Karen Owen PowerPoint presentation buzz has been high all week. But the Karen Owen PowerPoint presentation has raised a number of troubling issues along the way. The very premise of the Duke senior rating athletes’ sexual prowess is enough of a headline. Doing it in a school that got in a major sex scandal years ago is another thing altogether. But is Owen’s PowerPoint more important because of sex, athletics, Internet privacy, sexism, male-female power dynamics, or all of the above?
When the story broke, the immediate hook was Duke athletics, and having it linked to sex yet again. Of course, this time no one was accused of rape, and most of the heat was on the woman who had sex with the athletes.
But the Karen Owen PowerPoint presentation also served as another case of Internet privacy being violated. The student only wrote this list as a joke for friends, yet she ultimately trusted the wrong friends. Every time something juicy and scandalous is put online, it inevitably leaks, even if the person doesn’t mean for it to happen.
Owen claimed that she never meant for this to get out, but by even putting it on her computer and sharing it, it was only a matter of time before it leaked. As such, she is the center of the Internet right now, for all the wrong reasons.
However, there are still those who would defend her, and accuse the backlash of being sexist. Author and relationship counselor Dr. Ian Kerner reminded CBS News that men have bragged about sex, and ranked women’s performances, for ages. Now he sees it as men getting a “dose of their own medicine.”
Yet the PowerPoint presentation is still a poor reflection on social media, according to Dr. Kerner. In recent weeks, social networks have taken a major hit, after a viral video of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi kissing another man led him to suicide. The viral world can make average people into Internet sensations – or it can cause great damage.
This list is hardly on par with the Clementi tragedy, but it does break another barrier in Internet privacy. The athletes are feeling public embarrassment over their “performance” being ranked, although their names were finally redacted. Owen has been humiliated over something she didn’t want to get out, although by writing it in the first place, it put her at risk.
In this day and age, the Owen’s PowerPoint is a relative par for the course. Yet although it was spread through modern, viral means, its issues about sex, privacy, and sexual power are hardly brand new.
Deadspin- “The Full Duke University ‘F*** List’ Thesis From A Former Female Student (UPDATE)”
CBS News- “Karen Owen List: What Does Mock Duke Thesis Say about Female Sexuality?”
ABC 15- “Recent college grad’s 42-page ‘sex list’ becomes a viral sensation”