women's rights

[WATCH] Spoil me but respect me: A sugar baby’s story

[WATCH] Spoil me but respect me: A sugar baby’s story
If the Philippine economic situation were not so dire, would as many women be choosing the sugar dating lifestyle?

MANILA, Philippines – When she was in 12th grade, Stephanie chose the exhausting life of becoming a working student to help her family.

Her father, an overseas Filipino worker in Croatia, sent the family around P40,000 monthly. But this was strictly budgeted, and did not have much wiggle room beyond necessities. Even if she earned up to just a little over the minimum wage as a telemarketer, and sacrificed her rest and social life, it was an attempt to give her mother and two younger sisters even just a slightly more comfortable life.

The cycle of fatigue ended when Stephanie decided to entertain the thought of joining a sugar dating app, which significantly increased her income.

Usual ideas about sugar dating include how sugar babies are exploited, or equated with sex workers. While stories of abuse are real and documented, another side of sugar dating shows how women feel empowered to enforce boundaries and maintain control over their arrangements.

But the question still stands: Would as many women choose the sugar dating lifestyle if the Philippine socioeconomic situation was better, if wages were higher, and there were more decent jobs?

Data from Sugarbook, a platform Stephanie uses, found that more than half of sugar babies in the Philippines were spending on necessities like rent and education.

Watch as Rappler follows Stephanie’s story and explores the nuances in sugar dating in the Philippines. – Rappler.com

Reporter: Michelle Abad
Videographers: Franz Lopez, Jeff Digma
Producers: JC Gotinga, Nina Liu
Video editor: JP San Pedro
Supervising producer: Beth Frondoso

Read Rappler’s two-part in-depth series on sugar dating here:

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