First, it was a US-founded sugar daddy site which apparently had “survey” data that showed Malaysia had the third highest number of sugar daddies in Asia at 42,500, behind India’s 338,000 and Indonesia’s 60,250.
A local sugar daddy site decided it needed to up the ante with its own public relations blast, and suddenly we’re seeing “news reports” and infographics on how much a “sugar baby” can expect to earn and which universities have the highest numbers of such young ladies.
I am deliberately not naming either site or company nor am I providing the relevant links to these reports because that would play into their game, which is to amplify brands and platforms that exploit young women. Just look at the number of shares across social media on these “findings”.
It is a massive effort to normalise their questionable business, which is to get older men to pay for the “companionship” of younger women. Sure, some of these women perhaps just desire the perks that come with a wad of disposable cash – but some are those who are in desperate need of financial aid.
We used to have different term for this.
In fact, I was even doubtful that I should write this, but finally decided that the potential damage to many a young woman’s life made it imperative that this is brought to light.
I have nothing against two consenting adults doing naughty things if they want to. However, the US site seemed to think that women desperate for funds is fine, saying in a statement that “countries with high-tertiary education penetration rates were proven to be more vulnerable to this trend (sugar daddies)”, and that “Malaysia recorded an outstanding debt of RM39bil in student loans as of 2018”.
So, apparently, it was doing this to “connect young and empowered women with wealthier, more affluent men who not only bolster their financial woes but act as a mentor or gateway in catapulting a promising future ...”.
The local company, when it was embroiled in a billboard controversy a few years ago, said its platform “empowers” women and gives them freedom.
And it seems to have a lot of money for its questionable marketing blitzes, which have been brilliantly exposed on Malaysian Reddit by an admin known as u/dcx.
Here’s the thing: any relationship, even a merely transactional one, in which there is a severe imbalance of power is inherently an exploitative one. Which means it is open to abuse.
So, sugar daddy sites, you’re not empowering or uplifting women. You’re exploiting them and opening them to abuse.