Taboo!: The Hidden Culture of a Red Light Area, with an Additional Epilogue - Fouzia Saeed

 

                Saeed’s book is really a study of the Red Light District of Lahore, Pakistan.  It is a story about a group of people who should not exist under the law of the land, and whose way of life is threaten and changed by those same laws. 

                Traditionally, prostitution and singing/dancing were linked in Pakistan (according to Saeed) but over time the women in the district realize that it isn’t the traditional songs and dancing that attract the men, and traditional music gives way to Bollywood hits.

                Furthermore, the power structure shifts.  In the District, a girl is more highly prized because she will be able to continue the family tradition (i.e. prostitution).  This is because the musicians are men from another family line (caste) than prostitutes.

                What Saeed reveals is how both prostitution and traditional role of women is constricting and dehumanizing.  If you are interested in the debate over legalization of prostitution, you should read this book.