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Duke University Sex Thesis – What Do You Think?

October 9, 2010
Picture of Karen Owen

Picture of Karen Owen

I heard about this story on Cosmo Radio on my drive to buy a new battery for my car yesterday (which not-so-conveniently wouldn’t start just when I needed to head out for some appointments). I usually don’t blog on the weekends, but I simply didn’t want to wait until Monday to talk about this. The story is basically this: Recent Duke University graduate, Karen Owen, wrote a 42-page PowerPoint presentation “thesis” titled, “An Education Beyond the Classroom: Excelling in the Realm of Horizontal Academics,” where she detailed her sexual experiences from her sophomore year to her senior year of college. In the document, Owen ranked 13 men according to their physical attractiveness, athletic ability and sexual talents (with scores for size, talent, creativity, aggressiveness, entertainment and bonus points for other factors). Most of her sexual conquests (which she called “subjects”) were Duke lacrosse players (you’ll remember the infamous Duke lacrosse scandal of 2006).  In the “thesis,” Owen included full names and pictures, mostly athletic shots and photos taken from Facebook, and went into pretty graphic details about each encounter. She even compared the men’s scores via a bar graph. In May, Owen sent her “thesis” to a few of her friends, as a sort of inside joke among women. Well, as these things do, the “thesis” was eventually sent across the entire Duke student body, and has gone viral. Since the end of this past week, the story has been featured on cable news, The Huffington Post, TIME magazine, the Today Show, The New York Times and ABC News, among others, and has become a hot topic on blogs all across the Internet, calling it a “Fuck List.”

Use this link or this link to see the full PowerPoint presentation Owen developed. And seriously, check it out. It’s well-written, and interesting as hell. If you find dating blogs even remotely interesting, this takes it to a whole new level. Probably not suitable for work, however. For the most part, the guys this girl slept with are friggin’ hot – they are the cool guys in high school and college that EVERY girl wanted to be with, the unattainable guys that were often jerks but their looks helped them get away with it. These are the guys girls like me love to hate – and secretly wish they could get.  

Owen talked with media outlet Jezebel, who broke the story, and said, “I regret it with all my heart. I would never intentionally hurt the people that are mentioned on that.” With that statement, Owen has basically gone into hiding, closing down all her social media sites and going dark. There are reports that she has been offered a book deal.

The Duke University newspaper ran an editorial this week about the topic, titled, “Karen Owen Shatters the Glass Ceiling.” This piece heralds Owen for her efforts on the behalf of feminism, saying, “The way in which her PowerPoint presentation (complete with pictures and sexual analyses of such things as her subjects’ stamina, performance and, of course, “equipment size”) created such a dramatic volte-face of gender norms makes Owen, in my mind, the most average-looking sororstitute feminist since Lucretia Mott and Suzy B.” The editorial goes on to say, “Owen doesn’t come off as some low-rent harlot or like a jealous and bitter girl; she comes off as a funny, actually intelligent lady who likes to show people a good time. And she has nothing to be ashamed about.”

Check out this piece which questions whether Owen is a feminist hero or a cautionary tale of promiscuity. Oh, and just because I think this is pretty interesting, check out this word cloud of the online conversation regarding this story.

There are people on both sides of the aisle. Some think this is awesome – freedom of speech in its truest form, and Owen should be free to boast her sexual exploits in any way she pleases. For years, men have done this very same thing in every locker room across the country. Then, there are others that are calling her a slut, are offended with how openly she detailed her conquests and are deeply concerned for the privacy of the 13 men.

I can see both sides. I’m especially torn because, well, um, look at this blog. I’m not detailing every minute detail of my sexual conquests, but I’m here recapping my dating and relationship experiences with the men in my life. Sure, I use pseudonyms, but my close network of social contacts know each and every person. My blog is connected to my Facebook page. My blog is connected to my Twitter account. My blog is directly connected to my name, and therefore the company for which I work. Most men I date that are not randoms on Plenty of Fish can be easily identified by going through my friend list on Facebook. Or by simply tracking the people with which I spend my time and the social circles I frequent.

And then, there are blogs similar to mine that are anonymous (some even password-protected). These blogs are incredibly salacious, exceptionally interesting to read and often provide the down and dirty details of not just the blogger’s dates, but when they invite their dates upstairs for “coffee.” They might not go as far as attributing a score for every man, but they talk about size, performance and virility … all the things that Owen is talking about. If you are opposed to her “thesis,” are you opposed to those blogs too?

Here’s another question that has arisen in this whole situation: Is there a double standard here? What if a man had published this “thesis?” Would we be all up in arms about male chauvinists and angered by the way men have repressed women sexually for centuries?

