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) in the direction of this essay about online dating.
In the past year, a quarter of a million students in the UK are said to have signed up to become “sugar babies”, a marketing euphemism referring to those who are paid for their company by rich “sugar mummies and daddies”.
According to the annual review of Seeking Arrangement.com, which was founded in 2006 and is now the world’s largest sugar daddy dating site, more than 225,000 students registered on its site in the UK in 2015. This figure goes up to two million at the world scale.
So my interest in these two texts in coordination with online dating and my own experience of it lies in the question of material alienation in its most abstract sense (is it absolute?
24 per cent are from low income backgrounds, while 56 per cent are from middle and upper-middle class families. The statistics on their spending are very telling – far from living a luxurious life, the “sugar babies” seem to spend the money to cover their basic needs.
(Though, in truth, this essay merely defends the ambiguous status of online dating and is by no means a phenomeno-cultural study.) The first is a passage written by Karl Marx in his now very much published “unpublished Manuscripts” wherein he all too briefly, yet rather provocatively, asserts that we can perceive the justice of the material relations of a society by observing the relationship between men and women in said society.
To put it starkly, he states, “…this relationship reveals in a sensuous form, reduced to an observable fact, the extent to which the human essence has become nature for man or nature has become the human essence for man.
It is possible to judge from this relationship the entire level of development of mankind (Marx, p.
347).” I intend to put this statement into context with the second reading, which I associate with this first one because it comes from perhaps the most famous (or second most famous) Marxist writer of our age, Alain Badiou, who offers in a published interview (a title borrowed from Godard’s movie) a rather glib dismissal of online dating.