Renegade…I love the way it rolls off the tongue. I enjoy the state of being….Renegade. It makes me think of a wild and rebellious woman, maybe an outlaw in the wild west, the reckless beauty that is the stuff of legend, or is at the very least, a source of fierce independence, strength of body, strength of mind. The definition of a renegade, the dictionary definition, was perhaps the inspiration behind the term being applied by pimps to label an independent/unrepresented hooker. Webster’s defines a renegade as a traitor, deserter, betrayer, dissenter. Any outlaw or rebel. Well, I would tend to agree that in the mind of some chauvinistic pimp, a woman with the audacity to promote her own body as a means of financial gain, would need to be discredited as a traitor, to dissuade her from being imitated.
I personally prefer the original meaning from Spanish renegado; from Medieval Latin renegāre meaning to renounce; from Latin re- + negāre meaning to deny. Renegade, renegado, or renegare, all have an implicit theme of rebellion, independent thought or actions, and the willingness to be scorned, ignored, or attacked in defense of your independance, and your unwillingness to be victimized, or manipulated.
My personal experience is rather limited on the subject of pimps, mostly because, I think, they don’t really like me, or they figure I’d be too much work to keep in check. There have been a few who thought they might throw a line or two in my direction, just fishing. There have been none who came back a second time, at least not with any serious intent. I mean, I can’t be entirely positive, of course, but a girl learns to be on guard for the treacherous little fucks, or they will pounce when you are unaware, and then your future gets a little sketchy.
Me personally, I have one very solid, unwavering, immutable reason to not mess around with a pimp, in any way, shape, or context. Girls like me, we don’t last long in male dominated situations, especially masochistic/chauvinist types who demand abject subservience, obedience, and believe that their’s is the only functioning brain and therefore the only brain that is needed.
I had a pimp once. It was a rather short lived experience, but not entirely unpleasant, mostly due to this particular gent and his particular preference for me. I thought of it as a game, where I was the porcelain doll, who was to be petted and admired for being pretty and good. I would do “me” things like take off with the car to renew my driver’s license , and show up 6 hours later in a new outfit without my DL, and everyone would tell each other how badly he would beat me, which presented me with a new and exciting challenge in my acting skills. I played the game, and I played it superbly. I was ever the “star”, driving “daddy” and his pals around, always sweet and when in trouble, always contrite and in desperate need of “daddy” to explain to me what I had done wrong, and how ever could I make it up to him? Ugh, the retelling is making me throw up in the back of my throat just a bit.
I was entertained for the most part, never really doing anything productive which did not do much to foster any warmth from my “wives-in-law” who saw me as a lazy mooch, just living off of their work, and getting away with it because I was pretty and good. They hated me. However, it all came to a crushing end one sunny afternoon in spring, with the whole “family” assembled haphazardly in the living room upon our return from some seedy chain motel, everyone talking at once about some non-sense that one girl had done. I could not tell you for the life of me what it was she had said or done, but what spewed forth from his mouth offended me on an intellectual level that had heretofore been unmolested.
He starts yelling, at all of us, in general, that we are absolutely neither required to, or expected to think. That why any of us would assume that our brains were of any use whatsoever was a mystery, that we should quit attempting the use of our own brains and for any decisions or thoughts needed, we should be grateful to be able to defer to him. I paraphrase, of course, his grammar was atrocious.
In a righteously indignant fit of anger, I stood up, looking in horror around a room full of blank faces and vacant expressions. Not a single one of them seemed angry, or even mildly offended. That total want of any will to be an intelligent, self reliant human being was astounding. I hadn’t even considered that I might be the only one to whom this was a game, an acting exercise. My own opinions, thoughts, and feelings had been casually disregarded as part of a group of non-thinking, brainless, empty bodies, unworthy to contribute thought? This was unacceptable to me, it went against every belief, every standard of decency, and every aspect of who I believe myself to be.
My feminist notions were scandalized in the wake of this blatant attack on my until that point uncontested belief that as women, we were stronger mentally and intellectually than men. The propaganda necessary to condition women to accept this total dehumanization is astounding, and can even be conveyed in such a subtle manner that they are drawn in and caught without any idea what sort of monster they serve. I agree wholeheartedly with any group working to end what is nothing less than a disgrace.
Do not misunderstand me- I am not singling out pimps. The anti-prostitution rescue crusader’s attitudes towards prostitutes, and their determination to label any woman in the sex trade a victim, is that not also dehumanization? Is that not also a disgraceful lack of basic human rights, to further degrade the group of people that you claim to be rescuing? Is it not also exploitative to gather up women and force them to assume the necessary roles to further a cause that dismisses their choices as a deluded product of someone else’s propaganda?
We are human beings. Intellectual beings, with brains that produce independent thought, whether the choices we make are morally distasteful or totally incomprehensible to society’s social norm’s, we should be afforded the right to be treated as equal to any one of your “crusaders”.