So I’m here to ask you all, readers, what do you think? Do you think Owen is a modern-day feminist hero or is she completely out of line? Do you think this is different from the dating blogs that we know and love so well? Is there anything intrinsically wrong with what Owen did, and if so, how does that differ what I’m doing here (and what many of you are doing on your blogs)? Sound off in the comments.


62 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom permalink
    October 9, 2010 12:13 pm

    I saw this story yesterday, and there is only a double standard if one assumes that this behavior would be ok if perpetrated by a male. Our societal norms should condemn this “project”… not because it was done by a woman, but because it was done in the first place. The documentation of her behavior, and the sharing of it afterwards, is degrading to any human being and therefore should be treated as the trash that it is. Our changing societal norms are not for the better, and eventually will come back to haunt us. It was a funny read, but when you factor in the embarrassment that the individuals involved are suffering, they all become victims, of their own poor choices and our shameless lechery.

    • October 11, 2010 12:21 am

      You are right, I think our society would frown on this in general. I’m not a fan of how people are frowning upon her promiscuity though – I don’t think that’s a factor at all. The only factor should be the fact that she potentially embarassed these people. But, in all honesty and just to play devil’s advocate, do you really think they are embarassed or harmed? These guys are college athletes. They’ve probably done shitty things to girls in the past. I bet they are just fine…

      • Tom permalink
        October 13, 2010 11:06 am

        Promiscuity isn’t something to boast about, nor, necessarily be ashamed of. It’s private, and should remain so. Are they harmed? Uh, ask the guy who was rated a 3.5…LOL As for bad acts committed by the guys… so are you saying this is justice? Put yourself in their shoes… what would you want you former lovers saying about you? (Oh, and with pictures…) Poor judgement on her part for sharing what should have been private. Shame on us for staring at it…

  2. ashley teasley permalink
    October 9, 2010 12:16 pm

    i wonder what diseases she has? seriously she had to know this would go “public”

    • October 11, 2010 12:23 am

      I mean, sometimes people are immature and don’t really expect the consequences of their actions. As far as diseases, I think that’s beyond the point – hopefully she was safe. I don’t think the frequency of her sex is the issue here AT ALL. That is not for anyone to judge, I think. She was in college and as long as she was careful and smart about it, I say that’s her perogative.

  3. October 9, 2010 12:18 pm

    Looking at it from the guys point of view…it really brings to light a whole other threat…other that disease, from casual sex.

    • October 11, 2010 12:24 am

      Good point. This is a reality – with blogs, and facebook/twitter accounts… You have to be careful.

  4. eagle permalink
    October 9, 2010 12:19 pm

    Virgin Commentary 🙂 seeing I am the first.
    Its not fair to say all men have been rating their partners and posting online or gossiping. I would disagree with that.That immature behaviour is for lager louts, who need to boost fragile egos. Although the few that have , have given the rest a bad rep.

    With the internet the way it is today, this takes it to a whole new level of privacy invasion. Instead of a few people sharing a couple of laughs and giggles you have some serious consequences.

    I think she has a right to describe her own experiences as does anyone. One needs to decide how thats done, as the saying goes gentlemen never talk about their ladies. Hopefully these girls will learn to be ladies in time, and see discretion is always best.

    • October 11, 2010 12:25 am

      Men have not been posting it online (well some do, in blogs for sure), but they have been sharing this info forever with eachother in lockerooms, etc. And, a lot of fraternities have lists of girls, where guys vote on how good they are in bed. It happens, it just hasn’t gone viral like this.

      I agree, the pictures are a bit much as well as the names being used. She should have been more respectful. But I don’t think that’s a lady/vs. not a lady discussion. Just in my opinion.

  5. October 9, 2010 12:29 pm

    There’s a number of things flying through my mind when I read this. First I’ll try and think this out from her perspective. Her actions in university – save the documentation, which I’ll get to later – were that of a slew of other such students, the hookups, the partying, whatever. But like so many other people making decisions, even if trying to just pass off a prank, there’s intended consequences, and there’s actual consequences. Happens everywhere. At this point, she obviously can’t turn back, and while’s she’s gone into hiding, I doubt she’s done so without carefully pondering where she wants to go/do next. If she’s worried about her reputation and her economic security (she’s an alum, not a student, right?) as a result of this piece of work, and if she’s getting offers as book deals, she may as well (for the sake of survival, even if controversial!) go for it. On the other hand, if she wants a more “conventional” route in life, she’s going to try and wait it out in hiding to the extent she can.

    Now the moral side of things. I think it’s clear as day the common sense here: if it’s something you don’t want your mother/etc to see, don’t document it or post it on the Internet. Obviously she put her blind trust in friends and paid for it. But at the same time, culture and societal values (as Tom above refers to) are not something easily changed overnight, and just like other “questionable” celebrities or reality stars today, they are all doing things to capitalise on their exposure.

