The end of the Karen? Fewer newborns were named in 2020 than any year since 1932, after it became an insult to white women who dish out public assaults
- Karen dropped in popularity from 660th ranked name to 831st last year
- Only 325 babies were named Karen, representing 0.019% of total female births
- The name peaked in popularity in 1965, when 32,873 Karens were born
- ‘Karen’ became a pejorative term associated with women who fit
- Later was associated with white women harassing black people
Last year, fewer American babies were named “Karen” than any year since 1932, after the name became a pejorative slur for white women who fit in public.
Data released by the Social Security Administration shows that only 325 newborns were named Karen last year, representing 0.019 percent of the total number of female births in 2020.
Karen, who had been declining in popularity for years, dropped from the 660th most popular female name to number 831, reaching the 13th steepest drop among all female baby names.
The name Karen peaked in popularity in 1965, when 32,873 Karens were born, representing 1.799 percent of all female births.
Fewer American Babies Were Called “Karen” Last Year Than Any Year Since 1932
‘Soho Karen’ Miya Ponsetto was charged after she falsely accused a black teen of stealing her iPhone from a Manhattan hotel lobby last year
The origins of “Karen” as an insult are murky, but by 2017, memes mocking women by the name had gone viral on Reddit, the earliest known of a user mocking his ex-wife Karen.
Some also say that the Karen slur comes from the black community, after a history of various names being used to mock unreasonable white women.
Before the Civil War, black people used the term “Miss Ann” for arrogant white women, while “Becky” had a similar connotation in the 1990s.
The most frequently mentioned characteristic of the ‘Karen’ is the desire to ‘talk to the manager’ of an establishment.
Heather Suzanne Woods, a meme researcher at Kansas State University, shared: The Atlantic Ocean that the characteristics of a Karen are ‘right, selfishness, a desire to complain’.
A Karen “demands that the world exists by her standards with little respect for others, and she is willing to risk or humiliate others to achieve her goals,” Woods said.
The term went viral after the “Central Park Karen” incident on May 25, 2020.
The term ‘Karen’ as a slur for white women went viral after the ‘Central Park Karen’ incident on May 25, 2020
In the incident, Amy Cooper was seen in a video falsely telling police that a black birdwatcher threatened her while holding her dog’s leash so tightly that the pup was lifted off the ground.
Cooper was charged with a felony for filing a false police report, but the charges were dropped after she completed a diversion program.
She is currently suing her former employer, Franklin Templeton, because the company fired her without conducting a fair investigation and falsely portrayed her as racist.
“Karen” quickly became a fashionable insult to white people who described any behavior deemed obnoxious or racist, even to “male Karens.”
During the pandemic, it was also associated with people attacking mask mandates or expressing doubts about vaccines.
According to the SSA, the most popular baby names last year were Liam for boys and Olivia for girls.
Top 10 Baby Names of 2020