A recent graduate of Duke University is quite literally in a class all by herself. Student Karen Owen put together a 42-page Power Point presentation “evaluating” the methods of 13 athletes with whom she had sex on campus. Back in May, Owen wrote a fake thesis entitled “An Education Beyond the Classroom: Excelling in the Realm of Horizontal Academics.” In it, Owen reveals very intimate descriptions of sexual encounters she’s had with each of her 13 sex partners at Duke (accompanied by partially naked pictures of them). She details each man’s “pros” and “cons” and ranks their sexual prowess, using what she called the “official f—” list. Roll over to the Fat White Guy’s joint for the full PowerPoint.
As of this week, the PowerPoint allegedly only intended to be a joke amongst three friends was circulated all around campus and eventually all over the internet. (I say allegedly because the PowerPoint was drafted with way too much precision for it to simply stay kept amongst friends. For me, all signs point to her knowing exactly what she was doing). She has since indicated (or gave the impression) that she was sorry.
Initially, I was just going to let this story fall by the wayside. I didn’t want to use my blog to add to the already increasing stardom this girl is receiving. But I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to show – in living color – how the notion that men are the only ones ‘celebrated’ for their sexual behavior is categorically false. Obviously, mainstream shows like Sex and the City (a hoecase showcase of cosmo women having sex with virtually every man in New York), underscores how female sexual behavior can generate a certain level of international validation. But the story of Karen Owen provides a real-life example of this phenomenon. Minus, of course, the expensive shoes and martinis.
I also post this story to point out the clear-cut double standards that exist in our culture. For all the talk about how men are celebrated for their sexual exploits, had a male student pulled off a stunt like this, he would have already been expelled, subjected to lawsuits, and would have probably been tossed in the slammer. Meanwhile, Owen has been featured on the Today Show, interviewed by Jezebel.com and is rumored to have been contacted by HarperCollins for a book deal. If this is true, then I present glaring proof that remorseless promiscuity really DOES pay off. Such is the state of our culture, I suppose.
Make no mistake about my position. I still graciously concede that there is overwhelming evidence of sexism and misogyny in modern day practice; often reinforced by how we socially reduce women to inferior, exploitable sex caricatures. Further, I fully appreciate that an innumerable amount of sexism occurs which forces vulnerable young women into compromising positions vis a vis men who are disproportionately dominant. I get that. But this does not (or at least, it should not) give women a license to engage in exploitive and embarrassingly mean practices themselves. To dismiss Owen’s mock thesis as a joke, retribution for socially marginalized women, or – heaven forbid – a reclaiming of sexual freedom is utterly ridiculous. Worse yet, it spits in face of anybody who ever espoused the ideas of personal responsibility, decency, and respectability.
Men are guilty of being heartless jerks when it comes to how we treat women. No doubt. But what happens when a woman does the same thing?