Dad Refuses to Name His Daughter 'Karen' Because of the Meme

'Karen" has become a name associated with difficult or problematic white women with "speak to the manager" energy, and this dad didn't want to give his daughter that name.

Robin Zlotnick - Author

Oct. 23 2020, Updated 8:46 a.m. ET

featured karen
Source: NBC / Reddit

It's unfortunate when a perfectly normal name gets twisted into something unrecognizable. But that's what recently happened to Karen. Karen is a perfectly fine, normal name, but it's been meme-ified recently, used to indicate a white woman who is difficult, problematic, and has serious "I want to speak to the manager" energy. 

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So what do you do when your mother-in-law's name is Karen and your wife wants to honor her by naming her after her mom? Well, that's the sad subject of today's "Am I the A-hole?" post. 

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OP explains that his wife is pregnant and they just recently found out they're having a daughter. They started talking about names that they like but "both agreed that each of us will retain veto power." 

Both he and his wife want to name their daughter after their late mothers. However, he writes, "Her mom's name was Karen and my mom's name wasn't a meme." So, he said that his mom's name can be their daughter's first name, and Karen can be her middle name. 

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But he wasn't OK with giving their daughter the first name Karen because of the implications from the popularity of the meme. His wife was not happy with this solution. 

"She got offended because she just wants to honor her mother and thinks I have a problem with that," OP writes. "I just don't want to set our daughter up to be bullied throughout her life. I told her I'd be fine with whatever first name she picks as long as it doesn't lead to the baby being picked on later in life, but she's pretty insistent on Karen."

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OK, here's the thing! I understand his reasoning, but I also get that she wants to honor her mom. I think giving her Karen as a middle name would be a perfectly fine way to do that! But she didn't seem to find that acceptable.

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Additionally, they agreed that they'd both have veto power, so it doesn't really matter what his reasoning is, does it? If he doesn't like the name, that should be that, and they should move on to finding something they both like. It seems like his wife is trying to make him out to be the bad guy when, in fact, he's just trying to play by the rules they set out. 

Commenters agreed that OP wasn't wrong for having this concern. "It was a normal name, now it's a joke," someone wrote. "Imagine 'baby Karen.' People are gonna make jokes all her life."

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Even if the Karen thing eventually dies off, they would definitely have to deal with some jokes right now. Someone suggested giving their daughter both their moms' names as middle names and then picking something else completely for her first name, something that they both like. 

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"Orrrrr, maybe you could suggest something like Corinne...or Carley...or Ren? Then it's kinda still got some of her mom's name in it to honor her, but also gives your daughter her OWN name, too," one person wrote. 

Any of these solutions could work! In an update to his original post, OP wrote that he and his wife talked about it, and the reason she had such an emotional reaction was that her mom died suddenly when she was a teenager, and she'd always wanted to name her first daughter after her. She obviously didn't expect that it would become a meme and a name that's so awfully made fun of. 

In their chat, they realized that their moms both had the same middle name — Elizabeth — and they both thought it was perfect. So that's what they're going with, a way to honor both of their mothers at the same time. Gotta love an AITA post with an actual resolution, and a happy one at that!

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