At first, you were happy your kid had some new friends. But you don’t like the sound of this Karen character, and actually Stan sounds more like a verb than a noun and now you’re just really confused. If you’ve been wondering what is a stan, who is a Karen and more internet meme mysteries, we’ve got you covered.
Karen, Barbz, Stan, Who? What These Viral Internet Names Mean
Definition: (Noun) A person who is an ardent fan of someone/something. (Verb) To be an ardent fan of someone/something.
Origin: Remember that Eminem song, “Stan,” from 2000? The modern meme directly comes from that track, about an obsessed fan named Stan.
Use case: (Noun) “Star Wars stans seem pretty upset about that last movie…” (Verb) “Omg, did you see Lizzo’s post? We can’t help but stan.”
Definition: (Noun) A stereotype of a middle-aged white woman who exploits her privilege and gets aggressive when things don’t go her way. She wants to speak to the manager.
Origin: There are a few origins, but as Aja Romano for Vox explains, “[One] of the most prominent uses developed on Reddit, thanks to a redditor known for posting amusingly bitter invectives about his ex-wife—posts so amusing, they inspired a high school student to make an entire subreddit…” From there, “Karen” evolved into the white privilege meme that abounds today.
Use case: “I served a Karen today and she asked to speak to the manager before I even got a chance to take her order.”
Definition: (Noun) A more nebulous term for a white woman, but one that, like Karen, often refers to a white woman exploiting her privilege.
Origin: From Sir Mix-a-Lot’s 1992 “Baby Got Back,” music video where two white women rudely gawk at a Black woman’s butt, “Oh my God, Becky, look at her butt.” It also reemerged in Beyoncé’s 2016 Lemonade album, “He only want me when I'm not there / He better call Becky with the good hair." As Merriam-Webster notes, “After much initial fevered speculation about just who this Becky is or was, common pop wisdom now asserts that ‘Becky’ is a stand-in for any woman—especially a white woman—a man sees on the side.” And then, in 2018 the term became explicitly tied to white women who weaponizes her privilege when “BBQ Becky,” called the cops on a Black family barbecue for no reason. (Check out Michael Hariot’s 5 Types of ‘Becky’ on The Root.)
Use case: “Don’t worry, she’s just a Becky. Your ass is great,” from Urban Dictionary user Lyssa517.
Definition: Basically, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
Origin: From the 1995 film Friday. Ice Cube’s character dismisses a woman asking for help saying, “Bye, Felisha.” According to KnowYourMeme, the phrase was popular in Black culture since the ‘90s but became more widely memified with the release of 2015’s Straight Out of Compton and then again when Robin Roberts said on air, “Bye, Felisha,” to Omarosa leaving her post at the White House. Though there are misogynist and slut-shaming connotations to the phrase’s origins, it is largely applied to anything (people, place or thing) regardless of gender.
Use case: “It wasn’t working so we broke up…bye, Felisha!”
Definition: A Nicki Minaj stan. (See? We’re using what we learned!)
Origin: According to Wiki Minaj, “ The name derives from Minaj's girly-girly alter-ego, The Harajuku Barbie, and the fashion she promotes.” Currently, Barbz are standing up for Minaj in her “cold war” with Cardi B. (You can read about it in Charles Holmes’ GQ piece.) And, psst: for a larger list of fan nicknames (i.e. Taylor Swift fans are “Swifties”) check out this list.
Use case: “Barbz need to defend Nicki’s honor at all costs!”