Karen is a reoccurring slang characterization of the antagonistic woman in memes.
She’s the archetype of the woman, who took custody of the kids, despite being careless and is so entitled, that at the moment of a minor inconvenience in a store, she already wishes to talk to the manager.
She usually has a characteristic haircut, with the hair being shorter in the back than in the front, as well as having strong blond highlights.
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It is unclear, where the association of the name Karen and the character was born, but two probable possibilities are from the films Mean Girls, or alternatively from the movie Goodfellas.
Dane Cook also brings up the name Karen as a person, everyone hates in the friend circle, in one of his standup comedy routines; “The Friend That Nobody Likes”.
Spread and Usage
The name started to take off in memes and jokes in 2016 after the Nintendo Switch trailer was shared online, in which a woman with a short haircut is taking her console to a rooftop party.
A joke was immediately posted on Tumblr, saying “Oh shit, Karen brought her stupid Nintendo thing to the party again. We’re DRINKING, Karen. We’re having CONVERSATIONS”.
A year later, a subreddit called /r/FuckYouKaren was launched, swarming the web with Karen memes.