Monday, September 13, 2021

KAREN

If your name is Karen, I am so sorry.  It is a lovely name, actually one my neice answers to.  Sadly it has become almost a swear word. According to the NY Times, in 1965, it was the third-most-popular baby name in the United States. In 2018, it was the 635th — and today it’s even less popular. How did Karens fall so far?

 Some think it started in 2005 During a Dane Cook Comedy Special when he said, "Every group has a Karen and she is always a bag of douche." 

Now every time a woman is caught behaving badly, entitled, or racist, she is nicknamed "Karen." There is the Central Park Karen (she was one of the first I remember). She called the police on a man in Central Park that was bird watching while black. 

Then came  Whitefish Karen, Kroger Karen and San Francisco Karen.  The latest is the Anti-mask Karen from Nebraska who coughed repeatedly on a masked woman and mocked her in a grocery store.  Fortunately, that Karen lost her job when the video hit the news.  

I really hate what the so called "Karens" are doing but also feel badly that the good, kind Karens are being painted with a dirty brush. 

I got a taste of what it is like to have your name attached to unkind people when Permit Patty called the police on a young girl selling water without a permit. Boy was I glad when that Patty kind of died down. 

When I was a child, my family called me Patsy as a diminutive of Patricia.  It all happened in high school when I heard some refer to another in a derogatory manner, "Boy, she is a real Patsy." There was no way that was complimentary so I checked around to see what that referred to.  I learned that a "Patsy" is a push over, someone easily manipulated, an easy target. Pretty much a fool.   OK, that ended my reign as Patsy. I insisted from then on to being called Pat and eventually Patti.

Now I wonder what the real, nice, kind Karens of the world can do. Go by their middle name? While it is catchy, I really do feel for the sweet, normal Karens out there. 

Is your name Karen or someone you know has that name? How are they handling it?  My brother said his daughter was unaware of the connection which is probably the best way to be.

43 comments :

  1. I have had some strange reactions to my name over the years, but it has yet to pop up in any kind of trope. Well, at least outside my own family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Olga,
      As long as you don't go viral I guess family is OK:))

      Delete
  2. Patti, I'll be honest with you--before I opened your very interesting blog, when I saw the title alone in my blog-feed, I thought "Uh-oh, Patti encountered a real 'Karen'...gosh I don't like that name branding, I'm surprised Patti is using it." I should've known better!! Anyway, complete agreement with you. I grew up (and then worked) with several Karens, pretty much all of them lovely people. Well, my name has never been used in a derogatory fashion, but back in the 90s when "Doogie Howser MD" became a hit, I was addressed by that by EVERYONE for 2-3 years. At least I never "pulled a Doogie"!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doug,
      I was a huge fan of Doogie Howser so I imagine it was never meant derogatorily. Got me curious, Googled "pulled a Doogie" and have yet to find out what that implies. Hope it is flattering.

      Delete
  3. I have a Monica friend that was not excited about the Monica Lewinsky scandal but I know very few Karens.

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    1. Sue,
      Ouch, I'll bet she isn't excited about the new series that is bringing it all up again.

      Delete
  4. I seem to have missed the whole "Karen" trope. I remember seeing headlines about it in the newspaper and on Facebook, but when I saw your blog title it didn't make me think of it at all. I am so relieved. I can't imagine being named Karen in this age of absurdities. All the good Karens of the world need to rise up and reclaim their name.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. robin,
      You all don't watch TV so that helps. You are right, I think a revolt is called for.

      Delete
  5. Oh, I think Karen is a beautiful name. My good friend is named Karen, and I recently invited her to my home for lunch. She is a retired Judge so she is super smart. Love that name! VP Mike Pence's wife's name is Karen. She is a school teacher and painter, so she is up there with the stars. Karen has a good connotation for me. Beautiful name.

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    Replies
    1. gigi,
      I'm with you. I have never met one that I wouldn't call friend.

      Delete
  6. I also have a wonderful niece named Karen. She is kind and caring and totally a good person. I have only become aware of this distasteful use of the name and I want to cry.

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    Replies
    1. Annie,
      I know, I hate it when "name branding" becomes vogue. To me it is up there with racism.

      Delete
  7. The male counterpart of the Karen is Chad, which happens to be my son's name. It hasn't bothered him but then are less frequent shaming of men than of women for their behaviour.

    It's unfortunate that this has happened, as you say, especially for the real Karen's who don't deserve the bad press.

    I've only known one or two women named Karen in my life, and neither of them were particularly nice people...I still wouldn't tar all Karen's with the same brush.

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    Replies
    1. I didn't know that about Chad so I looked it up. Goodness. Here you name a child a perfectly fine name and years later it becomes a derogatory term. Glad it hasn't hurt your Chad.

      Delete
  8. I have a niece named Karen...the conversation has never come up.

