top of page


"Submissive Girls Only" explores the complex power dynamics that exist in sugar dating relationships that begin on online platforms. Aspen DeRosa interrogates the social acceptability of instrumental intimacy as a strategy for coping with economic and social insecurity. Their projects spark conversation about sexual liberation and expression among 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.”DeRosa uses screenshots and low-resolution imagery to visually reference the semiotics of men marketing themselves as sugar daddies online. They also explore the ways that certain gestures within installation of the work can be another 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 SD has power by being older and providing the allowance, but the SB 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?

bottom of page