We live in an era where money is the anchor of a lot of things, including sex. This may come as an inconvenient truth to those who idealise love and the purity of sex, but money has essentially changed the nature of relations between men and women. In the pursuit of finer things in life from men, it is often women who find themselves at the receiving end of bad, embarrassing situations.
During the week, social media buzzed with news of two stranded young Batswana women who got into a fix after they denied having sex with men that had ‘sponsored’ their trip to the glamorous annual event ‘Durban July’. The commentary on the incident was a colourful one; with the girls being slut shamed while others hailed them as heroines for denying to be cheapened to sexual objects for a mere weekend trip.
When a man gives a woman a gift, be it an expensive gift or a six pack, she is often expected to sleep with him. That’s right; it appears kind gestures are non-existent out of the scope of awaited sexual favours. Ideally, a man should not feel his token to purchase gifts must equal sex, but the society we live in validates his entitlement to it. “There is no such thing as a free lunch”, goes a popular quote that expresses the idea that even if something seems like it is free, there is always a cost, no matter how indirect or hidden. Alas, some women still choose naivety and fully trusting men to be considerate of their welfare before their need for sexual gratification.
In a study conducted in Uganda, 75% of female respondents admitted that expecting gifts was the primary reason they had sex at their last intercourse. Another study argues that sexual relationships for young single women are a form of material insurance. It is evident that as much as men have their exploitative tendencies, women also have their manipulative habits.
“There is very little done to encourage our young women to be independent and to follow their own dreams. It’s sad, really sad that today girls and young women still find themselves in such situations. The reality of the matter is that young women are raised to believe that the greatest achievement in life is having and finding a man who provides for them,” says local gender activist Ratanang Mosweu.
Refilwe Moapare says women shouldn’t think they can outsmart men, “I think women generally love freebies and they don’t want to compromise on what those freebies will cost them. I mean, how can those girls go to Durban, broke, and expect that things will go their way? It was just too late for them to start having morals”.
“Men and women are both lacking largely in morals. They use each other and leech off each other. Both sexes are not innocent,” says graffiti artist and illustrator Saone Batsile.
“These (names listed) girls are my heroines. Some crooks wanted to use them with some cheap Durban July trip,” stated journalist Thalefang Charles on his Facebook timeline which got many talking.
Lorato says blaming the young girls is victim shaming, “We cannot blame the girls only not knowing what the agreement was between the two parties. Batswana are too quick to judge women and don’t exert the same harshness to men who should also be shamed for thinking a trip equals transactional sex”.
To avoid the perpetuation of such incidences, it’s quite clear that we need to condition young girls to be financially independent instead of relying on men to be their ‘sponsors’. It’s considerably clear that there’s no such thing as free lunch in situations of this kind.