The owner of an Edmonton flower shop is giving out free flowers to women named Karen, a promotion that’s inspired by the infamous Karen meme.
Karen Ferguson, owner of Flowers on 50th, said she and her sister thought of the idea when trying to come up with something to put on their sign after Thanksgiving.
“It’s a play on all the funny memes that are out there,” Ferguson, 48, said. “My name’s Karen and we’re always laughing at all the jokes that get sent.”
The Karen archetype is a middle-class white woman who wants to speak to the manager and wears a bob similar to that of reality TV mom Kate Gosselin.
The term is often used to describe women who embody white privilege. Amy Cooper, the white woman who called police on the Black Central Park birder Christian Cooper, was referred to as a Karen.
Over the summer, several viral tweets and think pieces floated the idea that using the term Karen is sexist and classist.
“Women should also be free to point out when a trope has become mired in sexism without being accused of being humourless old shrews, i.e., Karens,” wrote Hadley Freeman in the Guardian.
In a rebuttal, the Washington Post’s global opinions editor Karen Attiah, who is Black, wrote, “In America, white women are often believed and protected at all costs, even at the expense of Black lives.
“Becky and Karen memes and jokes should be understood in this context, part of a long tradition to use humour to try to cope with the realities of white privilege and anti-Blackness.”
Ferguson said she’s not offended by the Karen meme, nor was she fully aware of all of its connotations when she created the promotion.
She said the promo “blew up,” with many Karens visiting her store.
“It’s been super fun,” she said.
Dozens of women named Karen shared their appreciation on the store’s Facebook page.
“Cheers to the real-life Karens, who are not anything like the people others are portraying us to be!,” wrote one woman.
The promotion, which allows anyone named Karen to get a free $10 bouquet, is on until October 22.
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