It's a sign of the times. In many large cities, businesses have taken it upon themselves to make sure cuddling and hugs are commodified. Meanwhile sites for "sugar babies" seeking "sugar daddies" have become some commonplace that "lifestyle dating strategists" and other supposed experts have gathered at the Sugar Baby Summit to speak on panels on topics as diverse as proper networking in the sugar baby lifestyle, questions of money and even the #MeToo movement.
One of the panels at the latest Sugar Baby Summit featured Tasmin Smith, marketing consultant and rape survivors advocate. Smith accused Hollywood of hypocrisy in dealing with #MeToo and feels "sugar babies" are being unduly blamed of excusing bad behavior in men.
“They sat next to these men at tables at the Oscars! They sat and they took the awards from men they accused. And yet sugar babies are going to be put under scrutiny?"
A "veteran sugar baby" named Sara-Kate put more weight on the women involved, "Women have more power over the Harvey Weinsteins of the world than they think they do."
The summit was hosted by Seeking Arrangement, a site dedicated to connecting sugar babies with sugar daddies. As sugar babies share their experience (expensive gifts, exorbitant living allowances, tuition payments and more) other girls consider the lifestyle. The site seems especially interested in recruiting students. In fact, special status is offered to sugar babies who sign up using a .edu email address). Currently, millions of young girls are turnin to Sugar Daddies to help support their college and life expenses through the Seeking Arrangements site.
The theme of the 2018 summit was "empowerment" giving a nod to the feminism, but the idea of young, impressionable women learning how to please older, more successful males for the purpose of being financially supported seems somewhat at odds with traditional ideas about success or even personal agency.
The CEO of the site offers the same answer when asked to defend the business model of Seeking Arrangements: Men want beautiful women, and women want men who can provide."
<blockquote>“[Sugar dating] is not necessarily a man taking on a specific role,” he explained, pointing out that there are also LGBTQ couples and “sugar mummies” on the site.
But, he added: “From a biological standpoint, our DNA is programmed a certain way. Humans evolve a certain way, and that’s why we still have that caveman/cavewoman mentality at the end of the day. So in that sense, the answer’s yes.”</blockquote>
Industrialization and the "networking" of the world with the internet and social media have been leading to a situation of continuing depersonalization and disconnection from one's self and society as a whole. As this situation deepens the result is more despair and loneliness. Seeking solace in the wrong places will only create more despair.