    Morally it’s not something I’d encourage to try and “benefit” on such a situation, but if (hypothetically speaking) it’s her only way for survival or to parlay a career, who knows.

    As for these blogs, I think most people use these outlets not so much to make money or for pranks, but most people I get the impression we’re just here to vent, or to find others like us that can possibly relate to our issues. An impartial, informal opinion – I won’t speak for others, but I started mine partially because there are a lot of issues I wouldn’t dare discuss with most people I knew in real life. As for “disguising” your identity it will depend on your aims, your current career, etc. It’s your responsibility to monitor and control that, and always assume the worst case scenario. In my case, I do not link my blog/twitter to my FB at all, although I do have some closer friends and cousins that do read my blog.

    • October 12, 2010 12:16 am

      ONE FOOT: I think this is a great comment… the moral issues of this story seem clear – she shouldn’t have documented it in this way. But perhaps it was an honest mistake… should she be smeared on the Internet as a slut for hear sexual endeavors (which to be honest, might seem shocking at first glance but actually are probably close to the experience of many college women)?

      I do worry about similar (but obvious less severe) consequences of what we all do, day to day, with our blogs. I guess we just have to be respectful and keep morals top of mind, always.

  6. Joe College permalink
    October 9, 2010 12:40 pm

    My only issue with her is that she included names and photos without permission. For that and that alone she needs to be sued penniless. The only problem being that right now she probably is penniless so the judgment will have to be paid out of her future earnings which are likely to be huge with book and movie deals. She’s not a bad writer in her neo~snark way, but I pity her future boyfriends or husbands if she manages to land any. The girl is cold as ice.

    • October 11, 2010 12:26 am

      I agree that the names/ photos are one of the biggest concerns here. Not sure if she could pass this off as first ammendment freedom of speech though…

  7. eagle permalink
    October 9, 2010 1:38 pm

    One more thing. In traditional print media, and hopefully in some digital publications it is the norm, there are always editors or another set of eyes to verify if something should run as it is.

    In todays situation with many bloggers free to post as they see fit, who is checking facts, making sure certain standards are held to certain journalistic principles. Nobody, bloggers are a law onto themselves , therefore the risks are higher and potential for lawsuits potent.

    As a blog is an opinionated piece and not something meant to be factual. Herein lies the problem, do you see any disclaimers on the blogs that you visit, limiting liability.
    Now another tricky one, could a blogger be held liable for posting an article which triggers a comment that causes offense. If it was the bloggers original article…. could it be.

    Would you date a blogger who posted intimate details about your bedroom life online or even on closed circuit with his / her friends?
    How you looked, or what your most discerning physical features are in a positive or negative way.

    I dont think anyone whether it be male or female would want that , its simply not respecting and valuing another person and doesnt matter who does it its still nasty.

    Your blog is still innocent and untainted, your writing fresh and honest. I hope you keep your perspective and stay true to you.

    • October 11, 2010 12:28 am

      Thanks so much. I hope to not cross the line, ever, to hurtful or disrespectful of the people in my life or the people I discuss on this blog. I just think situations like these are a good reminder of what we’re done here – and how powerful it can be. We have a platform, use it wisely.

    • October 12, 2010 12:19 am

      Thanks for this thoughtful comment. You asked,
      “Would you date a blogger who posted intimate details about your bedroom life online or even on closed circuit with his / her friends?”

      Tough question. I guess I’m going to have to say yes – because I would be a hyprocrite if not. I do that on this blog. I don’t go into too many details about sex, but I do about intimate conversations and experiences. Seems just as bad, if you want to look at it that way. Perhaps I’m just being hard on myself, but I do wonder if what Karen Owen did and what I do are that far apart.

      I appreciate your kind words, and I do hope to keep this blog a place where I’m just honest – not purposefully hurtful or snarky, ever.

  8. Random Internet Guy permalink
    October 9, 2010 5:49 pm

    Cat,

    In my opinion, this girl can go fuck herself. What she did is nothing like what you are doing….not even remotely. I don’t even know where to begin with this moron.

    For those of us who actually know what TRUE feminism is, this is a slap in the face. The problem is that so many idiots think that “feminism” is merely turning the tables on the opposite sex and saying “you go girl!” I’m not sure what is more asinine–a generation of Americans who’ve never had their livelihood significantly impacted by sexism who embrace this as “feminism” or the fact that basically the only reason why this is news is, in essence, contrary to the meaning of feminism. Feminism is about empowerment and equality. Think about it for a second. This is news only because a woman created it. However, it shouldn’t be newsworthy because a woman created it (see: equality). Do you see the irony in something ONLY being notable because a woman created it and then it being improperly aligned with Feminism? That is pretty retarded.

    What’s more important is that because of the news media’s compulsion to stay relevant in the age of FB, twitter etc., they will take this and run with it.

