Stanfield: Sugar Babies could be step back for women

Arisson Stanfield

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by T              he Collegian or its editorial board.

Many college women are seeking to acquire an income by selling their time and affection and becoming a Sugar Baby. A sugar baby is someone willing to trade their romantic interest for financial compensation. Compensation can range from thousands of dollars in monthly payments to extravagant trips and gifts.

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There are risks to such arrangements and while being a Sugar baby is certainly not illegal, there are reasons why one should think twice before seeking the life of luxury it seems to offer.

While sugaring certainly offers many fiscal benefits, it also comes with its fair share of dangers. Both sugar babies and their would-be partners are frequently targets of scammers.

Sugar babies may be asked to send explicit pictures in order to prove their worth to sugar daddies who have no interest in continuing the relationship afterward. Sugar babies may find partners who create the illusion of wealth but in reality, cannot provide the lifestyle they advertise.

Maddison argues that sites such as SeekingArrangements.com help reduce the risk of scamming. However, her perspective runs in opposition to actual reports from The Seeking Arrangements 2017 Summit at which sugar babies were told that “rich men are least likely to post the correct sums,” on their profile.

Sugar baby Emma Gammer, who facilitated the session on profiles, stated that “rich men probably won’t have a profile picture as they’re the ones with something to lose if people find out they’re on the site.” According to actual sugar babies working with the most popular platform for their lifestyle, the industry is still rife with confusion, deceit, and risk.

The risks of sugaring are not only fiscal, these arrangements put sugar babies at risk physically.

National Director of World Without Exploitation Lauren Hersh states that “(T)here’s an expectation that the buyer or the sugar daddy can do whatever he wants, so very often we hear there’s extraordinary violence when the door gets shut.” 

“(T)here’s an expectation that the buyer or the sugar daddy can do whatever he wants, so very often we hear there’s extraordinary violence when the door gets shut'”- Lauren Hersh

Making a relationship into a financial transaction can create arrangements where men feel as though they are owed something by women; implying to some that women are something to be bought and used. More worryingly, it may also make women feel pressured to gratify their partners sexual needs regardless of what their own interest and desires are. 

Sugar babies also run the risk of working against their own best interest. Opportunity cost is what one loses out on when choosing one course of action over another.The time spent seeking a financially gratifying relationship is the same time that could be spent pursuing a relationship rooted in romance or pursuing a different, more stable career field. 

The pursuit of fast cash through sugaring comes at the expense of developing skills that could better serve one in the future. If one spends their time learning how to use their looks to secure financial stability what are they to do when their attractiveness inevitably fades?

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This is an issue that will disproportionately affect women as studies show that men’s attractiveness tends to be correlated with how dominant women perceive them to be. This is not necessarily the case for women whose attractiveness can be correlated more purely with physical appearance and is therefore more susceptible to decline with age.

Thompson argues that sugaring provides a way for liberated women to explore romance and capitalism in a way that is autonomous and self-directed. At the same time, this line of work seems to subvert The Women’s Progressive Society’s assessment that there is a, “necessity [for the] financial independence of all women.”

Being a sugar baby paradoxically promotes traditional heteronormative power structures and relationship arrangements. At the same time it is the free choice of countless young women and, for many, is a fast route to honest money that is under their control.

The clear presence of alluring benefits and the risk of pernicious cost make this a topic that cannot go undiscussed in our universities and the larger society. Students interested in gaining more perspective on this issue and other related topics may find the resources they need within Colorado State University’s Women and Gender Advocacy Center and the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research.

Arisson Stanfield can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on twitter @OddestOdyssey