them said they were inspired to create their "Karen" personas after seeing TikToks about the accounts and by seeing other "Karen" comments on Instagram. "It is my passion to chat with the other moms!" commented "Becky Fuller," a play on a "Fuller House" character.
Most of them said they had started their accounts in the past day or two and were spending hours or even all day roleplaying as their "Karens." While no one said they had a real-life "Karen" as a mom, many of the teens said they'd interacted with "real Karens" online and in real life.
"The fact that most of their sole motivation in life is wine and racism made me wonder what it would be like to actually be a Karen," wrote a roleplayer named "Jane Davis." "Today is my first full day on this account as Jane and I found that I spent most of the time on social media on this account as opposed to my personal account [...] There's always people to interact with on here and it's just so fun to be a Karen."
Read the original article on Insider