Sociological Imagination: Western’s Undergraduate Sociology Student Journal


Street-level prostitution has often been analyzed from micro-sociological interpretations of motivations and attitudes among female sex workers; however, it is important to examine prostitution as an institution representing an exchange of capital. Ultimately, this system of exchange can be conceptualized as female sex workers representing commodities under male pimp ownership. This paper examines the social role of the pimp in the context of the pimp representing a successful man in a capitalist society. Therefore, despite the universal repudiation of pimp work within contemporary society, the fact that the pimp role embodies the accepted values of the capitalist system may explain the perpetual existence and success of this social role. In essence, the pimp can be deemed as an acceptable social role based on several manifestations of capitalist values: the conceptualization of ‘Marketplace’ masculinity, patriarchal and paternalistic attitudes of the ruling class, and positive connotations and images of the pimp that stem from the media and formal institutional actions. Overall, the pimp role represents an internalization of capitalist values, such that the pimp becomes an extension of accepted masculinity and an acceptable representation of patriarchy that is further glamorized by mainstream popular culture. This paper argues that the dominant values reflecting modern capitalism have helped turn the pimp into an accepted and non-deviant social role.

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