Tag Archives: Mamamia

Who’s Your Daddy?

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WORDS M.K Smith & Regina Featherstone

There is a growth of sugar babies among university students. They provide companionship to sugar daddies or mamas in exchange of tuition fees and/or living expenses. M.K and Regina expose the secret life of these students. As much as the Grapeshot editors are excited at the prospect of a new income stream, we have not forgotten our morality and integrity. 

While we all praise the gloriousness of mi-goreng (which we gave out a lot of during O-Week) and the wondrous day that is ‘Tight-Ass Tuesday’, apparently some students feel more desperate for cash than others. Let’s face it – paying for rent, food, drinks, textbooks, phone bills, transports, gym memberships and costumes for theme-nights at Ubar all adds up. Concerning, isn’t it? Recently mamamia.com.au featured the growing trend of online sugar daddy and sugar baby relationships with an alarmingly growing number of university students participating. It seems immoral for a dating site to provide superficial ‘relationships’ where young adults are paid for sex. However, for some it may actually be a legitimate way to pay their bills – all whilst being wined, dined and sixty-nined (We hope our editors skim over that last bit). You may opt out the sex if you wish, as long as you both agree on each other’s expectations.

The average sugar daddy’s profile tells of his love to travel, exercise, read and converse, all whilst making $5 million a year. He is looking for someone to spend ‘quality’ time with. We’d like to say that the typical sugar daddy is an unlucky-in-love, wealthy silver fox akin to Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, but after our intensive investigation, we found this is simply not true. Sadly, he does not have the hair of Mr Gere, and we’re not too certain on how much he exercises. Often he lists himself as married. He expects his baby to be funny, beautiful, smart and above all else, sexy. When we searched for sugar daddies in Epping and surrounding areas, we received an astounding 1,000 profiles. That’s a lot of rich businessmen searching for a sugar baby, seemingly not too concerned about exposing their private lives. There are also sugar mamas on the site but in far less numbers. Both sugar parents are willing to spend up to $5,000 a month on their babies, which they state clearly at the top of their profiles.

A sugar baby is a young person (predominantly female) financially supported by a sugar daddy or mama in exchange for companionship and ‘intimacy’. You can create a profile by inserting a quick and flirtatious ‘about me’, your nicest selfie and your cash-flow expectation. It must be said that there is no legitimate qualification needed to be a sugar baby. If you are equipped with symmetrical facial features, an amiable personality and prefer to be ‘strapped’ than strapped-for-cash, then perhaps you are sugar baby material. Statistics show that there are over 1,400 Australian university students registered as sugar babies, 42 of whom attend Macquarie University. Look around you Macquarie students, sugar babies walk among us.

Before we all get too bogged down with words like ‘prostitute’, the site assures us that it is a “mutually beneficial agreement” between two consenting adults. The site’s spokesperson argued that the ‘relationship’ distinguishes a sugar baby, who seeks a certain type of relationship, from a prostitute, who conducts a transaction with a customer. We’re not sure if we agree with that. After all prostitution is still a limited relationship where payment for sex is involved. The sugar babies do not get paid until they fulfill their part of the deal regardless of their stimulating conversation.

Comments on Mamamia.com.au show that a lot of people feel uncomfortable with this scenario, they’ve deem it immoral and therefore not ‘hard work’. Many argue that, with the array of honest work, perhaps young men and women become sugar babies for narcissistic and self-indulgent reasons. With prostitution already prevalent in society it is difficult to determine if this arrangement is further decaying societal values due to its premeditated, selected and almost contracted characteristics.

These relationships are mutually agreed upon from the beginning. These young men and women are not Anna-Nicole Smith-league gold diggers; they’re students who want to live a lifestyle that is seemingly unattainable with their current situation. They’re living through the impoverished student phase of their life, and it’s understandable that they would want to take advantage of their youthful vivaciousness while it’s still profitable. For them, keeping up appearances with their sugar daddies may be much easier than doing a thankless shift for minimum wage. Nonetheless, a thankless job doesn’t present potential violence and manipulative control. One sugar daddy profile states that, “I expect our relationship to be exclusive. I am very possessive of my girls.” No doubt his inbox has been flooded.

