A Word on Pimp Culture

spring-breakers-james-franco
James Franco in “Spring Breakers”
Image credit: collider.com

Pimp culture is the way society itself is conditioned to glorify and glamorize pimps, as seen in the media and the way people discuss them in everyday conversation. The word “pimp” alone is used as a compliment in this day and age. It glorifies the pimp while demonizing the prostitute or victim.

In essence, “pimp culture” is a part of rape culture because of the sexual victimization that it creates. As stated in the Rape Investigation Handbook, “The culture of sex trafficking is, in part, created by sexual assault, thrives on sexual assault as a commodity and a weapon, and ensures the continued sexual assault of those coerced into servitude.” Using the term “pimp” reinforces the idea that sexual violence, especially of women and children, is “OK” by glamorizing the perpetrator.

Today it seems as though people have become brainwashed by the glorification of pimps and have forgotten what a pimp truly is. In the past, I myself have used the word “pimp” as an adjective for something positive. It happens in casual conversation, and we are often completely unaware. In the hall, in the classroom, even walking down the street you can hear it nonchalantly dropped. For example, “That ride is pimpin’” or “What a pimp!” are two of the ways I’ve heard it in normal conversation. It is carelessly said without a thought about the meaning.

The usage of the word pimp in pimp culture is just like the usage of rape jokes in rape culture. Continuing to use the word and images in a positive light perpetuates the notion that being a pimp is “good” or that rape is “not a big deal.” According to Webster’s Dictionary a pimp is, “A man who solicits clients for a prostitute.” This definition does not mention any fame or glamour but what a pimp truly is: A person who exploits others.

-Judith Jones, Contributor

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