153 Cardiff students signed up to be Sugar Babies last year, according to SeekingArrangements.
The world’s largest Sugar Daddy dating site has just released its annual report of the Fastest Growing Sugar Babies School. The current total of Sugar Babies registered to study at Cardiff University is 201.
The website is promoting its unions as ‘modern relationships with traditional values’. Their website calls a Sugar Baby ‘an individual seeking a real relationship, mentorship, and support.’
The modern relationship is described as a couple who can be the role of a supporting and romantic partner, whilst not stifling ambition or personal growth.
The site is specifically targeting university students for their clients. Students are even offered a free premium membership if they sign up with their university email address.
The company insists they aren’t marketing women, rather connecting them with affluent people.
However, Sugar Daddy’s role is defined as a lover, mentor and potential future investor for the Sugar Baby. The site calls him a ‘Successful Member’.
Meanwhile, a Sugar Baby is advertised as an attractive woman who enjoys the finer things in life. The site calls her an ‘Attractive Member’.
The juxtaposition of viewing the man as the affluent provider compared to the woman as an object of the male gaze reduces the woman to a commodity to be sold.
However, does ‘selling herself’ empower a woman or promote the message that she cannot be accomplished without the help of a ‘Successful Member’?
University is expensive. Today’s students face the burden of financing tuition fees, living costs and study materials.
An average undergraduate degree costs £27,000 for three years for tuition.
On average, a Sugar Baby earns £2190 as an allowance. This is around double what a student can expect to earn at a part-time job on minimum wage.
In addition, while loans from Student Finance are an option, the interest rates make the loan almost impossible repay.
Currently, the interest on the loan of a Welsh student is Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3%, so 6.3% per year.
Once a student graduates, the interest is between 3-6.3% per year, depending on their income.
The students at Cardiff University make up a fraction of the 475,320 students in the UK signed up to the service.
Now, the website is also targeting University-bound students.
By enticing young women to sign up before even attempting to make a go at it alone, they are promoting the message that a woman needs a man to be a success.