Individuals enact certain levels of control upon each other, but when you consider the wealth and power of the sugar daddy over their baby, things become lop-sided. It’s difficult to exploit the person who has control over the flux of your finances, and more so to have autonomy when your income is based on how good you look in a rich man’s arm. It’s important to remember that these sugar parents are alone and desperate enough to plaster their name and face all over a website looking for younger partners.

This mutual arrangement website also states that anthropologists would tell us that humans are naturally attracted to wealth, beauty and power. So we asked Dr. Greg Downey, senior anthropology lecturer at Macquarie University, about his thoughts on the matter. He replied, “The desire for something new in sex is also balanced with an appreciation of loyalty and the familiar. For many people (not all), over time, the desire for novelty is less strong than the desire for other sorts of things: consistency, trust, support, etc.” The traits listed by the website are not the only characteristics one looks for in a companion. Sugar daddies are often middle-aged and listed as married or divorced, suggestive of unhappiness in their relationships. Downey explains that places the desire for novelty at the top of the heap.

Pointing out the irony, Downey says that the site itself should be an indicator of negative traits such as incompatibility, untrustworthiness and emotional manipulation. The site seems to slide past any discussion of immorality as the creators have made a closed group for like-minded people where normal checks on behaviour are non-existent. This is shown with one sugar daddy who has recently started experimenting with leather and another who expects his companions to be ready for ‘work’ with a half hour’s notice.

Now before everyone gets too dizzy up there on their high-horse have you stopped and considered whether you, yourself are a sugar baby and perhaps had not realised it? If you have a Centrelink number and receive a lovely addition to your bank account once a fortnight, well dear friend, you are a sugar baby to the biggest sugar daddy, Centrelink. Yes, we play by those government rules, provide our details and report our earning. We bitch and hate the process, yet has any one of us walked in and said, “Hello, I don’t want your money anymore?” No… because most likely the line was too long. Although most have a tale of mistreatment and utter incomprehensible stupidity from Centrelink, we keep coming back and reporting those piddly earnings (unless of course you are a legitimate sugar baby then you probably have more of a cash-in-hand type situation).

Being a sugar baby may be morally questionable but ultimately both parties are exploiting each other’s personal circumstance of loneliness or financial uncertainty. Next time you see everyone dressed up in their graduation outfits, maybe look again to see whether that very affectionate guy is her dad, or sugar daddy.

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Robin Thicke is a Big D

Blurred Lines

M.K Smith

‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke features T.I, Pharrell and, if you believe the media, a lot of problematic imagery. Feminist deconstructions of the song, its NSFW (not safe for work) hypersexual video and Robin Thicke’s contentious comments on the drama have already been done effectively elsewhere on the internet, including a recent article on Mamamia. Comments on Mamamia’s article ranged from feminist outrage, to outrage at feminists. A myriad of comments whined to the effect of, ‘why are they making such a big deal about a sexy, catchy song on the radio?’

I’m not particularly interested in Robin Thicke, nor is ‘Blurred Lines’ on high rotation for me. So I decided to put on my Totally Serious Objective Critic hat and go through this funky mess, reacting to it as if it was said out loud, line by line. Let’s see if it’s as offensive as it’s made out to be.

(The SFW video, for reference purposes)

Pharrell
Everybody get up
Everybody get up
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Hello Pharrell, I’ll get up, because I always nursed a little bit of a crush on you. I can’t believe you’re 40! Anyway, I digress. You look very dashing and shiny. The sock-less, naked ankle look is pretty bold. All these internet people keep saying that this video clip is sexist because it has half naked models writhing around painfully in it, but you’ve dared to bare too! If you were a Victorian woman, you’d be practically unmarriageable.

Robin Thicke
If you can’t hear what I’m trying to say
If you can’t read from the same page
I am both of sound hearing AND literate. Jesus, Robin, I’m just an average woman, not Helen Keller.

Maybe I’m going deaf,
Maybe I’m going blind
Is this health related? Are you okay? Or is this like that trick that serial killers use, where they pretend they’re injured and ask you to help them take groceries to their van?

