<p>The name Karen has risen to cult status, but not for positive reasons</p>

The name Karen has risen to cult status, but not for positive reasons

imgflip.com

Baby names commonly fall in and out of style over the years, with some all fading almost entirely out of disuse.

Plenty of “old-fashioned” names have teetered on the brink of extinction over the years (think the likes of Gertrude and Cecil), while some have fallen out of favour owing to unfavourable or contentious connotations.

Last year, Katrina tumbled from America’s official top 1,000 ranking in the wake of the devastating hurricane of the same name, according to the US’s Social Security Administration (SSA).

While in 2016 – the year after Caitlyn Jenner came out as transgender – “Caitlyn” plummeted in the popularity stakes from 598th place to 1,060th, HuffPost points out.

The latest notable moniker victim is Karen, the latest SSA data suggests, plunging 171 spots in just one year.

For context, the girl’s name ranked 153 in 2000; in 2020 it came in at a meagre 831.

And while there’s no hard evidence that the name’s fall from grace has been fuelled by pejorative associations, it’s worth noting that the latest 12-month decline marks its lowest ranking on the annual SSA list since 1927.

The name has declined in popularity over time, but the latest drop has been its steepestssa.gov

Karen is often used to denote white women with overly demanding and often racist or bigoted tendencies.

Only 325 baby girls were called by the name last year – just 0.019 per cent of the total number of female births in America.

When the name reached peak popularity in 1965, there were nearly 33,000 newborn Karens.

Meanwhile, Karen’s function as a meme shows no sign of going out of fashion.

So we’ll have to wait and see whether the name can cling onto survival, or whether it’s destined to exist only as a derogatory term.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)