The name “Karen” is quickly losing popularity as a baby name according to the popular website BabyNames.com.
Baby Names Podcast co-host Jennifer Moss said this of the formerly hugely popular name:
“In the past six months, we’ve had zero people adding it to their favorite name list [on the site]. It goes to show that there’s definitely a stigma attached to the name. We had people adding it until six to seven months ago.”
But why was the name shut down by society? According to Moss, credit is due to names going in and out of fashion but also, due to the popular moniker, “Karen,” to describe white women calling the cops on people of color for minor problems.
The name was massively popular for thirty years ago from the 1940s to the 1970s, only dropping out of the top 200 most popular names in America in 2008.
It should be noted however it was already declining in popularity prior to being associated with white supremacy and white feminism.
It is alleged that a massive part of the drop in popularity of the name can actually be linked to a Dane Cook sketch that aired back in 2005 that talked about the “Karen” of your friend group – the one that no one likes – along with a popular series of Reddit posts that one user wrote about his ex-wife, per The Conversation and She Knows.
To add the popular usage of the word to describe people like Amy Cooper, who called the cops on Christian Cooper (a black birder in Central Park) and you have what Moss describes as “mass association.”
Which, is what happens when everyone has an understanding or agreement of the meaning of a name — like Ellen or Adele but it’s not positive.
And while it may be a while before Karen becomes popular again — in the interim, maybe the Karens of today should go by a new nickname…
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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