Maybe I’m out of my mind
That’s a bold thing to say to someone you’ve just met. I’m glad you’re unafraid of the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal, baby it’s in your nature

I don’t know who you’re talking about. Did you see someone following me with the intention to kidnap me? Shit man, that should’ve been the first thing you said to me, instead of assuming that my lady brain can’t read and my lady ears aren’t capable of hearing. That wasn’t very nice. Did you call the police?
Also, you’re correct! Homo Sapiens are indeed animals, even though we have a superiority complex over the rest of the animal kingdom. What a jerk-around species we are.

Just let me liberate you
Hey, hey, hey
This is a strange thing to say to someone whose gender automatically aligns them with the plight of feminism. Go home feminists! We don’t need equal pay or our reproductive rights to stop being constantly threatened worldwide, because Robin Thicke is going to truly liberate us through sex! Thanks Robin Thicke!

You don’t need no papers
Hey, hey, hey
Phew, I was worried I’d need to sign some kind of release promising not to publicise this interaction.

That man is not your maker
Like, Jesus, or? That’s so very secular of you.

And that’s why I’m gon’ take a good girl
You’re going to “take” a little girl? I’m pretty sure abduction is illegal, bro.

I know you want it
What do I want?!

I know you want it
If you’re talking about nachos, yes. If you’re talking about consensual sexual relations with you, then no thank you.

I know you want it
Oh, you’re talking about sex again. I admire your tenacity but it’s still a no.

You’re a good girl
You don’t even know me!

Can’t let it get past me
Well… don’t physically prevent me from leaving. That’s not cool.

You’re far from plastic
Yes, real women are different from the fleshlights that you’ve clearly practiced these lines on.

Talk about getting blasted
I’ve literally never said this in my life. I don’t even know what this means.

I hate these blurred lines
Is your vision still playing up? Because if you’re talking about the ambiguity in our exchange, there is none. I’m finding you a little creepy and I’d like you to stop speaking to me.

I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you’re a good girl
Okay, I’m beginning to understand what’s happening here. You’re assuming that I’m a chained-up sex monster who just needs a man to inform her that it’s fine to have sex without worrying about the confines of social judgement. It’s so nice of you to take sexual imbalance into consideration, Robz. Because YOU know that I just want to be plowed, and this is a service you will provide without even ASKING first. “Girls” who are “good” can’t just have sex, can they? Because broken hymens and autonomy really fuck up that Madonna/whore dichotomy that’s serving our gender so well.

You know, It’s very arrogant to assume that I will want to have sex with you because you’re a physically attractive recipient of nepotism, one with no social qualms at that. You do not get consent through osmosis.

P.S It’s not generally acceptable to use the phrase “I know you want it” to tell women you’re going to sex them real good, especially when it’s so ubiquitous in cases of sexual assault.

The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me
If by “grab” you mean put in a preventative headlock out of self defence, I do think it would be pretty unpleasant. I’m glad I have permission to physically restrain you.

What do they make dreams for
When you got them jeans on
The verdict is still out on the purposes of dreaming, with little empirical data to back up current assumptions on their function for the human brain. But thanks for noticing my jeans. I got them from Glassons. I feel both comfortable and confident enough to fight patriarchal values when I wear them.

What do we need steam for
Nothing? Is this a statement or a question?

You the hottest bitch in this place
I bet this line KILLS at the Westminster Dog Show.

I feel so lucky
Hey, hey, hey
You wanna hug me
Hey, hey, hey
What rhymes with hug me?
Drug me??? You’re not very good at reading social cues and body language because I really would prefer if I never had to embrace you, ever.

Hey, hey, hey
Yeah, hi again. Don’t pretend that we haven’t been speaking all this time.

OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal, baby it’s in your nature
Just let me liberate you
Hey, hey, hey
You don’t need no papers
Hey, hey, hey
That man is not your maker
Hey, hey, hey
Bit repetitive there, mate. You’re the deaf one, not me.

And that’s why I’m gon’ take a good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You’re a good girl
Can’t let it get past me
You’re far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I hate them lines
I know you want it
I hate them lines
I know you want it
You sound like a men’s rights activist with a poor grasp on grammar. Please stop.

But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me
I just… yeah. Okay.