    Let’s call this what it is. Some girl got wasted, fucked a bunch of dudes and then detailed it. Great, so now I have to explain to my nieces that being a whore is NOT cool, even if you become skilled in wielding Microsoft Office. It was bad enough when I had to explain that being a fucking dumbass is a BAD idea, even if it leads to a 5 million dollar Dancing with the Stars payday.

    ALSO, the idea itself isn’t even original. Have you guys forgotten that this what the girl was doing in the movie Mallrats? “Who’s your favorite New Kid…Call me Donnie.” Hello? She was even offered a book deal in that movie.

    Oh and about that apology, I would have had much more respect for her if she had just stood by it. Although I do believe that a part of her regrets it, it is ONLY because of how it impacted her life. Are we actually expected to believe that she gives a shit about having hurt a bunch of Duke Lacrosse players? By the way, as soon as she accepts that book deal (and make no mistake, she will), that apology is going to look really genuine. Also, if she is going to rank dudes superficially….I guess I can too. I’ll just say that after she cashes her big payday, she can fix that nose.

    PS: WTF is up with those eyebrows?

    • eagle permalink
      October 10, 2010 12:01 pm

      Just because someone has a high sex drive there is no need to be labeling them a whore. Its a double standard if a guy does it, its deemed ok. When a girl does it she’s a slut.

      Her abuse of the trust and the issues of revealing private details are a poor judgement call. And if this were a guy it would be the same poor judgement.

      • random internet guy permalink
        October 10, 2010 9:49 pm

        Eagle,

        I’m assuming you were responding to my post. I invite you to re-read it in context. Unless you are suggesting that I tell my nieces that banging a bunch of dudes isn’t cool…unless you have a high sex drive. For redundancy’s sake, there was a context issue that you seem have neglected. There was also a bunch more in my response that you may have missed.

        Of course there is a double standard between guys and girls when it comes to promiscuity. That conversation has been done to death. However, this has nothing to do with having a high sex drive. It is completely ridiculous to suggest that Karen’s behavior had anything to do with her sex-drive. If that were the case she would have stopped as soon as she got to that 12.5/10 guy. Contrary to popular belief, you CAN actually have sex with the same person more than once. Instead, she had sex with as many people as she could and detailed the entire process. I fail to see how this equates to her satiating her high sex drive.

      • October 11, 2010 12:29 am

        Right on, Eagle. I too don’t think her being a whore or not has anything to do with this. If she only wrote about 2 guys in her 4 years of college, I think the concerns are still the same. It has nothing to do with how many men she’s slept with.

    • Claudia permalink
      October 11, 2010 2:01 pm

      A modern-day feminist hero? Not at all. Equality does not mean being just as crass as the guys. Or that we can be equally void of human emotion as insecure guys can be. At least it doesn’t in the world I want to live in. It makes me ill that feminism has gone so far the wrong way that anyone would ever think that.

      Completely out of line? Yes for using real names and pictures. However her level of promiscuity is no one’s business. Many view college as the time to let go of the constraints of society in all facets of life. When you have a society so frightened of sex and experimentation, can you expect anything less?

      Remotely close to what you, I or anyone else with a dating blog? No. Unless the details on who they are are included.

      We are now in a society where your online presence has a direct connection to your offline life, including getting a job. What she has done hasn’t just completely ruined her future, but the future of every guy on the list.

      • October 12, 2010 12:44 am

        Claudia: Agreed that she shouldn’t have used real names and pictures. But I agree even more that “her level of promiscuity is no one’s business.” Couldn’t have put it better myself…

        I’m not sure, however, that these guy’s futures are ruined. Many organizations still have men in leadership positions, making the hiring decisions. I suspect this will just get a high five ….

    • October 12, 2010 12:25 am

      Random Internet Guy: Appreciate your thoughtful comment, but I will whole heartedly say that I don’t think her being a whore (and what will we tell our kids, etc.) has NOTHING to do with this. She slept with 13 people in 4 years. Who says that’s a whore? She had sex for pleasure, for no relationships, because she could. Who says that’s a whore? If a man did it, is he a whore? Or is it that she wrote about it, and didn’t succumb to the stereotypes of women to not kiss and tell, to be embarassed if they have casual sex, that makes her a whore? That she proudly proclaimed that she had her way with these men… no regrets, with humor and honesty and almost proud of her efforts? Is that what makes her a whore? I don’t think it’s any of our place to determine if she’s a whore…. but I’m not sure she should have used these men’s names/pictures. That crossed the morality line. But I could give a F about the whore line.

  9. October 9, 2010 10:27 pm

    I don’t know…call me cynical, but I see it as an attention-seeking stunt. I don’t think it was cool to “borrow” pictures of her conquests from their Facebook sites without their knowledge.

