Karen Owen 'Duke University F*ck List' Goes from Private to Viral
Karen F. Owen's 'Duke University Fuck List' Leaks, Humiliating Everyone Involved
When Karen Owen graduated from Duke University, she made a Powerpoint presentation documenting the guys with whom she had sex, rating them on a scale of 1 to 10. The "Duke University Fuck List" is laid out as a mock thesis, complete with pseudo-academic language. That's when 2010 grad Karen Owen made a crucial mistake: she actually sent the hookup list to some friends.
As night follows day, Karen Owen's hookup list was leaked, spreading like wildfire across the web. Duke University is furious, but presumably not as furious as the guys on the list (Karen Owen had a thing for college athletes, as millions of people are finding out as we speak- the Duke Lacrosse team really didn't need the extra publicity). Owen has gone into social-media hiding.
Jezebel has a redacted version of the "Fuck List", though Deadspin is far less kind (or far more impartial, depending on whom you ask), posting the entire Duke University Fuck List, complete with names and pictures. Proving that the web is a double-edged sword, it did not take Deadspin's viewers too long to find a picture of the writer.
Both blogs are owned by Gawker, but have clearly made different editorial decisions on how to handle this. I don't think it makes that much of a difference, because the list is out in the open: that's a fact. Whoever wants to find it in its uncensored form can do so with great ease.
Jezebel actually spoke with Karen Owen, who asserted that the list was never meant to go public, and only did so because one of her friends forwarded it:
She pointed out, as did our original tipster, that frats make lists like this all the time. Still, she said repeatedly, "I regret it with all my heart. I would never intentionally hurt the people that are mentioned on that."
The comment thread on Jezebel focuses on whether or not Karen Owen is being unfairly castigated because she is a woman, presuming that, had a man posted such a list, the fallout would not be as great. It is true, though, that such lists are found in frat houses.
Deadspin's thread calls Owen "Tigress Woods".
We're not so sure that the writer's gender is as relevant as the lack of common sense displayed by someone who graduated univerity in the Web 2.0 era: once something is digitized, it lives forever and can be replicated infinitely. This is not really a gender power-dynamics issue, but one of discretion, and a brutal object lesson in trust.
Again, digital information is toxic waste.