Long before Karen Owen created her world-captivating Fuck List for Duke's female sexual consumers, two sexually liberated women created the "Consumer Guide to MIT Men." It was modern, sophisticated...and kinda nasty.
Click to enlarge.
Published in April 1977 by thursday, an MIT student alt-weekly, and now posted over at The Smoking Gun, the "Consumer Guide" uses a four-star ratings system to grade the sexual performance of 36 MIT guys — all of whom slept with either Roxanne Ritchie or Susan Gilbert, the guide's co-authors, at some point or another. The two women did not hold anything back in their reviews, including their partners' last names, which made some people in the MIT community very angry:
Two weeks after the guide was published, Ritchie told the Associated Press that the piece had triggered obscene telephone calls and threats of gang rape. "I tried to contact all the people on the list to apologize for it being in print and to say, 'That's not what was important to me when I was with you,'" Ritchie told the AP.
Gang rape threats? Well, that's going too far.
Unlike Karen Owen, whose Fuck List got away from her because of modern technology, Ritchie and Gilbert devised their list intending it for publication — knowing that the student community, and their former partners, would see it and possibly be hurt by it. There's no evidence that any of these guys did anything wrong to either woman other than suck in the sack (and only maybe so, at that — remember, these things are subjective.) What if some (all?) of these guys were actually good guys who were just clumsy or inexperienced or trying their best? Should they be labeled "lazy" or "lumpy" in a public forum?
Supposedly, Ritchie and Gilbert were trying to "turn the tables" on similar systems that men used to rate women. But it just seems so ... unnecessary. It's fine to demand what you want, but if your partner doesn't meet your standards, maybe get a different partner instead of publicly embarrassing him? While Karen Owen certainly caused a shitstorm and plenty of public embarrassment, at least she says she didn't do so intentionally. Not so for the ladies at MIT.
For their candid conquest-divulging, Ritchie and Gilbert received probation, inspired a protest, and incurred the wrath of then-President Jerome B. Wiesner. Whose name, we should note, didn't appear on the list.