Karen's Mom Wants to Speak to the Manager of the Internet: Stop Making My Daughter's Name a Meme
Finding the perfect name for your L.O. is a big, hairy deal. You might need to consider cultural or religious factors, what the grandparents are going to say, what schoolyard bullies might say, and of course what you want. But you can think about your child's name from all different angles and still come across an issue long after you've made up your mind and signed a birth certificate. For instance, no parent who chose the name Alexa before 2015 knew their daughter's name would become synonymous with Amazon's Echo. And a mom on Reddit had no idea that her daughter's name—Karen—was associated with a disparaging internet meme.
On the Parenting subreddit, writing under the handle Thebabykaren, the aggravated mom shared, "My daughter will be 6 this October. I always knew that I wanted to name my daughter after my aunt who passed away back in the early 2000s. We debated whether we should use it as a first or middle name and ended up using it as a first name. I loved that it was so well-known, but so uncommon on girls born in 2013. It was the best of both worlds. It wasn't going to be misspelled but she would still most likely be the only Karen in her class. My older child is named Malcolm so we thought Karen had the same appeal."
She continued, "I don't know when the Karen meme started but it's all I have seen for the last year or so. Any time a woman is acting crazy, everyone tells her she's acting like a Karen." The prevalence of the meme hit home for the original poster (OP) when her husband told a coworker he had to go pick up Karen, and the colleague laughed. "I know this isn't a big deal, but I hope it blows over by the time she is old enough to understand," she concluded.
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The Karen meme she refers to supposedly originated in 2016, when a Tumblr user made fun of a female character in a Nintendo Switch commercial who brings the gaming console to a rooftop party, according to KnowYourMeme.com. Now, there's even a subreddit called F**k You Karen, filled with memes devoted to the internet archetype of Karen: an "antagonistic female character... an irritating, entitled woman."
Parents chimed in to reassure the OP that others have had similar concerns around their kiddo's name. "At least you didn't name her Isis," a Redditor named Mannings4head wrote. "My son has a friend named after the Egyptian goddess but she introduced herself as 'Isis, like the terrorist group' when I first met her. Most names end up 'ruined' at some point. I have a niece named Alexa who can vouch for that."
Another commenter named PupperoniPoodle shared that the OP shouldn't worry too much about the Karen meme. "I bet it will blow over by then," they wrote. "Also, I have a few dear ones named Karen, and they are not remotely connected to the meme in my head. It's like there's a spot in my brain for this specific person whose name happens to be Karen, and then there's the concept of the meme, and I have to work to realize, 'Oh shoot, but not like our Karen!' Does that make sense?"
TheHatOntheCat agreed, "Well sure, I don't think many people (anyone?) actually takes the meme seriously. It's not like people think people named Karen are actually any certain way. Or Kevins, or Brians for that matter."
Another Redditor with the handle banditsinthenight encouraged the Thebabykaren to "teach your kids to OWN THAT SHIT," pointing out that "there is a PhD kicking ass in the world named Marijuana Pepsi and no I am not making that up. Google it. She owns it. She knows its unusual, but she didn't change her name for the world. She is proud. Teach your daughter to be proud of who she is and ignore the haters and she will be a QUEENNNN."
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Here's hoping the OP shrugs off any worries about the meme causing issues for her baby girl. After all, the internet is always going to be filled with nonsense. Not only should Karen bring to mind the OP's aunt, but it's a Danish name that means "pure." Those roots go much further back—and are sure to last longer—than any meme could.