Reality Behind Pimp Culture

LREI Feminism Class With Rachel LLoyd

My journey learning about the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) started with a very eye-opening documentary, Very Young Girls.  This documentary unveils the truth behind the commercial sex industry and reaffirmed my previous views on the commercial sexual exploitation of children. I was aware of this issue, but I was never really able to identify and see exactly what CSEC is, how it works, and the effects it has on the young girls involved. Furthermore, before experiencing this film, I was not able to put a face on the terrible perpetrators of CSEC; the pimps.

To be honest, before seeing this film, I often found myself asking the very common (yet ignorant) question of: “Why don’t these girls just leave their pimps?”  For me Very Young Girls informed and educated me about the horrible persuasiveness, tactics, and cruelness of the pimps, or “daddy’s,” as they are referred to in the film.  As this clip shows, pimps understand and know how to manipulate young girls living in poverty to a dangerous and obsessive point.  They understand the psychology behind the manipulation of these girls and use such tactics as a “honeymoon stage.”

A honeymoon stage is  referred to as a period in time where the pimp buys material things for the commercial sexually exploited child, who generally has never met someone who has invested such interest in her before.  Pimps become a kind of father figure to lure the girls into a cycle of selling themselves for sex.  Many of these girls have never had a father, let alone someone who buys them things and who “cares” about them.  Pimps take advantage of this fact by playing both “boyfriend” roles and “father” roles at the same time.  The girls eventually gain an emotional connection to these men who take care of them in both ways as a boyfriend and a father would. Due to these roles that these men play, and to answer my own question,  it is a lot harder for these young girls to just “leave their pimps” as it seems in our society.

Rachel Lloyd author of the memoir Girls Like Us explains how socioeconomic class also plays a huge role in CSEC girls leaving their pimps.  The young girls often grow up in poverty and generally have nowhere to go.  In some cases, they are fleeing a sexually abusive household, and then are picked up in the streets shortly after escaping, as explained in Lloyd’s memoir.

In my interview with Lloyd, she explains how “70-80% of girls who are in the sex industry were sexually abused as children growing up.”  It  is clear  that this cycle of escaping one sexual abuser (at home) to be picked up by another (a pimp on the streets) takes a horrendous toll on the young girls involved.  Through her memoir and reinforced by her interviews led by the feminism class at LREI, Lloyd conveys how socioeconomic class is at the root of the issue of CSEC.  There is this connection between the class of these women, and how the pimps exploit the fact that these girls of color are generally very poor.  As I explained before, pimps comfort these girls by buying them things which the girls interpret as a form of caring and support- an emotion that many of the girls have longed for but have never truly felt.

Only further promoting the disgusting actions of the pimps is society’s acceptance of pimp culture.  As Lloyd clearly explained in both the interview and Girls Like Us, society often glorifies pimps and the “style” and “culture” behind them.  She uses the example of 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P” as a clear example of how glorified pimp culture is.  The song’s “catchy beat” serves as a way to “gloss over the lyrics” of the song which include lines like ‘I put stitches in her head’ and ‘she be happy with Micky Ds’.”  It seems to be very popular to be a “pimp” because society views that identity as being wealthy, and having girls do work for you.  However, the reality behind it is that pimps are manipulative,  life-ruining people who are also trying to find a way out of poverty.

High Five!

There is hope to ending CSEC, and that starts with Rachel Lloyd’s program GEMS: Girls Education and Mentoring Services.  When asked how to stop CSEC, Rachel Lloyd jokingly said, “just stop listening to 50 Cent.”  Her words then became more serious as she talked about her work, describing how GEMS gives CSEC a chance “to be a kid again.”

She stated how “many of these girls have never  had a chance to grow up.”  GEMS offers girls housing, recovery groups, help with schooling and work, counseling, and trips to various museums around New York City.  To really end CSEC as a society we must first stop the acceptance of pimp culture, change laws against “prostitutes” who are really sexually exploited children, and recognize the fact that these are “very young girls.”

Interview

6 thoughts on “Reality Behind Pimp Culture

  1. There are many things that you wrote throughout your piece that I really liked. For example, when you referred to pimps as manipulators. I have always seen pimps as bad people or abusers but never used the actual word of “manipulators,” even though it makes the most sense of all, seeing as that’s what sex trafficking is built on. I also like the way you ended this, using “very young girls” to refer to the movie and in a literal way. It not only spoke to the movement against CSEC but also proved what was wrong with it.

  2. I also thought, “why don’t the girls just leave their pimps?” Thank you for answering my question.

    It is disappointing that these grow up only wanting to be loved and that the pimps take advantage of that.

    Reading about the ways in which pimps manipulate young girls has made me more paranoid to the fact that any man I encounter on my way to school and back, may be a pimp. Although this reaction may not be completely healthy, I believe it is better than being ignorant.

  3. I think you condensed the very complex issue of CSEC into a solid blog post that covers very important aspects, such as one that I explored myself which is the issue as to why sexually trafficked girls cannot simply leave their pimps. I also liked that you incorporated intersectionality into your piece simply by talking about how class plays a major role in CSEC. I think that, as Rachel Lloyd herself has expanded on, every aspect of CSEC can be traced back to class and race. These are very important factors of CSEC because these are the girls that don’t have important resources in life, such as money and a good education. The fact is that most of these girls are born into poverty and born into abusive households and it’s upsetting that instead of helping these girls rise in society, society holds them back by making them into criminals and condemning them for something that they are victims to.

  4. “disguising actions of the pimps” I love that part, it’s true, if it was not for the media, pimps would not be so glorified, people would actually know who they are, and what they do. The CSEC victims lost their identity, they did not even have the time to make themselves an identity, they were given one, and on top of that they lost their childhood.

  5. I had similar reactions in terms of learning the truth behind pimp culture. I knew on a sort of abstract level that pimps were bad, but I didn’t know how bad until this GEMS unit. It’s ridiculous how much pimp culture gets celebrated in the media, and you definitely show how horrendous pimps really are. I used to not really notice pimp references, but they now make me shudder a little bit.

  6. I think your quote” The song’s ‘catchy beat’ serves as a way to ‘gloss over the lyrics’ of the song which include lines like ‘I put stitches in her head’ and ‘she be happy with Micky Ds’ really sums up the issue of how people just don’t come to realizations about not only sexualized portrayals of girls and women in the media but also gender based violence of girls and women in the media. Lyrics like this are so repulsive, it’s a wonder why not as many people (especially our nation’s youth) don’t have the realizations that we have had.

    Your quote “It seems to be very popular to be a “pimp” because society views that as being wealthy, and having girls do work for you” shows the backwardness of this whole culture. You would think a real man would be able to make money without exploiting 9+ year old girls.

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