It’s a tough time to be named Karen.
In case you’ve been living under a rock and have never been on social media, a “Karen” is not a nice person. Urban Dictionary has the best definitions of exactly what a Karen is.
“Karen is a pejorative term used in the United States and other English-speaking countries for a woman perceived as entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is appropriate or necessary,” says Urban Dictionary.
Another great definition says this: “Middle aged woman, typically blonde, makes solutions to others’ problems an inconvenience to her although she isn’t even remotely affected. … Drives either an SUV or a minivan. Can be found complaining to managers at either Burger King, or any McDonald’s with a play area. Drinks crappy wine with her other non-working mom friends at book club and posts stupid memes on Instagram.”
And one last dig: “Karens also own a variety of Walmart running shoes which they wear 24/7.”
But according to a federal agency, new parents are shunning the name in droves.
“According to the Social Security Administration, the name ‘Karen’ dropped 171 spots in baby name rankings for girls in 2020, coming in as the 831st most popular name,” KUTV reports.
The name is also at its lowest ranking since 1927.
“That means in 2020, there were just 325 baby girls named Karen, a huge drop from the 33,000 baby girls named Karen in 1965,” the station wrote. “The SSA only tracks the top 1,000 baby names for girls and the top 1,000 baby names for boys. The first time ‘Karen’ appears on the list was in 1906 when it was the 940th most popular name.”
With everyone now armed with a cell phone, videos of Karens going off have gone viral in social media. “One infamous incident on May 25 involved Amy Cooper who accused a Black man of threatening her in Central Park. She was caught on video calling the police on him as she fabricated the accusations. The story made national headlines and Cooper faced criminal charges for her actions,” ABC-10 reports.
Cooper was later described as “the Queen of Karens” in The New York Times.
In September 2020, San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton introduced the “CAREN Act,” the acronym for “Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act.” The act sought to amend police code making it against the law to give a false report based on a person’s race, religion, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
The SSA has compiled data on names since 1879, but many people didn’t register with the agency before 1937, so names before that year are not included in the data, which you can see here.
Joseph Curl covered the White House for a dozen years and ran the Drudge Report for four years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @JosephCurl.