What walk Karen mean?

Karen is a pejorative slang term for an obnoxious, angry, entitled, and also often racism middle-aged white woman who provides her privilege to get her method or police other people’s behaviors.

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As featured in memes, Karen is usually stereotyped as having actually a blonde bob haircut, questioning to speak come retail and also restaurant supervisors to voice complaints or do demands, and being an anti-vaxx , Generation X football mom.

In 2020, Karen spread together a label supplied to call out white women who were recorded in famous videos engaging in what room widely viewed as racist acts.

Karen was one of the peak trends in 2020. Read our 2020 indigenous of The Year write-up to watch why.


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Related words

ok boomer, farewell Felicia, basic, white girl, white privilege, millennials, Becky

wherein does Karen come from?



Karen join a tendency on the web in the 2010s of utilizing a very first name come make fun of specific kinds the people. A Becky, for example, is a stereotype because that a “basic” young, white woman, if a Chad, in various other corners the the internet, stand in because that a cocky, young “dudebro.”

But, why the name Karen? Karen has actually widely been credited to black Twitter in the 2010s. Another suggestion is the it comes from a 2005 bit by Dane cook called “The girlfriend Nobody Likes.” (The girlfriend was called Karen.) an additional explanation is that it comes from the personality Karen in the 2004 movie Mean Girls, who’s the topic of the renowned quote: “Oh mine God, Karen, friend can’t just ask who why they’re white.” It’s even been put forth that Karen comes from the even previously 1990 film Goodfellas, in which among the characters is named Karen.

Whatever the origin of the slang, the surname Karen, apparently, is popularly believed of as a generic-seeming name for a middle-aged white woman of a certain generation. Follow to Social security data, Karen was indeed the 4th most well-known name because that newborn girl in the 1960s, peaking at #3 in 1965.

Record the the insult Karen shows up as beforehand as September 2016 once a Tumblr user, joematar, made fun of a promo for Nintendo move in which a white woman (appearing to it is in in her late 20s or early on 30s) bring the gaming maker to a party. The user describes this supposed kill-joy together Karen: “Oh shit, Karen lugged her stupid Nintendo thing to the party again. We’re DRINKING, Karen. We’re having actually CONVERSATIONS.”

The character was further developed in December 2017 thanks to a subreddit devoted to mocking the imagine Karen (somewhat prefer Cook’s “The friend Nobody Likes” bit). Tropes that developed around Karen below were the she is an annoying (and always annoyed) middle-aged, suburban, minivan-driving white, divorced mother of poorly behaved guys (of who she has custody) who has actually a so-called “speak to the manager” haircut.


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This haircut is a short, angled blonde bob, sometimes called a “mom haircut.” “Speak to the manager” refers to escalating complaints or needs from retail or restaurant workers to their managers—a stereotypical actions of Karen. The “Speak come the Manager Haircut” meme has been about since 2014. In September 2018, the “Speak come the Manager” haircut meme merged with Karen when it to be uploaded to the Karen subreddit by user vidoardes.

Beginning in at least 2017, Karens have to be closely connected with infant Boomers. Some millennials and members that Generation Z have referred to as out boomers because that being close-minded and behind-the-times, especially when it pertains to unprogressive views on such things as gender, sexuality, and youth society more typically (such as the viral “Kidz Bop Karen” woman video clip videotaped in a roadway confrontation).

Spreading virtual in at an early stage November 2019 was a joke the Generation X is the Karen Generation (the surname being connected with world born in between 1964–85). This came on the heels the OK boomer, a slang expression (and viral phenomenon) dismissing opinions and attitudes associated with infant Boomers (especially white male members the this generation). This motivated some reporters to investigate intergenerational dispute on society media further. BuzzFeed ran a item on November 14, referred to as “Gen Z is phone call Gen X ‘The Karen Generation’,” citing some task on Twitter and TikTok.

13yo: Ok, boomer.

Me: because that the last time, I'm Gen X. Her insults have actually no power over me.

13yo: Ok, Karen.

That was a little low.

— Shannon Carpenter (
HossmanAtHome) November 16, 2019

Karen further spread in 2020 between the coronavirus pandemic and protests for racial justice. White females in famous videos—engaging in what to be criticized together selfish or racist behavior—were shamed together Karens. The mayor of ras Vegas, because that example, was dubbed a Karen when, in a TV interview, she moved to reopen casinos without society distancing in spite of warnings otherwise. One more notable instance was “Central Park Karen,” the epithet for a white mrs who called the police ~ above a Black guy who to be birdwatching in the Manhattan park, falsely accusing that of threaten her.

Also in 2020, renowned discussions online considered the surname for a male Karen. Many human being put forth an in similar way generic white masculine names connected with baby Boomers or Generation X, such as RichardKevin, and Ken. ~ above the one hand, that no masculine name has actually quite taken host (male Karens being dubbed male Karens) says that, while Karen calls the end racism, some misogyny is constantly at work in the slang. As result of these misogynistic size of Karen, top top the other hand, a associated topic was whether Karen to be a slur—a worry that many dismissed as it erases white privilege and systemic racism from the social equation. Karen is indeed a very loaded, facility slang ax that proceeds to evolve.

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During summer 2020, the hatchet Karencore got some traction together an ironic “appreciation” of the distinctive fashion and also aesthetics (-core) often connected with the Karen stereotype. Karencore contains things such together the “speak to the manager” haircut, minivans, rhinestones, “Live, Laugh, Love” posters, and also Spotify playlists consists of 2000s-era pop/pop-rock songs.

And if you’re curious, in 1965, the year Karen reached its peak popularity as the third-most famous girls surname in the US? The male counterpart was David.