Data Shows That People Don’t Want to Name Their Kids ‘Karen’ Anymore
It has to be hard to have your name turn into a name that is often used as an insult. We know several people named Karen, and every time we hear the name Karen used as an insult, we hurt a little bit for our perfectly nice friends and family who have to live with this name.
The name Karen used to be a lot more popular than it is today. Perhaps part of that is because names change in popularity over the years, but we can’t help but think that when a name is used as an insult it’s bound to be less popular among parents.
Back in 1965, almost 33,000 baby girls in the United States were named Karen. Fast forward to 2020, and only 325 baby girls were named Karen. While the name has decreased in popularity over the years, it has decreased in popularity even more rapidly over the past few years.
Vox talked to one of their writers who happens to be named Karen to find out what it’s like to be named Karen in a world where being a Karen is often perceived as a bad thing. First of all, it’s important to note that the negative stereotype of a Karen is a basic white woman who asks to speak to the manger. Karen Han is not white, yet because of her name, she explained that some people on Twitter assume she’s white. Han explained that being considered a Karen because that’s her name is quite “annoying.”
Another woman named Karen told Vox that the Karen stereotype makes her a little bit more self-conscious and motivates her to try not to fit that mold. For example, she explained that one time at a restaurant she told her husband to speak to the manager, and immediately afterwards she realized what she had said. She chose to laugh at herself and joked, “Oh, my gosh, I’m such a Karen!” She explained, “I try to be funny about it. I think it’s a joke about how often the things we think are important, or the things we get all worked up about are just not that serious — especially given the situations other people have to deal with.”
Unfortunately, not everyone can be as lighthearted about having a name that’s used as an insult. Sometimes name calling can be really hurtful and negatively impact someone’s mental health. Dr. I.M. Nick is a nomenclature scholar and the former president of the American Name Society. She explained, “Name-based prejudices can leave lasting and deep psychological scars.”
Do you know anyone who is named Karen? If so, does she act like a Karen? Would you ever consider naming your daughter Karen?