Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pimping Ain't Shit...


This is going to seem kind of random, but hang with me.

Remember a few years back when it seemed like every black man in America wanted to be a pimp? 50 Cent had just dropped his ode to a life of tracks and bottom bitches, and Snoop seemed determined to make us believe that his friendship with an unrepentant former pimp was deeply spiritual. Pimp cups were the newest must have accessory.

In hindsight, it was all pretty sick.

As a man, I have been known to scream out some nonsense about pimping, or bob my head to the misogyny rappers casually spew about the subject. When I chanted those words I wasn't really thinking about the reality of prostitution. Rather, I was indulging in an adolescent fantasy that glorified bedding as many women as possible with as little commitment as possible. If I could convince those poor women to buy me gifts, so much better. That was my concept of pimping.

I came face to face to with real pimping the other night.

My wife and I watched this documentary on Showtime called Very Young Girls. Well, I can't honestly say that I watched it. I tried to watch it, but after listening to one young lady describe how she was anally raped by her 30-year old pimp when she was 12-years old, I kind of gave up on the movie. I hung around long enough to hear another girl describe how she often wondered if God had made her body to be used by men, she figured that must have been her purpose in life. After that, I spent a long night trying to understand the evil that men do as I tossed and turned in my bed.

That girl showed me what a pimp is. A pimp is a man who is heartless enough to prey on love-starved, prematurely developed young girls and then convince them that their purpose in life is to lie down with an endless stream of men to make him money. A pimp is a man who will keep those same girls working for him, not just through the strength of his charisma, but also through the power of his fists.

Like I said, pimping ain't shit.

I have no familiarity with the world of prostitution. Even though my job entails dealing with crime, for the most part the prostitutes I see arrested are older women strung out on their drug of choice. They are not baby-faced, attractive youngsters who look more like majorettes than hardened hoes. I have a pretty antiquated view of prostitution.

It's amazing what a movie can do.

Before I watched those little girls speak, and watched footage of actual pimps indoctrinating prostitutes, I never really understood how a man convinced a woman to sell her body. I just chalked it up to one of life's mysteries. Now I understand that these men aren't convincing women, they are convincing children. And then they are systematically stripping these children of their self-respect so they can be compliant receptacles of men's sperm.

That was a reality check.

Like I said, this a random post. It's not about politics, it's just about a movie I saw that gave me bad dreams. But, that movie also made me reconsider what other things I take for granted. How often have I excused unacceptable behavior by myself or other men because I never took the time to really consider the true impact of those actions? In turning a blind eye to this suffering, am I just as culpable as those committing the heinous acts? Considering the size of the problem, what can I really do?

Just some things I thought about while watching real pimps at work.
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12 comments:

Ferocious Kitty said...

Typically, those "pimp and ho" documentaries borderline--if not outright--glorify pimping. They definitely aim to titillate. But it sounds like the one you watch was an exception. Those young girls featured grow up to become the strung -out, older prostitutes with whom you're more familiar--if they survive that long.

blackgirlinmaine said...

I wish more people could get the insight you gleaned from watching this show.

I used to work with women escaping prostitution many of them were in fact emotionally children despite being adults. I had a client who was well into her late 30's yet she had been recruited as a teenager into the lifestyle.

These men are scum and really that is too good of a word to use.

Deacon Blue said...

I think prostitution would come with its share of troubles regardless, but much like relatively innocuous drugs (pot being the primary one), I think that decriminalizing it would be a good step. The sooner it's off street level and regulated/monitored, the better for whatever women still choose that questionable route.

Big Man said...

Deac

I used to think that, but then I read about countries where it was decriminalized, and they just had a new set of problems.

Typically, the cost of meeting the health requirements and getting a license deters some women from going the legal route and they then create underground prostitution rings.

Salsa said...

Pimps are psychopaths and terrorists. If there is a hell below they all should go.

Deacon Blue said...

Where there is legal commerce, there will always be a dark mirror to it. Things "fall off the back of trucks" and end up in shops where we buy them, for example. There is a black market and a dark side for everything. Legalization wouldn't solve all problems, but it would shine a light into more corners, methinks.

Lolo said...

It was worth watching all the way through, even though it was gut wrenching, because it truly educates and humanizes these girls. Rachel Lloyd (the founder and director of GEMS) is a POWER and she is truly doing the Lord's work.

Some of the facts that punched me in the heart was finding out that the average age of entering "the life" is 12 and that an estimated 50 percent of children here in america that are slaves of the sexual trade are african american.

UN-acceptable. I'm not sure exactly what and how I can do something with this knowledge but I've got to do something real with it. Lloyd is proof that there is real redemption to be made.

If nothing else, spread the information and make sure that we no longer let the whole myth of Pimps and Hos being an acceptable choice slide by?

Tit for Tat said...

Sobering post.

How does that one saying go..

"The only thing needed for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing"

Too many times I am complacent.

Ben Atkinson said...

Tit for Tat - MLK said something similiar:
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter."
----------------------------------
Humankind has a great capacity for good, but also a discouraging capacity for evil. Too often the powerful abuse and extort the weak. There are so many evils to fight, it usually takes a group of zealots collectively forming a group to fight a single evil. Even when we ourselves are unable or unwilling to do the hard work, there are plenty of groups (such as Amnesty International, for example,) that we can support and contribute to.

Awareness of a problem is a critical first step in addressing it. Thanks for making us think Big Man.

cinco said...

I think it starts in the home, fanily, and community- in that order. I've raised 3 adult daughers and I still have 2 minor daughters- their lives have not been perfect or golden but they know and have always known that they are loved.

Everyone underneath it all does what they feel makes them feel good, happy, and loved.

Parents are the direct cause of children unable to fulfill those needs and desires in acceptable ways.

cinco said...

I think it starts in the home, fanily, and community- in that order. I've raised 3 adult daughers and I still have 2 minor daughters- their lives have not been perfect or golden but they know and have always known that they are loved.

Everyone underneath it all does what they feel makes them feel good, happy, and loved.

Parents are the direct cause of children unable to fulfill those needs and desires in acceptable ways.

happyendingsdoc said...

Check out"happy endings" a doc film on Asian massage parlors in Rhode Island where prostitution is legal. Check the blog and youtube channel and leave comments. Sign up on the website to get updates on the release.
http://www.happyendingsdoc.com
http://happyendingsdoc.wordpress.com
http://www.youtube.com/happyendingsdoc

This doc is very different from the one you described. This takes place in a state where prostitution is legal, and I talk to women who work at the asian spas.

Raving Black Lunatic