What is a “Karen” What does it Mean?


“Karen”

WHAT DOES KAREN MEAN?

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

As featured in memes, Karen is generally stereotyped as having a blonde bob haircut, asking to speak to retail and restaurant managers to voice complaints or make demands, and being an anti-vaxx Generation Xsoccer mom.

In 2020, Karen spread as a label used to call out white women who were captured in viral videos engaging in what are widely seen as racist acts.

WHERE DOES KAREN COME FROM?

Karen joins a trend on the internet in the 2010s of using a first name to make fun of certain kinds of people. A Becky, for example, is a stereotype for a “basic” young, white woman, while a Chad, in other corners of the internet, stands in for a cocky, young “dudebro.”

But, why the name KarenKaren has widely been credited to Black Twitter in the 2010s. Another suggestion is that it comes from a 2005 bit by Dane Cook called “The Friend Nobody Likes.” (The friend was named Karen.) An additional explanation is that it comes from the character Karen in the 2004 film Mean Girls, who’s the subject of the popular quote: “Oh my God, Karen, you can’t just ask someone why they’re white.” It’s even been put forth that Karen comes from the even earlier 1990 film Goodfellas, in which one of the characters is named Karen.

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EXAMPLES OF KAREN