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Patpong Sisters


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As an anthropology graduate student, Odzer was in Thailand in 1988-90 studying its prostitution industry, centered in the Patpong district of Bangkok. Because of the culture's particularly repressive views of women's rights and female sexuality, according to the author, prostitution thrives, attracting many foreign male tourists. Studies estimate that between 15 and 30% of Thai women work in the sex industry, and Odzer's goal was to assess the impact of such a career on their lives. She discovered that, while prostitution is in many respects demeaning, its practitioners are nevertheless more ``liberated'' and more self-assertive than more traditional Thai women. The book is shorter on analysis than on narrative accounts of Odzer's interaction with various Patpong women and men, which, while lacking the academic rigor she initially promises, are engrossing. At times tales of her own romantic adventures all but subsume discussion of her research project. Illustrations. (Nov.)

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