Recently, 60 minutes, aired a segment titled: The Secret World of Sugar Babies and Sugar Daddies. As one would expect from vanilla mainstream media — the producers at 60 Minutes decided to make the segment into a judgement call instead of presenting a balanced foray into a mysterious world.
In the introduction, journalist Sarah Abo manages to age-shame, slut-shame, and throw in a creamy dollop of sexism for good measure. She begins:
Right now in Australia, there are more than 200,000 young women who have either become, or are trying to be, “sugar babies”. Their ambition is for a sweet life of pampered luxury, paid for by older, sometimes much older, men.
For the so-called “sugar daddies”, the equation is simple: the wealthier they are, the more attractive they are. The term sugar baby is often code for sex worker, and the moneybag men are often crinkled-up creeps. And that leads to a very important question: is this sugar baby phenomenon about empowering women or exploiting them?
Pushing Abo’s condescending tone to the side. Can you imagine the outrage that would unfold if a male journalist referred to ‘older women’ as saggy, dried up old bats?
Since when did it become okay to shame men for simply having the audacity to age? And what’s wrong with greying hair and some character lines? I personally find it sexy and have done since I started masturbating as a teen girl.
60 Minutes intention was to demonise ‘sugar’ arrangements. The show also implies that women aren’t smart enough to make their own choices and require schooling by those outside the parameters of their own experience.
It seems Australia has bred a passel of holier-than-thou women who enjoy imposing their definition of ‘female empowerment’ on to others. Female sexuality is frequently reduced. Blokes are perceived as sexually entitled wolves, whilst women are desireless vessels devoid of sexual agency. This is connected to the myth that women spread their legs for love, for intimacy and for commitment but never just for pleasure or money.
The 60 Minutes sensationalist enquiry into the world of sugar babies and sugar daddies could have been so strong. Instead, the audience received gender biased rubbish.
Who says a woman can’t participate in a sugar arrangement and not feel empowered? Are we not autonomous beings who know our own minds? What is it with the constant infantilisation of sexual women? I’m so fed up with it. I’m done!
As it is, hardcore porn is considered degrading to women and somehow only for the male gaze yet the denial of women’s fierce and truculent sexual fantasies is actually a form of censorship.
#MeToo has screwed with women’s heads so much, that they can no longer decipher between a bumbling sexual experience and a sexual assault.
And now we want to vilify women who make their own informed choice to enter a sugar arrangement, are you kidding me?
Abo played the ‘prudish old spinster’ who judges women for taking an unconventional route, then smugly dismisses them with a smirk when they attempt to articulate their personal journeys.
But the hypocrisy of Abo and female commentators like her — is breathtaking. These women stand up in their supposed ‘feminist power’ calling out structural inequalities and stigmatising sugar babies. Yet they fail to recognise that whoredom surrounds them in their everyday lives.
Whether you’re a wife, a journalist, a banker, an actress, a celebrity — we all participate in ‘transactions’ every day. Every single one of us is exploited in our battle to get ahead in this shitfight called life.
I mean a bloke buys his wife a bouquet of flowers to have a tickle between the sheets when the sun goes down. What’s that? It’s a transaction.
Before singling out sugar babies. Perhaps look around at women in the Australian entertainment industry:
- Do you think male Australian billionaires would get model wives if they were garbage collectors?
- Do you think the trophy wives in Toorak and Peppermint Grove would have married their hubbies if they worked at KFC?
- Do you think AFL sports stars would get cover girls if they were toilet cleaners?
- Do you think anyone would give a rat’s arse about celebrities if they were the homeless on the streets?
Of course not. So why doesn’t the mainstream media cover the exploitation of these men and women who are participating in the same transactions as sugar babies?
Just because you’ve managed to hook a rich bloke or a sport’s star. Just because you’ve had the privilege to work in the mainstream media because someone higher up the foodchain bent you over and metaphorically fucked you up the arse, (as employers have been doing for years).
Never fool yourself into believing that you are better than sugar babies and sugar daddies. You’re a whore like the rest of us and you are being exploited.
Vanessa de Large is a freelance journalist, sex columnist and public speaker that divides her time between London and Melbourne. You can find more of her work on her website.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.