Thursday, December 30, 2021

Sugar Babies Anonymous

In the words of the preacher, from the book of Ecclesiastes:

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

In the past human sexuality involved rules and roles. This has been true in particular for women. The role of wife stands out, for obvious reasons, but roles like courtesan, concubine, mistress and favorite belong on the list. And then there are the demimondaine, the escort, the everyday prostitute and even the groupie. 

To that list modern feminism has added a new one: the sugar baby.

Obviously, playing any one of these roles involves playing by certain rules. The concubine or the courtesan or the mistress involved herself in something like an exclusive relationship with a married man. At a time when marriages were arrangements, it made sense that men would seek romantic love outside of the bounds of the conjugal bed. Institutionalized adultery flourished in cultures where people married for prestige and power and property.

For the most part throughout most of human history marriages have been arrangements. Only with the advent of Protestantism and especially of Puritanism was marriage seen to be necessarily involving romantic love. This required cultures to stigmatize adultery. The reason was simple: marriages were supposed to be based on love and banning adultery protected women. It also made for a more stable social structure, and we know that social stability is slightly more important than how or where anyone is finding sexual pleasure.

The demimondaine was another version of the mistress. She was a kept woman, a woman who was supported financially by a man.

Of course, the roles of mistress and prostitute were often confused. Before we had sugar daddy sites, there were procuresses who arranged relationships that were more than simple sex work. As happened in France, when Madame Claude was the leading madam, she insisted that her women were well brought up, educated and socially sophisticated. A man could go out in public with the right kind of call girl, and, rumor around Paris has it that more than a few men married women provided by Madame Claude. These girls were what we now, somewhat loosely, call escorts.

Whether or not one wants to call it sex work, with all of the vulgar connotations, the truth is that these relationships were always about more than sex. In today’s world, liberated women seem more and more willing to engage in such relationships, first because they do not involve the threat of marriage or of pregnancy; and second, because they allow women a way to enhance their career prospects.

Moreover, dare we mention, that the hookup culture spawned by feminism has basically been pimping out young women. That means, enticing women to give it away for free. When you have been exploring your adolescent sexuality by giving it away for free to boys you barely know, the notion of being paid for it becomes more enticing.

Anyway, an article in Unherd lays out the issue, so to speak, beginning with a party on a yacht off the coast of Sardinia:

They were either still in college or freshly out of it. But the reason they, rather than the young man, were able to go yachting off Sardinia while sipping Dom PĂ©rignon was because rich older men ­had hired them to come on a luxury holiday with them. The job — look hot, be nice, and be ready to accommodate more without crying assault — is called sugaring. It is — though sugar daddies or babies might not admit it — sex work. My friend betrayed no sense of surprise at the arrangement; such things had, he explained, become totally normal in his age group.

There’s the kicker-- these arrangements have become perfectly normal for liberated young women. The author calls it sex work, but, as noted, it ought to be distinguished from common prostitution. 

Unlike traditional sex work, it’s popular among young women at elite institutions; destined for fine careers, they nonetheless see it as a time-efficient way to offload student debt and, as Molly, a 22-year sugar baby who read PPE at Oxford, told me, “get a taste of luxury”. In 2019, nearly 1000 students at Cambridge were signed up to Seeking Arrangements, the top sugar-brokering site in the Anglosphere. According to the site’s 2020 annual report, the number of university students in the UK seeking a sugar daddy, or a sugar mommy, increased 36% from 2018 to 2019.

The best and the brightest young women, the product of five decades of feminism, are now working as demimondaines.

Why did this happen. It was caused by….

two profound and rather shocking shifts. One: that dating, with all its messiness and the in-built possibility (if things go well) of an actual relationship — complete with compromise, give and take, and real intimacy — has imploded. And two: that feminism has morphed from a movement with ideals — which envisioned, for instance, a socialist world in which women might be free from sex work — into a hard-nosed, misandric, mercenary pragmatism.

It happens when the rubber meets the road, or, in less vulgar terms, when feminist ideals are forced to deal with reality. This means that it is based on a fundamental hatred of the males of the species.

But those of the present wave see men as pathetic, selfish, hard work — and only good for two things: sex and cash.

“All the sugar babies I know consider themselves feminists,” said Molly. “But it’s more misandry than feminism. It’s ‘men are scum’. Both parties sort of despise each other.” Aria, 25, a Cornell graduate currently in law school in DC, has been on Seeking Arrangements for five years. She, too, despises her clients, telling me over WhatsApp video from a Balkan city: “Men are nothing. They’re just fucking idiots. The hardest thing about being a sugar baby is pretending to give a shit what these older men have to say. Older men are so archaic and out of it.”

