Women and popular culture: the pimp chic debate is an article in The Independent UK discussing Roddick's 'attack' (check out her personal website) on the tendency for pimp chic culture being held up as aspirational. Pimp chic is present in a range of industries - music, clothing, advertising etc...The article has some great examples of this (in case you can't bring any to mind), such as rap star Nelly's 'Pimp Juice' (a song and product range), Virgin Atlantic's 'Pimp My Lounge' slogan, and increase in pole dancing exercise classes to name but a few.
What I find so infuriating about this fashion trend is that it is an appropriation of two separate cultural phenomena: feminist reclaiming of female sexuality and the exploitation of women through prostitution. Roddick is upset because she feels that the severity of issues like sex trafficking and forced prostitution are lost and not taken seriously. And I agree with her, as well as being annoyed that young women aren't presented with any other way to understand sexual liberation.
It is not simply an appropriation of language, as some argue. This is not about semantics and whether 'pimp' and 'whore' mean the same thing to a 63 year old woman as they do to a 18 year old. And it's not about conservatism - Roddick is not implying that women should cover up, close their legs and deny themselves any sexual freedom. It's a matter of clarification between women's sexual liberation and male fantasy. As a friend of mine pointed out, men who go to strip clubs aren't fantasizing that their girlfriends are up on the podiums. So much of the imagery and connotation around pimp chic is about fulfilling male fantasy and somehow that is ridiculously presented as the female sexual fantasy.