Karen: the baby name no parent wants to use anymore

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

If you've been on social media recently, you'll know that being called a 'Karen' is not a good thing. And as far as baby names go, Karen is officially on the demise.

Pop culture and internet slang have effectively killed off the name. 

But how exactly did the moniker transform from a popular and common name to an insult? 

It's been hard to pinpoint what exactly makes someone a 'Karen' - and why the name was chosen in the first place, but experts at Nameberry have weighed in on why the name has such a stigma surrounding it. 

Recently, the name Karen has been turned into a meme, one that has trademark personality traits that represent a "hostile and entitled white woman".

'Karen's' usually are the people who want to speak with the manager, are in a position of privilege and in the memes and stories shared, always outraged about something - usually a reason that's not justifiable.

More recently, social media has been sharing 'Karen's' that are acting in a racist manor (such as Amy Cooper who called the police on a black man bird watching in Central Park) or furiously refusing to wear face masks in public to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Straying off as the 'can I speak to the manager meme' the flooded social media, it then evolved to someone with a name - that name being Karen. It's even gained a subreddit thread called ---youkaren, where people post their stories complaining about these archetypes when they've come across them.

Karen was a popular name in the 1960s - peaking in popularity in 1965 but has steadily made its way to the least popular names since. As the name was the most popular in the 1960s, most women named Karen would be middle aged in 2020.

Nameberry co-founder and CEO Pamela Redmond spoke with PEOPLE, and told them that Karen was on the decline even before the name was dragged down by social media, explaining that some names are "deeply" associated with certain ages and Karen is a 'middle aged white woman's name'.

"Shirley is in her 80s, Jennifer is in her 40s and Harper is not yet 18" she explains, adding "and Karen is perennially 55 - even if she isn't."

'Karen' is a name more associated with middle aged womenNot many people are choosing to name their child Karen Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Although it's not rising in ranking on the most popular names, it is getting more attention than usual - even if it's not for the right reasons.

According to Redmond, Karen is getting "three times as much attention right now as it got at this time last year".

"Usually on Nameberry, that attention translates to babies receiving the name, though in this case I am sure it's going in the opposite direction and Karen is going to become one of those names that no parent wants to give their child," she said.

It seems Karen, the name, is all set to become extinct.