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Sugar Babies: Can money buy you love?

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James Pidduck argues that while the “sugar baby” database may seem like harmless fun to some, these sites fundamentally present women as a commodity to men.

Following the news that the University of Exeter has climbed 7 places in the list of Fastest Growing Sugar Baby Schools, it has to be debated as to why Exeter’s female students are drawn to this controversial money-spinner.

Photo Credit: .imelda via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: .imelda via Compfight cc

While it is widely acknowledged that university fees are at an all-time high, with student debt ruthlessly eating away at our overdrafts, turning to an online benefactor online cannot be the only way to combat this.

Money woes are an issue for the majority of students: some find a part-time job between their studies, some may tutor or be extra frugal, whilst the more aesthetically pleasing of us can apparently welcome around £5,000 a month into our bank account on SeekingArrangement.com, the source of this survey and a leading “sugar daddy” site.

While the “sugar baby” database may seem like harmless fun to some, these sites fundamentally present women as a commodity to men: something that can be bought for the right price, the right designer handbag, or the right bottle of champagne.

It focuses on the superficial nature of attraction, suggesting to impressionable individuals that sexual chemistry is merely a concoction of a platinum credit card and a pretty cocktail dress.

Research studies continue to alarm us with young girls who dream of careers as glamour models and WAGs, and if this culture of “sugar babies” continues to grow, it may not be too long before girls start dreaming of life as a “sugar baby” in the playground – placing their prospects and goals in the hands of men and allowing a bulging wallet to determine their destiny. When walking into the most exclusive London club on the arm of an affluent male is at risk of becoming more attractive than being an independent, self-sufficent bigshot, you know we’re on shaky ground.

Even the term “sugar baby” itself seems derogatory. It expresses an imbalance of power – one as the parental figure of guidance in charge, with the other merely obeying and inferior. No real relationships should be so openly imbalanced in this way. Money can rarely buy love.

While some may claim that this system is empowering to women, taking control of their sexuality to exploit the lonely, rich man, the exact requirements of what is required to enable this transaction is shady stuff. If strictly platonic relationships are more than welcome than this whole concept seems a lot less predatory, however, a sexual pressure seems more than likely to be placed on these girls – you have to wonder what the men are paying for otherwise.

James Pidduck

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