The entire issue of sugar babies is just another sign of how our society is setting younger generations up to fail.
In a sane world, no teenager or young adult should find themselves in a financial situation where they are forced to turn to a total stranger for the necessary funds to support themselves. Of course, not all of the young men and women that use sites such as Seeking Arrangement do it out of desperation – one woman told Vanity Fair last summer that she was simply tired of having to ask her parents for money for designer clothing – but if one person finds they need to seek support in this way, it is one too many.
Although not technically prostitution – many sugar babies and indeed the men and women that use their services are quick to insist that it is about more than just sex – the growth of the two industries come from the same issue; namely that the cost of living has become unmanageably high for many young people. They cannot afford tuition fees and they cannot get jobs without experience, so what alternative is there but to look elsewhere for financial support?
What is worse is that these issues are hardly new and the failure of society to fix them is unlikely to change any time soon. They are symptomatic of the general carelessness of our society about issues that do not seem to be imminent or catastrophic.
Not only does society create circumstances in which young men and women are forced into seeking unconventional methods to support themselves: it does this while judging them for how they do it.
Furthermore, this judgement manifests itself in the most complicated blend of ideals imaginable. There is the sexism that brands the female sugar babies as sluts and the male as effeminate or pathetic – for let us not forget that a high percentage are in fact men. This is a view that is predictable and yet still repellent.
More worrying though, are those who would call themselves feminists and yet rebuke these young people for the way in which they earn their money – blaming them for ‘selling out’, again accusing them of weakness for endeavouring to support themselves. It is an issue young people – especially, it must be admitted, young women – are facing more and more in oday’s society. They are told to support themselves and be independent, only to be treated with contempt whether they are successful or not.
If young people choose to enter this industry, they choose to enter it and that is nobody’s business but their own. At the heart of all conversations about empowering young men and women must be an emphasis on allowing them to make their own decisions whether we approve of them or not. That is not the issue on the table here. The issue is that we live in a society that does not fix circumstances – particularly economic ones – that are forcing young people to become sugar babies and judges them for this all the while.
They are taking away these young people’s choice about how they would use their bodies or their emotions or their time and then judging them for it.
When Vanity Fair conducted the aforementioned article their overwhelming findings were that a great many people who had become sugar babies for financial reasons did not mind the work itself – they would just have rather been able to earn the money for themselves. They would have preferred to live in a society that gave them the choice and did not judge them when that choice was taken away.
Image: Richie Diesterheft