Self-worth is something that doesn’t have a price

KATIE GEBAUER Senior Visual Editor

We live in a society where the minute you step out of the comfort of your home, judgment begins. As unfortunate as that sounds, it’s the harsh truth. Every day as women and men walk across the South Dakota State campus, we are under the scrutiny of every person we pass.

 A result of this scrutiny is constantly questioning every bit of ourselves. Am I pretty enough? Skinny enough? Are my thighs too big? Too thin? The questions go on and on. So eventually I start to question myself, what is my worth?

 Monday, Feb. 22 I attended a philanthropy event at Jacks’ Place in the basement of  The Union. It was an event being held to raise money for Relay For Life by a sorority on campus. I am an advocate for raising money for people in need; however, I do not support a charity date auction.

 The first time I heard of this event, I Googled what it was. A charity date auction is a fundraiser event that benefits a local nonprofit organization. Bidders have the opportunity to “purchase” a date. So what does the term “date” imply? Now when I think of going on a date, I envision a fun and new experience but when I think of the word “auction,” what comes to mind is different.

 When I hear the word auction, I think of this country’s history. I think back to the numerous lessons I’ve learned throughout my education about slavery and prostitution. When I think of an auction I also think of objects. When I was 10 years old I went to a silent auction with my dad for antique furniture. As each object was placed on the stage, the bidding continued. I watched and waited. After an item is bought at an auction, it is required to be given to the highest bidder—and that’s where a date auction starts to bother me. 

 A date that is sold in the context of a date auction is not even a date anymore because there is a sense of obligation, social pressures and awkward agreements. It is not a date; it is a debt to be paid.

 Not only am I disappointed in this fake idea of a date. I’m saddened by how it could be affecting the young women and men on stage.

 If you know me personally, you know that I am a very outgoing and understanding person. I love joking around and giving my friends a hard time, but during a date auction is not the time to say, “Netflix and chill is one D away from Netflix and child.”

Unfortunately, it was.

 A group of four young women was sold for $100 total, which puts each girl at $25, whereas another young woman was bought alone for $220. As a result, what made the winning bidder decide to spend more money for her?

What decides a person’s worth? How did the group of girls feel knowing that their worth was a fraction of what the other girl was worth? Did it bother them too or was it OK because the money went to philanthropy?

 I don’t have the answers to these questions but what I do know is, the bidders determined the worth of their potential dates.

 The feelings of low self-worth are damaging but too common at this age. In college, we are supposed to be encouraged and supported. We are supposed to be finding ourselves and who we want to be in life. We should constantly be searching to determine our own worth. Low self-esteem could lead to depression, discouragement, fear, anxiety, sensitivity, mixed emotions and emotional unengagement, but the list goes on and on.

 As I sat and watched the date auction, I couldn’t help but be disheartened at the moral and principle necessity of the entire event. So next year, around this time when the date auction occurs again, hopefully students will reconsider what they are portraying when placing that bid.


Katie Gebauer is a graphic design major at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected]