R&R Aware: Karen Owen, 42 Pages? You Need A Hobby
Karen Owen. Yes, her name will now join Matt Ivester, creator of now defunct gossip rag Juicy Campus and the whole Duke lacrosse team on the list of infamous alumni and students whose nefarious deeds kicked up a national scandal storm for their beloved Alma mater.
Owen, who graduated from Duke in May, emailed a 42-page "thesis" describing her fondest (and not so fond) memories of drunken, animalistic sex during her matriculation at Duke with various athletes and, of course, starring the Duke lacrosse team, to friends that I'm sure she now realizes weren't as close as she thought they were. The PowerPoint created thesis was forwarded so many times that it became viral and got the attention of everything from small blogs to CNN and NBC's Today Show. She has since stated in this interview from Jezebel that she regrets doing the project and that she never meant to hurt any of her 13 "subjects".
One of the things that bothers me the most about this story is that some feminists are championing this girl as a "liberator" who is giving the boys a taste of the same sexual objectification that women have suffered under a patriarchal society for years. Just look at the comments on Jezebel-they think "What's the big deal?" and "Guys do this all the time, so back at cha!". The pettiness is astounding. What a step back, a slap in the face to the mothers of feminism to condense their movement down to a justification for Owen's ethically questionable and borderline mentally unsound trysts. If it's wrong for a dude, it's wrong for a girl. It's not OK for me to knock down your sand castle just because you knocked down mine, no matter how much I may want to even the score. True feminism, as are all of the human rights movements, is about equality in treatment and opportunities, not a tit for tat game between men and women to see who can deliver the most hurt. Nor is it a campaign to replace a hostile patriarchal society with a hostile matriarchal one.
A term that seems to constantly pop up in regards to this story is the feminist/sex positive term "slut shaming". Now as I understand it after Googling and searching for a few hours in search of a comprehensive definition ( which is near impossible to find but here's a pretty good one), slut shaming is basically guilt tripping or berating a woman for expressing any aspect of sexuality. Typically it seems to be a term that's used to describe the phenomena of rape victims being blamed for their rape; i.e she deserved it because of the way she was dressed, her sexual past, ect. Technically, according to many definitions of the term, Owen is indeed being slut shamed. However, I don't see how it's a negative thing for people to view what she did as fool hardy, of low moral stature, and dangerous. Owen consumed dangerous amounts of alcohol during these episodes and slept with men she did not know presumably without any form of contraception or protection. Since she could have very well been killed, to divert attention away from these facts to focus on her being denied the ability to be "sexually liberated" reflects the selfish motives of her "supporters", who obviously intentionally warp the tenants of feminism, much like opportunistic prosperity preachers warp scripture, to justify and defend personal conquests. According to this brand of feminist, it's OK for Owen to slut shame the young men in her "thesis", but when the presentation goes viral (her fault) and there is a predictably negative collective opinion about her, the media has violated her feminine spirit. Oh well, you cry sexism, I say natural consequences, which we as a society seem to think we can escape by creative retitling and the invention of new vocabulary words. Can we take a break from defending grown women who know better and do something to help young girls like this one, who are more so victims of slut shaming (or the reverse in this case) than Owens is?
Much of the national attention to this woman can be attributed to the fact that it comes on the heels of a cyberbulling epidemic that recently culminated in the death of violinist and Rutgers student Tyler Clementi who, like the young men lambasted by Owen, had his intimate sexual affairs slung all over the internet by callous individuals who wanted a cheap laugh. It's disappointing to think that there are people who would like to ignore this and fantasize that the attention garnered is solely due to Owen being a woman. True, her being a woman doing something typically attributed to and applauded in men is a notable twist, but I think considering the events of the past few weeks, a similar list done by a male co-ed would have been picked up by the media just as quickly. Maybe if her timing was better she could whine about people picking on her because she's a girl, but journalists follow trends and if her ill conceived joke falls into one, she's getting covered. Unfortunately, because of cultural decay, things like this routinely are considered news.
When will people under 25, especially those in college ( you know, our best and brightest), learn that youth doesn't entitle one to foolishly had "fun" and pranks that have the potential to ruin or cost their lives? Not anytime soon, when a girl can circulate a damning document about fellow classmates and shame an otherwise prestigious university that's already had it's share of PR debacles and get not only a possible book deal from a high profile publisher but a movie deal out of it. Don't we have enough Sex And The City wannabes and Karrine Stephans disciples in the world? I mention this because I'm sure this is how whatever book Owen comes up with will be described: A Campus SATC. I love Carrie and 'nem as much as the next person but please read this clearly: THEY ARE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS! If I were Candace Bushnell I'd be taken aback at all of the shameless knock-offs of my brand! Oh and about double standards- had Owen been a man would she have been offered these opportunities? Probably not. Owen is not some sleek and witty fashionista, she's a bully, a female version of a womanizer whose behavior should be frowned on, regardless of what gender she is.