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DISPATCH: Pimp and Ho Chic
Posted on February 8, 2006 by Anita Roddick

I’ve recently met with Professor Liz Kelly of the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit at London Metropolitan University and she was talking to me about the current use of pornography in everyday marketing and advertising. I was stunned by what Liz was telling and I felt that this was an issue that needed to be highlighted.

A recent UK study revealed that 9 out of 10 children aged 11-16 had viewed pornography on the Internet, often through inputting ‘innocent’ searches like Boyzone and Barbie. A webfilter company N2H2 estimated that there were 1.3 million porn sites in 2003, undoubtedly the Internet has become a hassle free delivery system. With the recent explosion on TV of late night documentaries and movies containing more soft porn than plots, I was not surprised to discover that Hollywood now produces more pornography than feature films, with production companies like ViVid quoted on the stock market.

Did you notice the shift in the style and content of music videos a few years ago? That was because pornographers began to direct and produce them. As a result not only do ‘porn stars’ have to simulate sex, but so do Beyonce and Britney, two of the most popular icons for young women and girls today. Some hip hop artists have even made their own porn movies to reflect the sexual material in their songs - the less raunchy ones just present themselves as pimps, blinged out and surrounded by scantily clad women – just like in the recent Selfridges Christmas advertising campaign. The gains in this collaboration have primarily been for the porn industry, which has gained new young audiences and markets.

What we have now is what I call ‘Pimp and Ho chic’, with all aspects of the sex industry presented as hip and cool. Pole dancing as exercise, lap dancing clubs as places to see celebrities, Pimp of the Year Award, Pimp and Ho fancy dress Balls, websites promoting ‘pimp’ culture, and the every day use of the words ‘bitch’ and ‘ho’ to refer to women, including girlfriends, are just some of the examples I have come across.

Pamela Paul’s recent book ‘Pornified’ asks whether porn has become a safe haven for men where they can still feel they are dominant. The compulsive consumers among the 80 young men interviewed described their girlfriends as boring, and sex with images as more satisfying. What do women and girls gain (or more accurately loose) when liberation and empowerment are reduced to sexual display, consumerism and commodification? How did porn get to be hip, pimps to be cool and feminism become a dirty word?

Topic : Sex
Posted By : Anita Roddick
Posted On : February 8, 2006



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3 results found

local government's lapdance ends
By liane hoogland on April 4, 2006

The social acceptance of lapdancing and strip clubs in th UK has always baffled me. But I was outraged to find that even local governments seem to stimulate the sex industry. This story does have a happy ending though, so read on..
The Bournemouth tourist information board is 50% local government owned. They send a booklet with coupons to people who have booked a hotel in Bournemouth. In this case, my colleague received the booklet - and the first coupon was for the Spearmint Rhino! I talked to many people about this, none of whom seem to understand I found it really offensive and just plainly wrong that a lapdancing club is so actively promoted in what is basically a government publication.
I decided to start an email campaign, asking friends to send emails. It took less than 10 emails to make the Bournemouth people change their minds. The coupon for the Spearmint Rhino will NOT appear anymore in the new version. Result!
I hope that many more people will start similar campaigns if they are confronted with this kind of government behaviour.

Re : Pimp and Ho Chic
By Nancy Sampson-Bach on March 1, 2006

Great summary of a topic that's burning in my mind for a while now. I have a four year old and she sees commercials on TV for these "bratz" dolls. My husband and I, in private, call them "ho's on parade". So this 'pornification' trickles down even into kid's toys, which is shameful. And mothers my age, who struggled right along side me for the ERA in the 70s are buying these things with a second thought for their kids and grandkids! I feel like something needs to be done, but don't know where to start anymore! Thanks for the insight!


Re : Pimp and Ho Chic
By Mandart on February 8, 2006

Being a Elementary School and High School teacher it's very obvious how much "skin" is show on television and advertising. I taught a Media Awareness lesson to a General Music class last year and it was increadibly insane how much adult content my grade 7-9 (ages 12-15) were watching on TV. It was horrible!


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