By Pickup Culture
The feminist sex traveler is a particular kind of female traveler who crops up in the mainstream click-bait news from time to time. She is, of course, a feminist.
She doesn’t call herself one, but the stories about her make it clear that she is a liberated woman – one who travels on the expense accounts of nerdy, needy and rich guys.
There have been a spate of these stories in the media over the past few years, which always include slightly expressionless selfies with impressive backdrops. Here are some examples from a couple of recent ‘stories’:
From Gold Digger to Feminist
In days gone by, these women would have been labelled ‘gold-diggers’. Whilst I don’t want to shame them for what they do – I happen to think that traveling the world can be very enriching – I am more than a little skeptical about how their travel escapades are framed in these stories.
All of these women have jobs – they have their own money, and thus can afford to travel. But their travel-dating takes them that step further, to exotic locations and five star hotels, at the expense of geeky men.
Despite having jobs, these stories all convey the sense that these women are ‘hard-up’ in some way. Though they do have money, they either have part-time jobs or are studying. A link in a story on the Sugar Babies Dating site draws upon a study from Durham University showing that ‘20% of students consider sex work at university’.
Looking at the feminist logic behind such a study, it’s not hard to see how we’ve moved from ‘dating’ as a way of ‘paying the bills’ to getting your way into a ‘5 star hotel’ in Rome or Hong Kong.
Rising tuition fees and the cost of living are the reasons for sex-travel in one story, and in the case of the wealthy financial planner – well, she’s overcoming the trauma of being raised by an overprotective mother through her international escapades.
Either way, for rich or poor, slutting it up around the globe is a brave, socially progressive thing to do.
Sex Tourism – The Feminist Cause
In the West, it is feminism that makes this kind of behavior much more acceptable – socially and commercially. It’s always seen as socially progressive for the female sex-pat to cash in on her youthful looks in such a way; whether she has sex or not is never stated (a conveniently absent fact that obviously drives up her price).
It’s a different matter entirely, however, when it comes to men. Contrast these stories of female sex-pats to a story about feminism in Thailand earlier this year, where a mainly male Facebook forum was banned for its ‘hate posts’ towards a woman wearing a feminist T-Shirt.
Being a man, and dating foreign women (in poorer, developing countries) here, is implicitly shameful. The story draws attention to the fact that these men don’t like western women, especially feminists. The words ‘she’s alright’ is cited as hate speech – heaven forbid a man is caught sexually objectifying a (western) woman!
A video link in the story (see below) discusses the subject of older Australian men retiring in Thailand, but as a story also about their sexual interests in Thai women the tone is much less celebratory. The issue is framed as one of necessity – single aged men wanting to lower their living expenses by retiring abroad … and finding young, hot wives in the process. Many men are ‘lured to Thailand in search of more than just happy smiles’. Thailand is a place of ‘sleaze and vice’, not liberation or fun.
A focus on inflationary pressures back home might have given this story more of a ‘social justice’ angle – after all, these men are struggling to survive on a fixed income after working hard their whole lives. It’s these men’s interest in Thai women that makes them less worthy of journalistic sympathy, from western white-knighting journalists.
Feminism: The Great Unshaming
Why do these stories of young traveling gold diggers make the news in the first place?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we need to level the journalist playing field, and publish more stories of men who go around banging third world prostitutes or hooking up with exotic women in far flung destinations.
The fact is that these women travel the world on their looks, and their looks alone. By all accounts they haven’t worked hard or saved a lot of money, and they certainly haven’t achieved anything of any significance whilst gallivanting across the globe. They may have graduated faster from their liberal arts degrees, but they didn’t learn any new languages or pick up useful life skills on the way to the Bahamas or Rio. They just wrote a blog about where they went, and posted lots of selfies along the way. That’s it.
Like I said before, there is nothing wrong with this – god bless the free market! What I do find annoying is the way that a once shameful behavior – gold digging – is now something that is deemed socially progressive by mainstream feminists.