The “Karen” phenomenon has permeated 2020, and not in a good way.
She’s everywhere—she’s in every grocery store refusing to wear a mask, she’s pointing a gun at people walking down her street, and she’s ready to call the cops at a moment’s notice.
We were not ready for her, and neither was American Girl, the company that makes dolls of girls of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and origins, each with their own story. Twitter user Adam the Creator created his version of an American Girl doll in “Karen,” a gun-toting woman in a purple tracksuit with a pert blonde haircut who’s ready to declare her civil liberties at a moment’s notice.
This doll scares the shit out of me pic.twitter.com/VDBO4DIXdF
— adam.the.creator (@AdamPadilla) June 29, 2020
The doll, also known as “Karen 2020 Girl of the Year,” took the internet by storm, with many people clamoring for one. But the company that makes real American Girl dolls was not pleased and threatened legal action. From the beginning, it was hard call as to what they could do, as the First Amendment protects parody.
Donna, we were equally disgusted with this post. Please be assured we are taking the appropriate steps to ensure this is removed.
— American Girl (@American_Girl) July 1, 2020
Twitter users jumped into the fray, accusing the company of being what it was fighting against (a corporate “Karen”) and boosting the meme by calling attention to it in the first place (aka, the “Streisand Effect.”)
Seriously sweetie. Google “Streisand Effect”, tell the lawyer you reconsidered and let it pass, quietly.
OR: Be prepared to spend the next several months as the butt of increasingly brand-negative memes.
— Norma (@masksworkwear1) July 6, 2020
After a while, and after Twitter users had a field day calling American Girl on this great irony, the company threw its hands in the air and decided not to pursue legal action after all. There wasn’t much they could do, and American “Karen” lives to see another day—virtually, anyway.
American Girl has no intention of censoring this parody meme and anything shared to the contrary was in error. We apologize for any misunderstanding.
— American Girl (@American_Girl) July 7, 2020
Do you have any favorite “Karen” memes? Post those in the comments below.
And if you’re name is Karen… we’re sorry. Seriously.