She is a puzzling character, because she seems on the one hand to have been invented by a committee of frat boys.
In a way, she more closely resembles them than she does the sorority girls who spurn her.
It’s absurd to believe that she was innocent enough to think that such an incendiary document, transmitted by email, would not quickly enjoy a large audience.
But it’s not at all hard to believe that Owen had only three friends in college.
She rates each of these experiences on several criteria, among them physical attractiveness, penis size, sexual talent, and—tellingly—aggressiveness.
For all the attention Owen has received as a boundary-breaking, sexually empowered new woman, there has been almost no discussion of the fact that the kind of sex she most enjoyed was rough to the point of brutalizing.One encounter that occurred during an alcoholic blackout was still, as Karen Owen would say, “baller,” because in the shower the next day she found bruises on her body; another was great because it was so “violent”—and she means that “in a good way.” He was “throwing me around like I weighed nothing.” Her modus operandi for initiating these assignations seems to have been hanging out at bars frequented by Duke athletes, getting hammered, letting a “subject” know she was open for business, and then grabbing a cab back to his apartment; she seems to have been willing to do absolutely anything to please the men, which often meant hanging out with their boorish roommates until it was her time to perform.What a glittering social world came along with these athletes.But we’d rather not rank Duke number one at anything.” It’s difficult to argue with GQ’s thinking on either score; something ugly is going on at the university—a mercenary intensity that has been gathering strength for the past two decades, as the institution made the calculated decision to wrench itself into elite status by dint of its fortune in tobacco money and its sheer ambition.It lured academic luminaries—many of them longer on star power than on intellectual substance—built a fearsome sports program, and turned its admissions department into the collegiate version of a head-hunting firm.That program is intended for creating a visual accompaniment to a lecture, keeping audience and speaker on track by reducing the essential ideas of a complex presentation to a series of bullet-pointed phrases and concepts, the irreducible takeaway.But the 42 slides of Owen’s report on her “horizontal academics” are so dense with narrative detail, bits of dialogue, descriptions of people and places, and reproduced text-message conversations that they are a chore to read.The overwhelming sense one gets from the thesis is of a young woman who was desperate for human connection, and who had no idea how to obtain it.The thesis, which was prompted into being when one of Owen’s partners asked her where he stood on her “Fuck List,” includes a section for each of the 13 athletes, containing a slide of flattering photographs of the young man, and then an evaluation of each sexual encounter she had with him.She’s like a fraternity’s ideal pledge: she races around to deliver hot breakfasts to the brothers, drives them to practices, hangs out loyally on cold streets while they work out potential DUI hassles with the cops, listens to them chew over their buddies’ girlfriend problems, tells them—with apparent sincerity—that they’re awesome at spitting Biggie raps, never demands her own turn at Mario Kart.Even her attitude toward (and during) sex seems to have been dreamed up during a Sigma Nu smoker: she’s certainly not the first young woman to perform fellatio in a crowded college library, but surely there aren’t many others who in the middle of this act earned an appreciative—and robustly returned—high five.