Research Paper On Stockholm Syndrome And The Bottom Girl
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It is not a secret that nowadays prostitution is mostly organized and controlled by at least one leader. However, he also builds a hierarchy out of the prostitutes he controls, which is not a general fact for everyone, who is not in this industry. There is a specific term for pimp’s assistant, the so-called “bottom girl” or the “bottom bitch”, which is the most experienced and most valuable prostitute above all the pimp has. He trusts her the most and delegates some responsibilities to her, mostly organizational. The interesting fact is that the bottom girl does not profit from this activity; however, there is a list of various compensational factors that make this position appealing for every prostitute.
The phenomenon is that the considerable percentage of prostitutes that are obliged to work for their pimp are not intended to break free from this “job” and leave this unpleasant and dishonest activity; moreover, they are willing to develop themselves within this industry and compete with other prostitutes in order to get a higher position in the hierarchy of the industry. This fact highlights the important question about how does prostitution work and how it is being controlled. As it is mostly one pimp that controls a group of prostitutes, he should have something more than impose control based strictly on fear on his employees. The understanding of the hierarchy of prostitution and the willingness of prostitutes to go higher on their career ladder make the researchers think that prostitution nowadays is based mostly on prostitutes with Stockholm syndrome, which explains the dedication towards the pimp and competitiveness between his girls perfectly. Although, despite the fact that there is little information about such correlation, this project will try to describe the main points of Stockholm syndrome and how it can be applied to explain the interrelation within sex industry.
First, the detailed explanation of the hierarchy in sex industry and the role of bottom girl in it should be mentioned here. In sex trafficking and prostitution, the terms “bottom girl”, “bottom bitch” or “wife-in-law” are used to describe the most trusted girl of pimp, as she usually remains along with the pimp the longest, thus, she has more experience in the industry . As for the pimp himself, he represents the top of the industry and remains the only person that receives profit from it. He creates the rules for his group of girls; he also defines the roles within the group and implies punishment on the ones that violate his rules and/or do not earn enough for him.
However, let us return to the main object of the research and take a closer look at the role of bottom girl. Just like it was said before, the term itself is not often heard by the people that are not involved in sex industry and its culture. Although, the exact term “bottom girl” is rarely used within the sex industry, especially by the pimps. For him, she is always his “bottom bitch”. A pimp delegates some responsibilities to his bottom girl in order to imply the “divide and conquer” principle. Each girl under his control needs to have this position, as it implies respect through the loyalty and trust of the pimp. That’s why this position is highly competitive among the prostitutes, as each girl tries to prove her pimp that it’s only she, who deserves to be his bottom girl. For example, she may snitch on the other girls to show loyalty to her pimp or she may earn more in order to prove that she is the most useful and profitable girl in his group. Consequently, these factors increase the competition among the prostitutes and increase the profits of their pimp, as a result.
The next paragraph will be devoted to the main facts about the bottom girl and her life in the “stable” in order to explain the reason why there is so much willingness for the prostitutes to become the “bottom girl”. First, as she has been along with the pimp for the longest period of time and due to the fact that she earns the biggest sums of money, she usually is responsible for mentoring the other girls, overseeing them and collecting the incomes from the girls, especially when the pimp is absent. She is also responsible for organizational aspects of the work of all the other girls like booking the hotel rooms, transporting them to various addresses, clubs, hotels etc. Once any girl in the stable becomes arrested, she is responsible for bailing her out of jail. Moreover, for the newcomers in the group, she is responsible for training them and explaining the rules of the stable. In addition, the position of bottom girl is also representative, as she is always near the pimp, on the front seat of his car, for example. Also, she has a unique right to sleep with the pimp in his bed . Therefore, due to these factors, the bottom girl gains the most respect from the pimp and the girls; however, on the other hand, she is the subject of the great envy from the other prostitutes and she suffers from the pimp’s manipulations and abuses the most. Moreover, once the pimp is arrested, his bottom girl becomes prosecuted and arrested, as well. And the last and the most interesting fact about the bottom girl position is that she never gains any profit at all. As for the procedure of the appointment of the bottom girl, it varies from one stable to another, as each stable is organized differently by the pimp’s taste only. For example, in one stable the bottom girl is clearly announced and appointed by pimp directly once there may be no clear appointment at all, for example, the pimp may consider some of his girls his bottom bitch, but never tell her about it; although, she is prosecuted like any other bottom girl anyway.
The main point of this project is to prove that the behavior of the prostitutes and the bottom girls, in particular can be explained in association with the theory of Stockholm syndrome that describes the relationships between the victims and their captors in a phenomenal way. The next couple of paragraphs will be devoted to the explanation of the syndrome from the psychological point of view in order to provide the theoretical background to the question that is being researched and to highlight the main factors that might potentially explain the attitude of bottom girls towards their pimps.
Therefore, it should be stated that the prostitutes in the stables are controlled not only by fear and direct aggressive behavior of the pimp, as they remain in the sex industry mostly due to the competitiveness among each other in order to become the bottom girl, the pimp’s assistant and the beloved and the most respected girl in the stable.
In due time, all of the girls in the stable become physically and mentally associated and attached towards their pimp, as they believe they are protected by him, at least. Moreover, taking into consideration the hard life and destiny of such females, all of them also understand that they have nothing else to do and nowhere to go. Thus, they aim to develop themselves within the industry they are involved already; moreover, when they recognize that they can earn trust and respect from their pimp by earning him more and more money. Once they figure out that they can become better in this job, they do everything to become the pimp’s bottom girl. Moreover, taking into consideration the effect of Stockholm syndrome in this situation, the prostitutes believe that they can make their pimp happier once they work harder; therefore, they will be happier even without a considerable salary, as a result.
Summarizing everything that was mentioned above, it should be stated that the existence of bottom girl position explains and proves the main points of Stockholm syndrome, as the choice of becoming a bottom girl is not only conscious but desired by the girls, who become involved in prostitution. Indeed, they are mostly brought into this business forcibly; however, it is only their own choice to develop themselves in this industry. Nevertheless, such choice is mostly explained by the victim’s willingness to gain lesser aggression from her captor and sometimes to find protection in this aggression.
Dutton, D. A. (1981). Traumatic Bonding: the development of emotional attachments in battered women and other relationships of intermittent abuse. Victimology: An International Journal , 1 (4), pp. 139 - 155.
Hill, K. A. (1998 - 2000). Prostitution Intervention Project. A Training Manual. Hawaii, USA.
Mackenzie, I. K. (2004, 02). The Stockholm Syndrome Revisited: Hostages, Relationships, Prediction, Control and Psychological Science. Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations , 4 (1), pp. 5 - 21.
Namnyak M, T. N. (2008, 01). 'Stockholm syndrome': psychiatric diagnosis or urban myth? Acta Psychiatr Scand , 117 (1), pp. 4 - 11.
SHARED HOPE INTERNATIONAL. (2012, 03 23). Unavoidable Destiny | The Reality of the “Bottom Girl” Part I. Retrieved 04 05, 2015, from SHARED HOPE INTERNATIONAL Official Website: http://sharedhope.org/2012/03/23/unavoidable-destiny-the-reality-of-the-bottom-girl-part-i/
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