By Ryan Velez
The pimp in modern pop culture has become an interesting and somewhat mythical figure, equally held in regard for their style while being reviled not just for being a part of the s*x trade, but by being a figure associated with mistreatment of women. While it seems like pimps were all over pop culture just a few years ago, it seems like their profile is dropping. Part of this may be due to the amusement over their exterior failing in recognition of their jobs, but also the fact that the role may be diminishing. Freelance writer Trevor Brookins explains that part of this is due to the roots of pimping, which are becoming obsolete.
According to Brookins, the function of a pimp is a twisted version of a patriarchal society, dating all the way back to Biblical times. He notes that according to the documentary American Pimp, a pimp’s function is to make sure that female s*x workers are not attacked while soliciting. “This belief is a 20th century application of the idea that women should not be in the public sphere unescorted which has its roots in the Old Testament,” he says, noting that the Bible’s male focus has played a role in the idea of “good women” having to be attached to a man for much of Western civilization.
Enter the pimp, who uses this concept to convince prostitutes to work with them. Since there are real threats to s*x workers, there is a practical component, but there is also a psychological piece, letting women feel like they are accepted into a group in a profession that is socially on the fringes.
Of course, attitudes towards s*x work and workers are beginning to change the world, causing a reevaluation of the role of pimps. “As s*x and s*x work become more legitimized, through dominatrix, escorts, and the prevalence of digital pornography, the prohibition of prostitution will eventually become a thing of the past,” Brookins writes. The endgame of this for s*x workers is that they will be able to seek law enforcement support for any crimes committed against them. In addition, as women in public spaces become more normalized, there will be less psychological need for a pimp. Only time will tell what many former pimps do to either switch vocations or hold on to their own as their role becomes more and more obsolete.