    Having said all that, I could not stop reading. LOL. But most people stare at car wrecks as they drive by, too.

    • October 11, 2010 12:29 am

      This thing was friggin interesting as hell, agreed. So we’re part of the problem too… LOL

  10. October 9, 2010 11:30 pm

    Wow… Wow…
    I agree that she should not have used names and photo’s without permission – but maybe she really didn’t want it passed around? Hard to say. It is kind of like girl talk – when you go out with a guy you tell your girlfriends everything – only this went a lot farther? I’m torn on this one as well. And you are not like her. You never use names and pictures without permission – or go into “size” details (however I’ve never ready any password protected posts?) And I think people would really have to dig to find out whom you are speaking about – and this was just all layed. out.
    I love your blog – it’s my new favorite. I’m happy we “met” ahha.

    • October 11, 2010 12:32 am

      I mean, if she only sent it to 3 people, it’s possible she really thought it was just funny and wouldn’t get around. People can’t imagine that their work will go viral. You know?
      What’s funny is the closest I got to this is a guy that kissed me that was literally the worst kisser I’ve ever had. I wanted to say that in the blog. Seriously terrible kiss. But I didn’t, and said “there was no chemistry.” I lied. I thought it would be the nicer, more karma-happy thing to do. I’m still not sure if I did the right thing, to be honest… And no, I don’t have any password protected posts. Definitely haven’t ventured there – I’m not sure I’m ready (or wanna be ready! Lol).

      Thanks for your compliment on my blog. Love yours too 🙂

  11. October 10, 2010 9:13 am

    What bothered me most about this story was the blatant violation of privacy of ALL involved, including the woman who wrote it. She made a poor judgment call by trusting the wrong people, obviously. But she could have documented all of this online and didn’t, probably because she never intended for this to get in the wrong person’s hands and was not trying to hurt or humiliate anyone. It was a silly project that fell in to the wrong hands. But the adults who run these media/news sites that published this whole document, pictures and all? Despicable hypocrites who contributed to the exposure and humiliation of these people.

    The real difference between what Owens did and what we bloggers do is that this woman was 21 or 22 years old and some of us bloggers are in our late twenties, thirties and forties. She’s just a naive, self-absorbed kid. Weren’t we all at 21? There are people in their thirties doing exactly what this woman did in one form or another. We’re supposed to know better, especially when we’re supposedly so well versed in the real of social media and the internet.

    A few months ago I sent a guy on Match an email. He replied back only with his phone number and said he preferred to talk on the phone versus exchange emails.

    I called him and he explained that he had been burned in the past by a woman who wrote a blog and had published all of his emails and text messages on her website. So now he was cautious about what he put in writing. People are becoming more aware of the possibility that their words could be used for Tweet, FB or Blog fodder.

    As a blogger who blogs under their real name and photo, I can understand why some people choose to blog “anonymously.” Writing a blog about dating most definitely can crimp your love life. But what people fail to understand is that nobody is actually anonymous. Not you, not the people you write about.

    If you’re going to use your blog to make fun of the people you date (The collective “you” not Catharine personally, as I don’t think she does that) then have the balls to put your name to it. If you’re afraid of family or friends or co-workers reading your words, then that means you know what you’re saying reflects poorly on you.

    It’s one thing to discuss your dates. I see nothing wrong with blogging anonymously in a case like that, if your blog is just a creative outlet that you write for yourself. But if you’re going to actively seek an audience and dissect these people you date, critique them, publish their emails and texts and profiles, or other wise use these people as entertaining fodder or for blog hits, then either tell the person you go out with about your blog or put your name to it so your intended target can defend themselves.

    I think there’s this idea out there that because “everybody” has a FB or LinkedIn or Match profile that this person is choosing to make themselves public, so they’re fair game.

    • October 12, 2010 12:28 am

      You know, I liked this comment, especially because it is making me look at my own blog. I’m not sure how far back in the archives you’ve gone, but I have published texts, profiles, emails, etc. Usually for humor (not trying to be hurtful, but it could be perceived that way), but I still did it. I did not say who these people were, but I took advantage of public profiles for comic relief. I refer especially to my Plenty Of Fish blog posts. Anyway, I’m not sure how bad that is. Is it all in good fun (and if you say crazy stuff on your profile you are asking for it), or is it a violation of privacy?

      I think it’s such an interesting story you told about the guy from Match… they are onto us! 🙂

      • October 12, 2010 8:42 am

        I do think printing emails and texts is a huge violation of privacy. I didn’t used to give it too much thought up until a year or so ago. I’ve published profiles and excerpts from emails as well, although I put a stop to that in the last 9 months or so. I’ve seen so much of that on blogs lately that has made me really uncomfortable and pretty embarrassed that I did it.

