Beckies: A Differential Diagnosis

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Beckies and Karens are how others view females with strong feelings of entitlement. A male combined with a one of these names can be referred to as “Ken and Becky” or “Ken and Karen”. Googling “Ken and Becky” seem to lead to a lot of shops, restaurants and bars with that name.

Becky Sharp became a 1935 movie starring Miriam Hopkins in the title role.

Becky Sharp was a character in Thackeray’s Vanity Fair (1848), the possible origin of this sense of the name “Becky”. Set against Napoleon’s battle of Waterloo, she was a social climber, who eventually could not get the social status she wanted, and ended up sick, broke, and without friends. In the process, she also ruined the lives of many others who were close to her. Becky was enough of a character in her own right, that RKO made a movie of her in 1935, and was historical in that it was the first feature film to use technicolor.

Jennifer Schulte, a white woman known as “BBQ Becky” (April 29, 2018) had been held for a psychiatric examination after threatening to call the police on black people having a barbecue in a designated barbecue area in a public park in Oakland, California. One of the barbecuers, Michelle Snider, caught and filmed the entire 25-minute incident on her cellphone, and posted it on YouTube.

The B-movie Becky (2020), title role of the 13 year-old girl, whom The Guardian  describes as a “stroppy teenager” and, by the end of the movie, as a “pint-sized death dealer”, played by Lulu Wilson. The Guardian gives the movie 2/5 stars.

The difference between a “Becky” and a “Karen”: a differential diagnosis

Both Beckies and Karens are beset by a strong sense of entitlement, but express their sense of privelege differently. Beckies manifest their class consciousness by thinking they can push strangers around, while Karens exppress it by being aggressively rude to volunteers or hired help. Karens are the ones feared at your local Starbucks or Customer Service. It is as if you can think of Karens are a more extreme version of a Becky.

It must be stated that I am careful to say a sense of privelege, since they are often just delusional.

On the other side of the coin, a misdiagnosis of a Karen or Becky can be seen as a form of misogyny or class prejudice.

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