Updated: Jan 27
Hey Trish! I was wondering if you could help me? My name is Karen and I hate my name. Well, I didn’t hate my name until about 3 years ago. This trend of catching women acting crazy at their neighbors, Starbucks employees, or any random stranger and then tagging them as “Karen” has made me cringe at my name. I want to reverse time and shake that millennial who created this trend and have them use a different name. Since I can’t do that , I am thinking about giving myself a nickname until this fad passes. What do you think about Kiki? Seriously though it is frustrating. What would you do? TIA Identity Crisis in Indiana
Hey Identity Crisis (Karen)! Thanks for reaching out to me. I completely understand how this would be very frustrating. I remember as a child wishing my name was something simple like Lisa or Ann or Julie. I would go to the store and see personalized jewelry and stickers all with those names, and I could never find my own. But, now that I’m older, I like my name. I can’t imagine having someone use my name in this derogatory fashion and then have the whole world catch on to this trend.
For a while now, I have been saying that I will not use this term. This is because I truly believe that this phrase that was once used to identify women who were entitled and acting out of control, is now being used on women who are rightfully upset and voicing their opinions. Think about it. Have you ever been in a store and received poor customer service and wanted to say something but held back because you were afraid that someone would make fun of you for speaking up? How many women go to work and find themselves not voicing their opinion or showing authority because they don’t want to be known as being a bossy Karen? What about moms who ask their teenagers to help them around the house only to get an eye roll and a barely audible ”OK Karen”. These are just a few of the times in which women are subtly or not so subtly made to feel like speaking their mind, seeking justice, or even asking for help is not something they should do.
The sad thing is, it is the younger generation and women who are using this phrase the most. I think we are teaching young girls that speaking their mind will get them called out for overstepping their boundaries Phrases like “Don’t be a Karen.” make women feel self-conscious and not valuable enough to speak up. Don’t get me wrong, there are some women who definitely take this too far. But, there are some men who do the same thing. You don’t hear men mocking other men, and telling them not to be a Kevin. I think women need to be the first ones to actively stop using this phrase, and to talk to their daughters and friends when you hear them using it. Wouldn’t it be great if we caught women doing random acts of kindness on cell phones and posted these actions on TikTok? I think the title I would use is “Karen being Karen”. Maybe we could take back your name and associate it with something positive!
Truly, fads are just habits that last for a short time. If we break the habit, it will no longer become relevant. So I say keep your name! It is a great name. Your mom must’ve liked it. I am not sure when this trend will end, but I am sure that cancel culture is also a trend. I say let’s finally use that trend to cancel out some thing that definitely needs to be canceled. And since Karen is one of the most popular baby girl names in the 1970s, you have a lot of women who most likely will jump on this bandwagon! Proud to be a Karen, Trish