    What about the name Jezebel?

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    Replies
    1. Anni,
      Got me curious and I looked up Jezebel to see if it is still a common name. I was surprised that actually .0004% still name their child that. Ouch.

      Delete
  9. I went to school with a Karen. She was a snob but smart, Valedictorian of our class. That was 1968. Wow, I'm old!💖

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan,
      Naw, you are still a baby. I graduated in 57.

      Delete
  10. I know several real Karens, and they are just wonderful people. I am sorry their name got hijacked to connote "mean." It will pass, I'm sure.

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    Replies
    1. Djan,
      Hopefully it will but I still wouldn't name my child that today. By the time they grow up though, it will probably be a new name.

      Delete
  11. Patti - Peg here - using husbands laptop which won't allow me to change his name from this. Even when I sign in!! But you got me thinking - I don't know a single Karen. Whew.

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    1. Peg,
      When I saw UNKNOWN, I thought here we go with spam. Was delighted to see it was you. Surprised with all you have going on you took the time to comment. Thanks.

      Delete
  12. I have a Facebook friend named Karen who is really upset about her name being used that way. I don't use that expression and wish people would describe behavior instead of simply labelling.

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    1. Margaret,
      I am so sorry for your FB friend. That was what I was wondering. How were the real Karens taking this bashing? It is so unkind and hopefully it will pass.

      Delete
  13. I had a good friend in Illinois named Karen and I have a good friend in Hawaii named Karen. Both were/are the kindest people ever. I feel awful for them that the name Karen has somehow devolved into being something terrible. I sure hope nobody starts doing something repulsive with Kay. I have a lovely friend in Seattle and I’ve got wonderful you in Arkansas named Patti so I sure hope that name stays untouched too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kay,
      I know it is like being blamed for something you would never do.
      Thanks you. For a while my name took a hit with the "Permit Patty" but luckily it didn't get much traction.

      Delete
    2. Wow! I've never even heard of Permit Patty. I just looked it up. Thank goodness you're safe.

      Delete
  14. I've known a few (nice) Karens and have a neice named Karen. It really does have a bad connotation right now. Hopefully it will die down.

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    1. Rita,
      I sure hope so for the sake of all the really nice Karens out there. Just not fair.

      Delete
  15. I don't know any Karens but in general I would hate it if my name had been turned into an almost swear word to denote a personality that I am not.

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    1. Jean,
      That is what is getting to me with this name branding. It tarnishes total innocents. And the ones doing the bad things aren't even named Karen.

      Delete
  16. I know a Karen who changed her Facebook name for more that a year, but has just recently reclaimed her name. She thinks the "Karen" trend is fading. I think the whole trend is very unfortunate, and basically unkind.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Linda,
      I thought it might be fading when this new and recent one cropped up. I feel so for your friend Karen. It is sad she had to change her FB name. That is how far this has gone.

      Delete
  17. I knew a Karen when I was younger and where I am living now there is a Karin two flats away. My oldest daughter went to school with a Karen, a very bright young lady who was Head Prefect and went on to study some field of science that I can't remember.

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    1. River,
      You are like most of us. No one I know has had a bad experience with a "Karen." It is a shame the connotation the name now has.

      Delete
  18. I have not heard this ... one of my very best friends is a Karen and she is smart, warm and cares a lot for others.
    However, I was/am named Virginia and early in High School they loved to chant this wherever I was seen ..."Virgin for short, but not for long"!!

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    1. Ginnie,
      Oh my, never thought the name Virginia could be used like that. Hope they did it because they liked you.

      Delete
  19. My wife is a Karen...she is not happy about this but if she complains she would be a "Karen!" 've always called her Kare...so

    I love Patty, especially if there is Hamburger involved.

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    1. joeh,
      I feel for Mrs. C. You have bypassed it with out even trying.
      Thanks, me too only more so with peppermint.

      Delete
  20. I like that name too. I only know one Karen, and she is a lovely, caring person.

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    1. Mage,
      I think 99.99% are just like that. Nice people. Shame to color them all with a bad image.

      Delete
  21. I have a friend called Karen, and she's a lovely lady. I have seen the memes featuring "Karen" but I think it's more of a younger person's "thing" so hasn't really featured in the circles I mix in ... yet!

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  22. Peppermint Pattie/Patty has been a favorite Snoopy cartoon character of mine. I was unaware of what was happening with the name "Karen" until reading your account here. I've known a Karen or two in past years, I think, but none in my life currently. Hopefully, most people won't buy into that negativity. I can think of some other names that have been discounted and then in recent years I've noticed they've become popularly used again. I expect the social networks I don't use that seem to influence so many amplify the name abuse. No doubt the young people are especially vulnerable as you experienced and most of us might have been susceptible to feeling also during those years of our lives. Of course, some never outgrow such insecurities.

    ReplyDelete

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