        I also was upfront with men that I met online and told them what I did for a living. If I wrote a date recap, it was posted to Facebook. So if they were one of my friends, the could see it. They could also check the blog themselves or just Google me. Links to my website are in my signature files in my email. I wouldn’t hide what I did.

        I’ve had guys come to my blog and offer their POV. I’ve also had people recognize someone by just a few (what I thought were) innocent details I shared about them. They contacted the guy and told him about my blog. I’ve dated guys that other bloggers in my city have dated. It’s very incestuous, the dating blogger and online dating community. That’s why nobody is actually anonymous.

        • October 12, 2010 7:40 pm

          So far, I’ve been pretty up front with the men I’ve dated and wrote recaps about. Now the randoms I’ve met online though – the really weird profiles, I’ve pulled lines from for humor sake. I don’t think I’ve ever posted a full profile, but you make a good point about even excerpts. Now as far as texts and emails, I’ve only posted those in a positive manner… A sweet text, a funny text, a funny conversation, a well-written Facebook message. But I think I need to consider these things more – not sure what conclusion I’m going to come to exactly, because I see how much of this is somewhat harmless, but I can see there’s a fine line.

          And, my blog is completely tied to my name too. Facebook, Twitter, etc. Google me, and I believe you’ll find the blog. So it’s not like I’m hiding anything at all. I’d love to talk with you some time about tips on how you’ve dealt with the lack of anonymity! Need advice… sometimes it’s pretty hard, and I can’t imagine it’s going to get any easier!

  12. October 10, 2010 12:36 pm

    I just realized that I left my comment under my WordPress Login. That’s not a working URL.

    Correct URL is http://AndThatsWhyYoureSingle.com

  13. October 10, 2010 5:19 pm

    First and foremost, she should not have used real names and photos. If she hadn’t this really would have stayed among her friends and not been a big deal.

    However, she is DRUNK in most of the experiences. BLACK OUT drunk! On any number of occasions, her stories could have had some very serious consequences. Did any of these guys really care about her? Nope. So this is in no way empowering for women. She was a c*m dumpster, and the guys knew it.

    I wrote about this on my blog the other night, and while I tried to see both sides, I just couldn’t. http://glassheels.wordpress.com/

    Enjoyed your post and reading others on your blog. Will check back on your journey often!

    • October 12, 2010 12:32 am

      Thanks for stopping by and I’m heading over to read yours too! Sorry for delay in my response – craziest couple of days.

      I too am concerned about the fact that she as drunk, sometimes black out drunk, for these experiences. And while I see what you are saying (but I’m not sure I would call her a c*m dumpster, because I don’t find it fair, because I’m not sure we’d apply a similar name to a man who did this), I also think it’s concerning that these men has sex with her when she was black out drunk. That road goes both ways… but it seems like people aren’t really acknowledging that.

      I think her doing this, and being open and fine with it, is somewhat empowering to women because it says that we can own our sexuality and take what we want (when we want it) and we don’t have to be depressed if we have a one night stand. I don’t think her publishing of the facts in the way that she did (real names/pics) is empowering at all. But I can’t lie, I see some empowerment here… I mean, look at the convesation it’s generated at least?

  14. October 10, 2010 7:31 pm

    I echo what Elissa said. It really disturbs me that so many feminists sites were glossing over the fact that this woman was intoxicated during many of these experiences.

    This woman isn’t a feminist hero, nor is she a “slut.” She’s a young girl with poor judgment (and really poor taste in girl friends) who has grown up in a culture where chronic oversharing is rampant.

    • October 12, 2010 12:34 am

      I too am concerned about the intoxication…see above response. But our culture of “chronic oversharing,” what do you think that says about our blogs? Should we put a halt to the chronic oversharing? I have some people in my life who think it’s absolutely NUTS what I do on this blog. Just a thought…

  15. October 11, 2010 9:01 am

    I saw this on the TODAY show last week and I couldn’t get to my laptop fast enough. Wow! It was very interesting reading to say the least. I thought it was funny at first but around subject 5, I started to feel a little sick. I kept thinking, I hope her parents don’t read this. Wow. I support her right to do her ‘research’ and write about it too but I think maybe she crossed the line. The drinking (and blacking out!) made me almost feel sorry for her. I don’t know if this was research or a cry for help. Also, she should have shown a bit more discretion. I think we all would have gotten the point without some of the um, descriptions. Maybe that’s the difference between my Big 10 education and Ivy League. KIDDING! -SG

    • October 12, 2010 12:35 am

      I hear you on the “research or a cry for help.” Part of me really wants to believe she is OK with her actions, because otherwise this becomes sad on whole other level.

  16. October 11, 2010 12:05 pm

    Ha! To “Random Internet Guy,” I still say, YOU GO GIRL! This has nothing to do with feminism, it’s about our right as human to do whatever the fuck we want. The reason this story is so popular is because it is a woman, fucking like a man—having meaningless, fun, sex…and with hot guys, no doubt.