T.I.
One thing I ask of you
Let me be the one you back that ass to

I don’t even know what this means. You’re not making a good first impression T.I.

Yo, from Malibu, to Paribu
Yeah, had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you
Yo. Wait, am I a good girl or a bad bitch? Are there only two options? All this policing of my virtuousness is getting tired, you guys.

So hit me up when you passing through
I wouldn’t mind hitting you upside the face with my fist.

I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two
WHOA, WHOA SLOW DOWN THERE PAL. That is a reeeally creepy thing to offer someone you’ve just met (outside of an S&M club). This sounds incredibly painful, like an injury that could possibly require butt reconstructive surgery and a court case. I don’t understand why anyone could not take this line as lighthearted banter! It’s totally not a genuine representation of rape culture in mainstream music! This is a totally ok thing to say!

Swag on, even when you dress casual
I mean it’s almost unbearable

It really is these jeans that are giving me a serious case of the swags. I was just telling Robin that I got them from Glassons. I like to think they give me a cool, undone look for when I’m macing sexual predators like you in empty car parks.

Then, honey you’re not there when I’m
With my foresight bitch you pay me by
This is the most confusing line of slam poetry I’ve ever heard. Andrea Gibson weeps. And please stop calling me a bitch.

Nothing like your last guy, he too square for you
He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that
You just don’t know that. Unless… have you been watching me T.I? Are you the one Robin was talking about before? What you’re doing is called stalking. Don’t do that.

So I just watch and wait for you to salute
This kind of behaviour is not helping the stalking case that’s quickly mounting against you.

But you didn’t pick
Not many women can refuse this pimpin’
I don’t understand what any of this means. What didn’t I “pick”? You? Well I certainly wouldn’t pick you, you rapey weirdo.  Please don’t brag about controlling prostitutes through violent and menacing ways. It’s making me uncomfortable.

I’m a nice guy, but don’t get it if you get with me
A “nice guy”? Are you a men’s right activist too? You’re going to complain about bitches putting you in the friendzone when I finish rejecting you, aren’t you? It kind of sounds like you’re going to stop being nice to me if I have consensual sexual relations with you. Have you ever spoken to a woman before?

Robin Thicke
Shake the vibe, get down, get up
Do it like it hurt, like it hurt

Is shaking the vibe a euphemism that I don’t understand? I don’t want to get hurt Robin, please don’t hurt me.

What you don’t like work?
Duh. Nobody likes to work, dummy.

Baby can you breathe? I got this from Jamaica
It always works for me Dakota to Decatur, uh huh

I feel like you’re talking about a marijuana cigarette here, because the only time Jamaica comes up in pop-culture is to reference drugs and 1993 feel-good movie Cool Runnings. I was right before, you ARE trying to drug me. I see that you’re bragging about drugging and asphyxiating women in countless locations before. That doesn’t sound legal.

No more pretending
Hey, hey, hey

Yep, you got me. This vaguely horrified attitude has all been a ruse. Take me now, Robin Thicke!

Cause now you winning
I really don’t feel like there are any winners in this scenario.

Hey, hey, hey
Here’s our beginning

Yes, this could be the beginning of a lengthy and arduous lawsuit if you do not stop harassing me.

I always wanted a good girl
You do know that obedient children are not pets, right?

I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You’re a good girl
Can’t let it get past me
You’re far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
There are no “blurred lines” here. You keep saying “I know you want it”, your desires are clear. You’re just confused because I keep saying no. 

I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me
Sigh.

Pharrell
Everybody get up
Everybody get up
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Yes, hello Pharell. I heard you the first time. Don’t tell me what to do; I’m too exhausted being disappointed by pop music’s blasé attitude towards women’s sexuality. This is good ol’ sexism wrapped up in a catchy beat and handsome men in suits. ‘Blurred Lines’ is not the most problematic song ever released about the sexuality of women, and it’s probably not even the most objectifying music video that’s ever been released. But this song, and its acceptance by society, is pathetic. If liberation comes from men telling you that you should just sex with them, then gee fellow women, I guess we’ve been liberated since right around the beginning of time.

‘Blurred Lines’ sucks. The outrage is acceptable.

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