I have a coat in my possession—potentially own— that looks like it was made with the left over upholstery material of a 1970’s shag carpeted apartment remodel. It is green with an imbedded light floral pattern, mid hip length and …ugly. I keep it in my car to cover my fake leather seats when I transport 40 quarts of chili or soup or hot chocolate. It is quilted and works very well for that job – protecting my seat and soaking up most spills without damaging my precious 13 year old car. If it was a nicer color and pattern it would be worth hundreds of dollars. But as it is now, it is the kind of coat I would expect a pimp to wear. In fact, nearly every time I pull it out a pimp joke is made.
“All you need is a cane and large hat with that coat”
“Dja get that from someone on 82nd?”
“You should dress up for Halloween as a pimp with that”
And I get it. I thought the same thing until on a camping last year I pulled it out of the trunk of my car and mentioned I was only saving it until I could be a pimp for Halloween. Then a good friend spoke up.
“You know Jeremiah, you can’t joke about that. It isn’t funny. And how can you claim you support the exploited girls (ladies, boys, men) when you glorify the pimp”
Since then I have noticed how much it is joked about it in media, friend’s conversations and occasionally my words. How someone acts like a “pimp”. How someone dresses like a “pimp” or “is” a pimp. How we dress ghetto or street or urban…with bling and flashy clothes. All ways to glorify a horrible, horrible thing.
What got me thinking was that one radio guy using the word “slut” and not really apologizing for the language or its use while interchanging it with prostitute. And how it is on so many editorial comics, TV shows and blogs— including now this one— when it shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t just slip out or be part of our daily language. How sex is wrong and dirty and bad for women, but not for the men, and especially not for the men who sell it or buy it. They should be idolized. And are. In all kinds of music. In movies. In design and art and media.
Then some of the same people talk about justice while trying to separate the pimp’s image from the one they glorify in the media. Try to separate Huggy Bear from the 24 year old placing ads on Back Page or Craigslist or Facebook. Try to differentiate between the woman on the streets of your fair city and a young boy in Cambodia. Try to claim one is respectful and done willingly and the other is dirty and wrong and exploited. Try to rationalize that the strip club or magazine or DVD is different than the red light district in their town and certainly better than Amsterdam or Vancouver or…
All the while, not realizing that the fashion and words that they use as a joke are hurtful and demeaning and allow them to rationalize liking the very thing they HATE.
I guess that soap box is done.