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Chasing Jupiter Podcast

Chasing Jupiter is a podcast focused on cultural and social issues, each guest is

invited to bring an interesting perspective to contemporary issues. In this episode,

host Naomi and Nikki discuss the Karen meme and the phenomena which is the

weaponization of white femininity.

This episode starts off with a playful examination of the cultural significance of

the Karen meme. Although everyone started using this phrase in 2020, it’s

actually something that almost all people of colour come up against in their daily

lives: the weaponization of white womanhood. At first Naomi and Nikki seem to

have a fair amount in common - two Black African girls from immigrant

backgrounds studying at Northern universities and both staunch feminists. As the

conversation went on, they go on to bond over their experiences in HE - what it’s

like being a minority within a minority, the near jealousy we have of students who

can just assimilate or conduct their studies seemingly unphased by institutional

and structural racism, or rather why they can’t seem to ignore it. Understanding

this is an act of self-care for some people, and then delving into how they

sometimes felt they weren’t afforded such options.

Nikki goes on to share experiences of her final year of university – one tainted by the racism she experienced at the hands of her white peers. And the realisation that people she

had once thought to be friends could also be part of the problem- time and time

again they weaponized their femininity against her and taking advantage of their

heightened proximity to patriarchal ideals of femininity by virtue of being white

women. After numerous microaggressions such as calling her scary and awarding

her the prize of “sassiest fresher”, the bullying she faced with her sports team

became too much, and she felt forced to leave a space in which she would have

been one of two persons of colour out of a club of around 100.

Issues with her housemates meant that her student house wasn’t the safe space that she needed. Candid confrontations constantly spun to frame her as the aggressor. For her, the

use of tone-policing was particularly hurtful. This was also worsened by memories

and trauma of racist and sexual assault become even more pronounced under the

pressure of final year assessments and exams. Higher education isn’t an easy ride

for anyone, but Naomi and Nikki felt that it was made that bit harder by their

politicised identities as Black women.

Listen to the episode here:

https://www.buzzsprout.com/1049074/4686959-karens-a-tale-of-weaponising-

white-womanhood

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