Of course, these men are mostly playing by the rules of a game that feminists concocted. Who else taught them to be scum? Moreover, considering how much these young feminists despise men, why would men treat them well? And if these women do not respect themselves, why would men respect them?

One notes that the notion of getting married and having a family does not belong within the equation. Anything is better than the role of-- wife.

Feminism made this bed, and now young women have to deal with it:

The callous terrain created by ten years of dating apps and misapplied “sex positivity” seems to have rendered physical intimacy a shiny token whose value lies in shifting the needle of power up or down, while the relationship of sex to things like romance or affection has been cauterised. Increasingly, relationships are seen as exchange mechanisms. 

When women do not want to become wives, they will be treated accordingly. Nothing very surprising there.

Besides, in a meme that has been around town for decades now, young feminists have been taught that all sex with men is a monetary transaction, that it is all about whoring, not loving. Thus, sugar babying is more honest. Having given it away for free, women think that it’s a step up to be paid handsomely for sex:

 In a twisted reinterpretation of that sociology, nowadays “women my age see all relationships as sexual labour,” says Molly. “Why not get paid for it?” She points out that Twitter is full of women who think men should pay a deposit before they go on a date with them. Aria put it more scathingly still: “Men have a dearth of people they can share their feelings with… Thanks a lot toxic masculinity. So if I’m performing all this emotional labour — if I have to listen to a man complain for an hour — I should get $500.”

Naturally, feminists blame men. They have no awareness of the fact that feminism threw away the rule book of courtship behavior and that now young women are suffering the consequences:

Beneath the reasoning of many sugar babies’ testimonies lies a terrible disappointment with how men are, and, one might infer, a desire to be treated considerately, tenderly by them. Molly sugared because she was “broke” but “at the back of your mind you think, well, you’re going to get treated badly anyway…”

Columnist Zoe Strimpel does not think of it as quite as empowering as some of the sugar babies do. Besides, for the purposes of this blog, she points out that these sugar babies also function as therapists. She does not question whether or not they are licensed and credentialed:

However lucrative, helpful, easy, or apparently “empowered”, life as a sugar baby erodes a woman’s sense of self. But if the women are losing something wholesome, the men seem to be gaining, even gobbling it. After all, sugar daddying is about more than renting a hot body. It’s also about getting a friendly, sexy therapist; someone who will listen, even nurture. Sometimes the men just want friends. Aria’s political lobbyist prefers office gossip to sex, which fades into the background when they’re together, taking up “less than five minutes” of a three-hour session.

And also, as Strimpel sagely points out, the #MeToo movement has contributed mightily to the sugar baby phenomena. Now that intelligent and functioning males have ceased mentoring young women-- it is just too risky-- women have adapted by parlaying their assets as sugar babies. They get to meet successful professional men, men who will help them to advance their careers, in exchange for an occasional tryst. If the men are married they are more than happy to help these women to work their way up the corporate ladder. It’s better than breaking up their homes:

But MeToo also had a profound effect on the professional landscape by effectively ending male-female mentoring. “A lot of older men are reluctant to reach out to you now [on a professional basis],” notes Molly, who says that the “best gift” is a man using their contacts to “get you access to an industry”. By establishing the sexual utility of the young woman and professional value of the older man at the outset, the sugaring relationship circumvents the nasty power play pinpointed by MeToo.

Of course, there is another feminist option, made strikingly manifest in the behavior of one Hillary Clinton. While you were in college learning how to whine and complain about the male gaze, what about the dread female gaze?


Lance Sterling said...

Oooo, Hillary, I'll bet your thing is bigger than mine!

IamDevo said...

2 Timothy 3, 1-8:
But understand this: In the last days terrible times will come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these! They are the kind who worm their way into households and captivate vulnerable women who are weighed down with sins and led astray by various passions, who are always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses,a so also these men oppose the truth. They are depraved in mind and disqualified from the faith.

David Foster said...

"The callous terrain created by ten years of dating apps and misapplied “sex positivity” seems to have rendered physical intimacy a shiny token whose value lies in shifting the needle of power up or down, while the relationship of sex to things like romance or affection has been cauterised."

This phenomenon is not only about sex/relationships. The 'Woke" brigade have attempted to convert ALL aspects of human life, whether science or math or music or art or literatures, as being about nothing but power struggles.