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An ethical assessment of the structural agency of the blessee in the ‘Blesser-Blessee’ phenomenon.

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This study concerned the ‘Blesser-Blessee’ Phenomenon (BBP) in South Africa. The BBP is a social construct based on a transactional relationship. A social construct is based on what society sees and experiences around it (Gablin, 2014). Thus, multiple people have to experience the phenomenon for it to develop into a social construct (Boghossian, 2001). A transactional relationship is best known in terms of a monetary exchange for sexual benefits. The relationship usually occurs between a young adult (blessee) and an older man (blesser). In some cases, a blesser can also be female. A blesser is a modern-day ‘sugar daddy’ who is known for giving extravagant gifts to the blessee, and the blessee is usually a young woman with material needs or wants (Thobejane et al., 2017). The blessee dates a blesser to fulfil her different needs or wants and to meet specific goals (Garsd and Crossan, 2017). In most cases, this relationship is pursued in order to provide her with a livelihood. The structures of the blessee provide the reasons why they pursue this type of transactional relationship. The structures are highlighted as peer pressure, unemployment, gender inequality and poverty. The structures help us understand the agency of the blessee and how it, the agency, is underpinned by them, hence the theory of ‘Structure and Agency’. The Structure and Agency theory advocates the idea that to understand an agent, one must know the structures or systems that surround the individual and how they affect the decisions they make. The reasons yield multiple outcomes that could be positive and/or negative. These reasons are considered as the structures within the Structure and Agency theory, and which indicate whether the agency is limited or unlimited. The decision to consider both the structures and the agency of an individual yield the structural agency. This research focused on female blessees and highlighted the idea of women and agency. Thus, the ethical implications of individual agency of the blessee are premised on her freedom and rationality. In order to obtain information for this research, a desktop study was conducted. It entailed the use of secondary resources using an exploratory approach. This was done through assessing the blessee in the BBP using the Structure and Agency theory to understand whether she has agency that is not limited.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.