Category Archives: Language

Pimpin’ as a Term of Endearment

There are a few things that surprise me. One is that Boston seems to lack a WalMart. Another is that the WalMart in Spokane, WA offers ear piercing. Another is that mothers now call their sons “pimpin'” as a term of endearment.

My little sister and I were checking out WalMart watches this afternoon, near the newly created ear piercing station. A little boy, who couldn’t have been older than 9, jumped off the piercing stool with his new stud. His admiring mother checked out his ear and declared, “You are so pimpin’!” The 50-yr old woman who had just pierced the boy’s ear laughed along.

I have to admit that I was engrossed in trying on some bling and didn’t think twice when I heard the declaration. Luckily, my sister leaned in and whispered, true to form, “That’s appalling!” And actually, yes, it is.

According to the online slang dictionary (a very helpful tool), pimpin’ has several definitions, one of which is “when a guy is flirting with several girls,  also when something is extremely cool” and another which reads “very cool…hooked up”. Apparently, pimpin’ is now a synonym for cool. But how is it okay to use a word pertaining to using women as sexual objects as “cool”?
The definition of pimp:
1. a man who solicits for a prostitute or brothel and lives off the earnings
2. a man who procures sexual gratification for another; procurer; pander
The definition of pimpin’ (technically “pimping”):
To serve as a procurer of prostitutes
This word’s integration into everyday vocabulary is indicative of a creeping trend to conflate sexual meanings with the most innocuous adjectives. Conflating “pimp” with “cool,” the English language loses its dignity. Pimping is the epitome of the derogatory, criminal, and offensive, not the epitome of cool. We may expect this from rap music, but we certainly shouldn’t hear it used colloquially in WalMart, especially from a mother. This is diction that begs a reaction – and not the most easy reaction, which is laughing along.
Honestly, in what kind of world is it okay to call your 9-year-old son pimpin’?
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