"Submissive Girls Only" explores the complex power dynamics that
exist in sugar dating relationships that begin on online platforms.
Adriana DeRosa interrogates the social acceptability of instrumental
intimacy as a strategy for coping with economic and social insecurity.
Her projects spark conversation about sexual liberation and expression
among women, inequalities between men and women, online exchange,
and societies fixation on youth and vanity. Under the alias of Nicole,
DeRosa meets and corresponds with men on a website
formulated to help “sugar daddies” find “sugar babies.” She explores
who these men are, what brings them to this type of website, and if it is
truly a mutually beneficial arrangement for both parties, all while
asserting power in the arrangement by performing her interactions with
them as someone else. DeRosa uses screenshots and low-resolution
imagery to visually reference the semiotics of sugar daddies found online.
She also explores gesture within installation as a tool to enforce power.
With soaring student loan debt, many college students look to sugar
dating as a means to support themselves with flexible hours, higher
pay, and increased autonomy. Some may also seek mentorship, a
sponsor, a romantic relationship with someone who’s older than them,
or a friend. On the other side, the men using these sites are seeking
some kind of bond, power, or security found through having a younger
woman on their arms and her reliance on him for financial stability. The
male has power by being older and providing the allowance, but the
female holds erotic capital and power of creating a performative
relationship. In a culture where we value objects and instant
gratification, what is expected of sugar babies in exchange for the relief
of financial burden? Who holds more power, the daddy or the baby?

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