BBC - my love hate relationship

"Karens" - and why it's sexist

BBC - my love hate relationship

I'm what you might call a long standing suffering defender of the BBC, having grown up watching all sorts of BBC produced television and radio and being spoon fed a daily dose of BBC News Online (it being forever the main source of news for the family). I've watched a copious number of superb documentaries and read incredibly insightful feature pieces, got angry over Brexit, and tweeted numerous times over stupid people on Question Time.

However, recently I’ve felt a huge backlash amongst the middle class over the BBC. For years the BBC presented the news and shied away from being controversial: it literally produced funny comedies, dramas, and most importantly the news in an impartial way, often under dangerous circumstances under the cover of darkness and flying bullets scarring the midnight setting. So impartial that it hit the golden rule of being hated by everyone collectively together with the two parallel phrases “the BBC is definitely left field” and “the BBC is definitely right-wing propaganda”. This rule maintained an element of trust – they’re probably just reporting the figures and keeping Government to account, on behalf of the people.

Now, however, the BBC seems to have adopted a mission statement, admittedly an admirable one, of producing vast quantities of content that highlights incredibly important news. Unfortunately, they’re doing it in an incredibly patronising way that may seem normal within the walls of the metropolitan area of London but is quite odd for those of us that are lucky enough to live outside the London Borough of Woke.

The BBC Sounds Team - one of the best units for producing good quality content might I add - put out a rather distasteful social media guide to “How can white women not be Karens?” Now, the point of the social media release was rather on point and tackled a major problem by explaining how white women are in a relatively privileged position in comparison to their black female counterparts (which I’m sure we can all agree is a problem), but what really is quite horrifying about this is the BBC using language like “Karens”.

BBC Sounds, Twitter Post "How can white women not be Karens?"

If you don’t know what a “Karen” is, it is “the stereotypical name associated with rude, obnoxious and insufferable middle-aged white women”, According to Urban Dictionary. This combined with someone that is entitled and becomes rude when that entitlement is questioned. Now, it’s easy to find this amusing - we all know someone that always demands money off their restaurant meal but I find it particularly worrying that the BBC are using the word “Karen” because often, if a man is entitled and assertive - they’ll get what they want and they’ll just be assertive - a positive. When a woman does this, she’s a “Karen”.

An example recently close to home. We’re having some services fitted to the new house we are building and they (the men doing the work) told mum that it wasn’t possible to do this today because they had forgotten a piece of equipment. She made a fuss and got nowhere. When Dad rang up and complained, he got what he wanted. That is sexism because Dad was assertive and everything the above was but when mum did it she was a “Karen”.

The BBC are actively using language that stereotypes women as soon as they are assertive, otherwise known as becoming “rude”, “obnoxious”, and “insufferable”. This is commonly known as sexism, even within the London Borough of Woke. For all the progress on women’s equality, this perhaps represents an axe to the movement. It’s rather comparable to the use of language in 19th century novels, whereby, if a woman had an opinion and asserted herself, she is instantly labelled in a negative light and her opinions no longer matter, hidden behind a facade of how women should act.

It seems somewhat odd for the BBC to be standing up for one minority whilst using language that degrades another - much larger but also downtrodden - sect of society that also receives unfair treatment at the hands of the elite.

Further, I believe I stand with a rather large section of society when I say, though I find these educational videos to be important, I’m a bit bored of having them parroted at me and being constantly patronised by people in London. Being told “you’re the problem”, when all most of us have ever done is their best and still not earn enough to feed their kids, by the state broadcaster. I am but one who would appreciate it if the BBC would go back to just presenting the news and making life a little more comfortable, producing some more EastEnders and documentaries on the history of the Oak tree.

If the BBC is not careful it will lose its position in the UK media world, as white middle class people just say, “fancy listening to Times Radio instead of Radio 4? They don’t have a go at me every time I listen in… they just talk about the news and stuff.” The BBC is being arrogant if it believes the majority of society will sit and be told they are rubbish constantly and still continue to watch, listen, and read. A new softer approach must be taken that does not declare war on “Karens” and instead tackles the real institutionalised issues of racism, often stemming from as early as Primary School.

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Tom Guyton-Day
Tom Guyton-Day
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Tom Guyton-Day

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