Karen Owen PowerPoint Thesis: Heaping On the Shame?

Karen OwenKaren Owen may have told Jezebel she never expected her PowerPoint "f--k" list to go viral, but the Duke University grad's senior "honors thesis" has taken the Internet by storm. And while she judged her sexual conquests on everything from "physical attractiveness" to "aggressiveness," now it's Owen's turn to be judged.

So what is the world saying about her?


She's been accused -- even by fellow classmates -- of having brought shame on the entire university:

As Nicole Queathem, 22, a senior from St. Louis, told The New York Times:

“It makes me ashamed that the Duke name is attached to what she’s done."

And people are debating whether she'll get in trouble. After all, this could be libel:

Deadspin has been taking the heat for putting out Owen's list without redacting the names of the men involved. Said one angry parent:

"Obviously, it has gone viral. However, your inclusion of the real names are causing this awful situation to escalate even further and is actually starting to affect peoples' lives in ways that go far beyond mere embarrassment. Remove the names immediately, or I will be adding your blog post to the list of things I discuss with my attorney when we meet."

And Forbes debates what a Google ranking could do to these guys' future:

"What about the male athletes whose names, photos, and tales of sexual prowess (or lack thereof) are now tabloid fodder? I suspect there are going to be invasion of privacy lawsuits in the near future; I imagine their lawyers are already working hard to get Gawker to take the PowerPoints down. The good news for them is that Google doesn’t appear to be picking up their names from the PowerPoint because the slides are uploaded as photo files. Their Google results are safe for now. Their offline reputations -- especially those at the bottom of the rankings -- are not."

Owen may have felt empowered, but not everyone thinks her sexual conquests are to her advantage. Some have labeled her a slut:

From Spread It:

"One day, if she has children, they will be able to see what their mother achieved in University: Being sexually involved with college athletes."

From Gather:

"Owen goes into graphic detail about her sexual interactions with several Duke athletes, including what appears to be most of the baseball and lacrosse teams, and is now feeling the shame and regret that comes from being outed -- by herself no less -- as a certified (insert derogatory word for promiscuous person here)."

Owen's also been called out for doing exactly what men are so often criticized for in a case of reverse sexism:

From The Stir's own April Peveteaux:

"I'm all for owning your sexuality. But being proud of getting hammered and going home with a similarly inebriated jock is as much of an accomplishment as finding a liberal on campus. Subjecting your targets to public scrutiny when you made the choice to get on that tiny, flaccid penis is bad behavior. No matter who you're bedding."

From Lemondrop:

"I'm offended by the fact that people think this makes her a strong, self-empowered, champion of female sexuality. It makes me sad that we defend her actions with a 'But guys do it all the time!' And it will never cease to confuse me why, in the minds of those keeping score, this is one big point for the girls team. Whatever game it is they're playing is not a game I want to win."

But with all the criticism out there, there comes some good too:

The Washington Post gave her a big thumbs up:

"Now, Karen says she regrets it with all her heart. But should she? The 'thesis' is well-written, humorously self-deprecating. Redact a few more of the names and shirtless photos, and you could publish it in any number of magazines or Web sites dedicated to this sort of thing -- Nerve.com and Cosmo spring to mind. Why not? Chelsea Handler has a best-seller with a very similar premise! Karen's real crime is behaving chagrined, almost as though she didn't want it noised abroad! What is this, the 1830s?"

Here are the juiciest bits of the thesis. What do you think of Owen?

Read More >