Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy: Why Pimp and Promote are Different


Why is Pimp not an appropriate synonym for Promote?

The official dictionary definition of the word pimp is: (noun) 1. A man who controls prostitutes and arranges clients for them , taking part of their earnings in return. synonyms procurer, procuress, madam verb informal – make something more showy or impressive, ex Pimp my ride. Urban dictionary, my preferred dictionary source for comedic non censored relief, always more accurate, says that pimp stands for:  P-erson I-nto M-arketing P-rostitutes

Lets talk about this definition for a second. First of all, I think it’s interesting that a pimp is identified as only a male dealing with female sex workers (the female pimp is called a madam, and generally keeps her girls in a house or brothel and not out on the streets), the stereotypical shady guy in a purple velvet suit with a leopard hat, full length fur coat, diamond crusted cane, bling galore, gold teeth, and flashy gold car with hydraulics.

By definition a pimp is a horrible person, using another person’s body as a commodity. Prostitution is the oldest profession, I have no problem with a man or woman selling their body, as long as they receive all of the profit. If they feel the need to pay a security guard or driver, that’s their business. Pimping is different.

Pimps are abusive and aggressive, an integral part to illegal sex trafficking and human bondage, often preying on people with addictions or other hardships. Media glamorizes the archetype of a pimp.

MTV’s show Pimp My Ride has brought the word into mainstream as meaning custom or flashy, an attractive man might also be called a pimp as a compliment, Jay Z’s song Big Pimpin or 50 Cent/Snoop Dogg P.I.M.P. (among many other rap songs featuring the word) are about living large and having lots of cash money.

I go both ways with this word. YES, it does represent something sexist and demeaning. Many mainstream writers use the word casually, referring to the positive slang term over the literal meaning.

I have definitely used the word pimp to describe a situation where I am promoting something. “I am going to pimp out these posters.” Going from shop to shop, talking to people, trying to sell my art. I am using them to promote my show, not sell another human’s body. Yes, similar tactics are used, but pimping is specific to sex trafficking. It is used as a slang term to tout or persuade others to use your goods.

It is an insult to call someone a pimp by my standards as per the dictionary definition of the word. Others may think differently, using the word only to describe how much money or flashy goods a person has.

Pimp is a slang term used to describe someone who is slick, smooth talking, fashionable, and stylish. It can also mean to excessively customize a thing such as a car. So again, it depends who is saying it and what their intention is.

To promote is to raise someone or something up to a more important job. It is positive. To pimp is to degrade sex workers, who are human beings and not property. So therefore they are not the same thing.

It is offensive to pimp out a human, but not a thing. Freedom of speech says that you can say whatever you want and whatever I say will not change that.

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