Why the Glorification of the Sugar Baby is Bothersome

I can’t tell if it makes me a good or bad feminist.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

There are times when I see, hear, or read something and have a gut reaction that I have to check. The hair on the back of my neck stands up and I wonder how much of my reaction is justified and how much is based on a belief system I once held as true but no longer do.

I question everything. The difficulty is that I have to stop and figure out how I genuinely feel versus how “my side” should feel. As a Democrat, there are ideas I should support, but I don’t. As a feminist, there are concepts I should positively embrace, but I don’t. I want to stand on my own beliefs rather than ones dictated to me.

Right now, there is an inner war waging in my head over the glorification of the Sugar Baby. As a feminist, I struggle with it. I feel like I should support all women, but I can’t. Not with this.

The idea of a Sugar Baby/Sugar Daddy relationship certainly isn’t anything new. It is, however, far more present in the media than it has ever been, especially from the Sugar Baby side.

There are Instagram accounts showing pictures of lavish gifts and trips, entire blogs and podcasts dedicated to how to be one, a website on which to find one, and a litany of articles detailing how much money they make and for what.

Nothing about this feels liberating at all. Actually, it feels awful.

As I’ve grappled with this, I’ve tried to figure out what is so off-putting to me. If I’m going to put my stake in the ground and declare myself philosophically opposed to something, I better damn well be able to explain why. It turns out, I have a lot of reasons why.

It reinforces the superficial value of external beauty. It glorifies the completely misogynistic idea that women are dolls in human form to be dressed up and taken out. Not only that but it sends a message to women who aren’t drop-dead-gorgeous that they are stuck having to make due while beautiful creatures use their faces as a privilege to pull themselves ahead.

I’m sorry, Susan, we understand that you are also burdened down with student loan debt. However, we regret to inform you that you are not hot enough to be granted forgiveness from those loans by virtue of your face. Please feel free to visit us again should you get plastic surgery. Have a nice day.

It’s ruthlessly sexist to men. What every article glorifying this concept as liberating is doing is shoving us backward by normalizing the idea that men’s worth is solely tied to their wallets.

Having been single for years, I know that most single women are not the shallow kind that just want superficiality but it’s hard to convince men otherwise when they see article after article about how these beautiful, young women beeline straight to rich men.

For me, equality means not only standing up for ourselves but standing as an ally to others. I feel it’s important for me, as a woman and a feminist, to be an ally to men. This is not being an ally to men. We can do better.

It’s not sex work so I’ve moved past the idea of it being sex-positive. In much of the media I’ve consumed about this, one thing seems to be reinforced repeatedly: it’s not about the sex. Being sex-positive is liberating and empowering. With that, I fully agree and I feel that banishing the concept of slut-shaming, and the term completely, to the far ends of the Earth would serve us well.

This is not that. I’m sure sex happens but I can’t see it happening as a means to liberate or empower anyone involved.

Yes, we all understand that Sugar Daddy/Sugar Baby relationships are transactional. That doesn't make me feel any better. I’ve come to a point in my life where transactional relationships feel awful to me in any form. It is my moral high ground and I feel no shame standing there. It’s a weird offshoot of my empathetic nature that I see transactional relationships, superimpose myself into them, and then feel a horrible emptiness.

I am too fond of the human soul for this not to be excruciating. I’m not saying that all people should share and bend to my beliefs. I am simply asking mine to be understood just the same.

Let’s be clear, I understand these relationships have always and will always exist. I realize it is an agreement between two consenting adults that are free to make their own choices in the world. This is not what I take exception with.

The issue I’m having is with the glorification of it. I hate that normalizing this is creating the idea that it’s a solid career option for young women. It’s not employment. It’s not mentoring. It’s degrading.

Providing education about a concept in order to debunk thoughts around it is one thing. When you start creating blogs and podcasts to serve as tutorials, you’re selling something.

Written by

Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, I won’t stop taking pictures of my drinks. vanessaltorre@gmail.com IG: vanessaltorre

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