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Materialism to blame for surge in ‘sponsor mentality’

“Some boys kiss me, some boys hug me; I think they’re OK. If they don’t give me proper credit, I just walk away. They can beg and plead. But they can’t see the light; that’s right, ‘cause the boy with the cold hard cash, is always Mister Right, ‘cause we are (chorus) living in a material world and I am a material girl…”

In her 1984 hit song, Material Girl, American artiste Madonna talks about a world that has become materialistic. Basically, Madonna puts aside all pretences to ideals such as true love, morality and decency in pursuit of money and material things that would make life enjoyable.

Indeed, numerous other songs have been released by female singers who say they have no apologies to make for engaging in a quid pro quo as far as matters romance are concerned. There is the dilemma posed to a lady in a love predicament whether she would rather ride happily on the back of a bicycle, or cry on the backseat of an expensive car.

Your guess is as good as mine! What am I driving at? The ongoing debate about inter-generational sexual relations between young women and older men who are double, or even more, their age. The trend has triggered debate, especially on social media.

But contrary to what has now gained credence, we are not in an entirely unique situation. In many societies the world over, particularly traditional African societies, men of means have always had young women at their disposal—either as spouses or mistresses.

In fact, a good number of those cursing “sponsors” today could be the offspring of polygamous unions between older men and young women. And then, regardless of how well the womenfolk are doing financially, it is still assumed that men are the providers of the material needs to girlfriends and spouses.

Well, I do not know what has now changed to warrant the current hullabaloo. My postulation, however, is that expansion of the middle class has also expanded the attendant by-products of consumerism and the worship of material things. And since not all of us are in the middle class, we covet what we see and explore all ways to enjoy the comforts.

In our society, generally, women are still disadvantaged in terms of accessing economic opportunities. Consequently, instead of struggling on their own, some may decide to utilise their “assets” for the easy way out.

This largely explains why there has been exponential growth of the beauty and fashion industry in the country, as the fair sex outdo each other in a who-is-the-fairest-of-them-all contest! It is fair to say we are living in a highly sexually-charged social environment, thanks to proliferation of the media.

Invitations and motivation to sexual encounters lurk in every corner, especially in the social media. In any case, infidelity has been with us forever, and the phenomenon is only bound to increase as society becomes more licentious.

It has also been said that better health, sex enhancing drugs and improved diet has increased libidos among older men. For young men out there, this is a lesson in life. There is no romance without finance, really! Sour grapes aside­—for those feeling left out—one of the reasons we have problems in relationships and marriages today is because of the hard economic times.

This has largely undermined men’s role as sole, or main, providers of material comfort to their partners and families. Instead of complaining about cradle snatching by older men, the youth must simply step up. Otherwise, they will remain “mafisis” (hyenas) waiting for spoils from proud sponsors. The writer is the executive director, Centre for Climate Change Awareness—www.centreforcca.org

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