Friday, 28 October 2011

Sugar Daddies to share their "generosity"

               Sugar Daddy Parties are, apparently, a phenomenon sweeping America. The idea is that hoards of attractive young women and a handful of rich and lonely men are placed face-to-face in a nightclub and told, “Men, you know what to do, women, receive their generosity. We will touch you with passion and fire all night long.” No, really. And guess what, ladies: it’s been revealed this week that the people of Britain, too, will be able to become Sugar Daddies and…whatever their female counterpart can be called. May I offer: prostitute?

                The scheme’s creator, Alan Schneider, has said that “traditional relationships of men being the provider and women being the caretaker of the family are coming back now”, apparently “because of the economy”. Ah, yes. Those 1.05 million unemployed women in Britain, stuck on Job Seekers Allowance or having been forced to quit the workforce because of the vast cost of childcare…I’m sure these women, in their “traditional relationships”, would be happy to be compared to those “traditional relationships” cultivated at Sugar Daddy Parties, in which women are offered $500 per meeting to participate.
                Explain, please, Mr Schneider, how these women are not being made into prostitutes. The argument seems to be that these “relationships” are in fact a great thing for women: as the BBC helpfully details, women like Monique look on it as an “almost inspirational thing”, a way in which to “advance” themselves: “It’s not just about the money, it’s about what a successful person can do for you.” A lot of blog posts and comment articles generated by the issue will, inevitably, tend to favour the view that the men here are entirely to blame, that the women are being taken advantage of, forcibly degraded by their apparently poor financial situation. I’d have to disagree. There are two issues running parallel here: that of the women who are being taken advantage of, having internalised society’s objectification of women to the degree that they’ve come to view themselves as objects to be bought and sold; then there’s the issue of the women who feel that they’re empowering themselves by effectively making use of these feckless rich men by taking their money and using them as leverage for advancement.
Objectify me, I deserve it
The crucial question is whether society – and the media’s attitude to women – is ultimately to blame for the fact that these women degrade themselves in this way. One woman at an event says she’s looking for “a boyfriend who’s willing to help me out”, “like a regular boyfriend but richer”. Her view is, I imagine, representative of many women who participate in the Sugar Daddy Parties. There doesn’t seem to be a realisation that these men aren’t “regular” boyfriends; they’re someone who believes that they can buy your affections with jewellery and a regular hefty wodge of cash. There’s no equality in this relationship, no mutual respect. The women enter the deal at a disadvantage, controlled by the men whose favours they rely on.
This is symptomatic of women being exposed to objectification for so long that they no longer recognise sexism when they encounter it. Not only are these women degrading themselves in their own eyes, but they’re also in the revolting position of being degraded in the eyes of the very men who are degrading them, because of the very fact that they’re submitting to degradation. These attitudes create a vicious cycle, and one in which women are always the losers, while men just sit back and watch.
This generation – the generation that is beginning to make its mark on the world, and that will soon take the reigns – must guard against the spread of this kind of attitude. In protecting against the rise of a Sugar Daddy mentality, young women and men must work together so that both parties are clear that women aren’t to be objectified. Young women must be ever-watchful for the creeping infection of objectification, one to which we are just as susceptible as men.

1 comment:

  1. I'm surprised that more of the UK papers haven't picked up on this story, our very own bunga-bunga parties. The re-emergence of the meatmarket (did it ever go away?) is a sad comment on our times. As ever, while most young women in the west believe themselves to be equal and free, it only takes a shift in the economy to illustrate the real power imbalance.