Saeva (saeva) wrote,
Saeva
saeva

Fighting Words

This rant has been building for a long time. Months, if not years. It may offend people. It may upset people. And I'd say I'm sorry about that but I'm not -- people need to be offended and upset about this. They need to realize exactly how disturbing and creepy it is.

People, and fandom in particular, really, really need to stop using the word "pimp."

No, seriously. It's the misogynistic equivalent of telling someone they should "nigger" something (Yes, that word was used in that way in common parlance for far, far longer than current U.S. society likes to admit.) And, yes, I typed that word. If you did a mental or physical flinch at it, then you should not be using pimp unless you're talking about illegal sex trade.

Because that's what a pimp is -- someone who controls, manipulates, and abuses people (usually women) who have come into the sex trade, typically as runaways, kidnap victims, or victims of abject poverty, and now are at the whim and mercy of someone else. They pay someone else, their pimp, to offer "protection" and to work in the pimp's "territory" while they're selling their bodies, usually in unsafe and unhygenic situations that involve a lot of drugs, for money, drugs, food, shelter, or any and all of the above.

If someone is "pimping" something -- or, more likely, someone -- they are attempting to sell it by showing off its best features. Usually this "it" is a young woman or girl. Usually the best features are "its" tits and ass, and how willing "it" is to do whatever "its" told.

Do you really want to be using a word with that connotation? Are you using a word with that connotation with the purpose of reclaiming it, the way second wave feminism reclaimed "bitch," gay pride culture in the U.S. has reclaimed "queer" and "fag," and some black urban cultures reclaimed "nigger"? Or are you using it because it's 'just the word everyone uses'? If you're trying to reclaim it, how are you trying to reclaim it and what is the purpose of reclaiming the word of the aggressor? A pimp is an aggressor, someone who pimps is an aggressor, they victimize others for their living and they dispose of other human lives without concern. How can that word have positive meaning? How does using it give you power over the people who have used it against you? Has anyone used it against you so that you have a need to reclaim it?

Please, PLEASE think about these questions the next time you decide to "pimp" a community or post. Please think about these questions the next time you ask someone to "pimp" a community or post. Why use that word and not "promote," which is the word with the actual meaning you're using "pimp" for? What's so great about "pimp" that its advantages outweigh the history and current atrocities of the word and justify the use of it?

And how do you think it feels to girls or women (or boys or men) who have been pimped out, by their fathers, by abusive boyfriends, by men they've met on the street, and who've managed -- despite overwhelming odds -- to get their lives together and join fandom as a community to hear the casual, callous use of the word "pimp" to mean something so entirely different from the experience of being pimped?

If you think about it and you're still okay with using that word then, obviously, no one can stop you. But I hope that when the readers of this post do think about it they realize how harmful a word like that, being used the way it's used, can be.
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