‘Karen’ plummets in popularity as a baby name in 2020

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It’s hard out here for law-abiding citizens named Karen.

Over the last several years instances of ‘Karens gone wild’ have been on the uptick in news headlines, with white women all over the country being assigned the moniker for racist antics – big and small.

Now it appears the social justice implications of that name have caused parents to shy away from it.

(Adobe stock photo)

According to the Huff Post, new data from the Social Security Administration suggests ‘Karen’ has fallen from grace with new parents in 2020, ranking No. 831 in popularity in the United States for female baby names last year. This is the lowest ranking the previously popular ‘Karen’ has ever had on the list since 1932.

Only a measly 439 babies were named Karen in 2019 and in 2020 that number dropped to 325. This is a stark contrast to 1965, when Karen was at its peak popularity, with almost 33,000 given that name.

“It’s usually used as a pejorative for middle-aged white women,” explained Matt Schimkowitz, a senior editor at Know Your Meme, an online meme encyclopedia, said.

“It’s almost like they have an entitlement, where they’re kind of lording their privilege over another.”

While the official origins of Karen being used as a pejorative are unclear, Insider reports that popular speculation is that it was popularized due to a joke from stand-up comedian Dane Cook.

In his 2005 comedy special, Cook talked about how every group of friends has someone in it that everyone complains about when that person isn’t around.

“Every group has a Karen, and she is always a bag of douche,” Cook said in the routine. “And when she’s not around, you just look at each other and say, ‘God, Karen, she’s such a douchebag!'”

Other’s speculate “Karen” being used as a form of slander comes from the 2004 cult classic Mean Girls, in which one of the characters exclaims, “Oh, my God, Karen — you can’t just ask people why they’re white.” 

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