    Men have been doing this for years and no one has said a damn thing about it, which I’m fine with.

    I wish she didn’t regret it, we put too much pressure on numbers. If she wanted to hook up with these guys, then good for her. Work it, sister.

    -Lucky

    • October 12, 2010 12:38 am

      I too, am bothered that she now regrets it. I hope she regrets it being published, not that she did it. Because halfway through doing it, if she didn’t want to do it anymore, she should have stopped. Otherwise, I find her ownership of her sexuality quite empowering.

  17. October 11, 2010 2:03 pm

    “The reason this story is so popular is because it is a woman, fucking like a man—having meaningless, fun, sex…and with hot guys, no doubt. Men have been doing this for years and no one has said a damn thing about it, which I’m fine with. ”

    Okay. But men don’t have sex “like men.” They just have sex. Women are the ones who make this sweeping generalization that “all” men take pride in engaging in and bragging about casual sex. Men as a gender have NOT been doing this for years. And come on, I think it’s fair to say that some women can put a man to shame when it comes to the way we discuss our sexual exploits with girlfriends. We can be downright shameless in those situations.

    I’m sorry, but other than the PUA guys out there, you don’t see a lot of male dating bloggers blogging about the one night stand they had the night before. And in several cases of that, the man is completely objectified and portrayed as some chumpish plot device.

    You don’t hear men saying they deserve to be able to be “bitchy like women.” It’s blatant gender stereotyping. Not only that, but I don’t see what’s so great about trying to adopt unattractive characteristics displayed by a few members of the opposite sex.

    • October 12, 2010 12:37 am

      Great comment. I haven’t really checked out male dating bloggers versus women dating bloggers (seems there are more women, right?) so I can’t speak to differences in the way they write about sexual experiences. But I think that would make for an interesting study!

      Good point on the “bitchy like women.” If I heard that from a guy, I’d be pissed…

  18. October 11, 2010 2:48 pm

    Y’know, feminism and morality regardless, I had a great time reading about her exploits! The dudes she slept with sound at points hilarious and awesome and crazy, just like dudes everywhere. If all of us tallied up our college exploits like this, I’m sure some would look much worse and some wouldn’t be worth reading, just like everything. I don’t think it’s her fault that her friend shared this, and I don’t think she did anything wrong at any point.

    • October 12, 2010 12:20 am

      I know, I did too! I thought they were so interesting. And I don’t think it was like a train wreck, it was more like a woman who knew what she wanted, she got it, and for the most part, had no regrets! It is refreshing, in some ways, to see that.

  19. October 11, 2010 8:14 pm

    I admire the chick, men have been doing this shit for AGES, bout time a female did the same. Even if some of the guys didn’t deserve it. This is what happens when you live that kind of lifestyle. Maybe if the guys could keep it in their pants for a more respectable girl, this wouldn’t happen to them? Everyone is mad at and blames the girls, but the guys are certainly as promiscuous. If that’s how you roll… it’s a risk you take.

    • October 12, 2010 12:21 am

      LOVE This…. everyone who is calling her a whore, I’m like, what about these guys who slept with her on the first date (or usually, no date at all)? And you know they were all talking to each other and they all knew she got around. So if we’re calling anyone whores, we should include the men here… not just her for documenting it.

  20. October 11, 2010 9:27 pm

    I think that everything was great but putting the pictures and names in may have been too far. I think other than that – it’s a great study! I used to have a very similar blog to yours when I was single and dating and I did pretty close to what she did here… but I remained very anonymous. But it was still good stuff!!

    • October 12, 2010 12:21 am

      Agreed – names/pics too far. The rest, wow, so interesting. Sometimes I wish I’d stayed anonymous… I could put more interesting stuff on here :). Thanks for your comment!

  21. October 12, 2010 10:53 am

    Two Thoughts:

    1. I’d remind the people calling her a feminist hero, that she didn’t intend on distributing this report to other people. She put it together and sent it to a few friends. Yes, it ended up getting reported on a national level, but I’d say for her to be a hero or even a confirmed feminist, she’d have to stand beside what she wrote in front of everyone and defend herself. She’s keeping quiet and not standing up and defending what she did, so I’d argue how much of a great feminist step this is (not that I’m sure a girl reviewing drunken sexual escapades is a “win” for feminism anyway).

    I’m not sure what I think about all this, but think her actions after it happened should be considered.

    2. From what I’ve learned, freedom of speech is freedom of speech until it infringes on the rights of another person. So, I’d think if any of these guys could prove that what she wrote has damaged their reputations (especially since they’d be defined as private individuals by the law), they could have a lawsuit on their hands. Not sure if they’d win, but I’d think they’d have a case. Especially since they could argue some of what she said was opinion, not fact.

    In any case, I really doubt she thought what she wrote would get this big. (Again, she’s kind of in hiding, which supports this idea). Remember, she’s in that early 20’s, “I’m invincible!” stage of life. She probably just wasn’t about what can happen when people start forwarding.

    • October 12, 2010 7:35 pm

      I agree… If I were to make the leap that she was a feminist hero, I’d need her to show some other feminist qualities and stand by her actions on principle. I think the owning of your own sexuality and not feeling confined to keep your number low because that’s what society has told you is right for women to do – that is a move forward for feminism. I’m not sure that’s anything she intended, however, and you don’t have to disrespect someone’s privacy to own your own sexuality.

      I don’t know if I agree so much with the age argument … Early 20s, yeah you make stupid decisions. Maybe I’ve just been too mature for my age, because I can’t imagine making this kind of mistake (if she considers it a mistake). You know? I’m now mid 20s, but some of the stuff I hear people blame on youth I would NEVER consider doing. But maybe that’s just me – super cautious.

      • October 12, 2010 9:07 pm

        Good point! I probably wouldn’t have done anything like that at 21 either, but I guess I’m just saying I think it’s easier for younger people to do stuff like this without thinking about consequences. Whatever age it is, it’s stupid to send something like that out over email if you don’t want more than the people you intended to see it.

      • October 17, 2010 10:37 pm

        I agree with MM’s points. OK, so maybe I was a bit harsh in calling her a “c– dumpster” last week (sorry for the fowl language! Our moms read our blogs, so I hope I didn’t offend your mom or any of your other readers). I am still having a hard time seeing her as a feminist hero. Having sex “like a man” does not make one a feminist, nor does being incredibly careless and hurting other people. I see this as embarrassing, not empowering. But, that’s just me, and I appreciate that she provided for such an interesting discussion.

        It appears that her 15 minutes of fame are over, and I’m sure there’s a Lindsay Lohan story that is now more important than this. Thanks for the debate, Catherine!!

        • October 18, 2010 10:35 am

          No worries – I understand where you were coming from. Yeah, it does seem that her 15 minutes of fame are over, so what’s next? I’m sooo over Lindsay Lohan 🙂

  22. Ghetto_Philosopher permalink
    October 14, 2010 6:30 pm

    Here’s my take. Picture yourself as a single guy. *Waiting, tapping foot……*. Alright. Now, would you date this girl? She pretty much has shot herself in the foot relationship wise. Anybody who would approach her would have to deal with the fear that she could always turn them into a story. As much as both sides want to turn her into the face of feminism or promiscuity, this is her life.

    • October 17, 2010 12:19 pm

      I hear your point on this – but here’s what I’d ask back. Do you think guys will want to date me with my blog? I bet many would be afraid of me turning them into a story! That’s why this story made me think so much, it makes me wonder the implications for bloggers similiar to me that chronicle so much of our personal lives on the Internet.

      • Ghetto_Philosopher permalink
        October 18, 2010 7:12 pm

        I think that you don’t really put down guys on here. You discuss your feelings openly and with a specific purpose. Sure you’d scare certain guys away but you aren’t going to scare every guy away. The secure man is able to handle being written about in the forum and style that you use. You also hide the identity of the people you write about so as to protect them. This woman did not do any of these things, instead she took something entirely private and put that out there. She pretty much violated those men and I can’t believe that some intelligent people are even attempting to make the argument that these were extenuating circumstances.

        • October 18, 2010 9:40 pm

          Thanks for your thoughts on the difference between her “thesis” and my blog. My intention is exactly as you’ve described. So I’m glad that is being communicated. I have no intention of outing a guy in this forum or embarassing him. I too, think there will be some guys that will be scared away. But that isn’t the kind of guy I want to be with anyway!

  23. Ghetto_Philosopher permalink
    October 14, 2010 6:42 pm

    By the way, is this what feminists really want? Really? I thought they were better than that. Feminists really need to be careful that they don’t become caricatures of bad male behavior. In other words, you don’t want your argument for any action to be; “well guys do it too”. In my opinion, the best thing about women is that they are not men. They have all these wonderful qualities that have been undervalued for so many years. Now, we’re starting to realize just how good those traits are. They should be celebrated.

    This is just a very wordy way of saying; the men who discuss their sexual exploits openly in the “locker room” are usually pigs or jerks. A feminist hero should be able to rise above that sort of behavior.

    • October 17, 2010 12:20 pm

      Good point – becoming “caricatures of bad male behavior” is certainly not a triumph of feminism. Loved your comment… I agree, it seems to me there are many great qualities women have that are only now starting to be recognized by larger society. I hope it continues.

  24. Brooke permalink
    October 17, 2010 8:49 am

    there is classy (your blog) and the not-so-classy (subject.

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