Patty Kelly provides a voice for the women of the Zona Galactica, a legal brothel in Chiapas, Mexico. These women work hard in a government-sanctioned industry, but are often treated with disrespect, scorn, and indifference, eroding their dignity and chipping away at their dreams.
In Lydia’s Open Door, Kelly explores this experience and brings it to life through conversations with the women. She writes as an advocate and listens as a friend, enhancing the women’s personal stories with economic and historical background.
“This exceptional book makes several key contributions to the field and shows how freedom and anxiety, and the market and morality, tensely coexist in the business of sex. . . . Kelly’s analysis is conveyed through vivid portraits of the lives of sex workers, showing that the women involved are neither victims nor heroines but something else: actors caught between agency and constraint.”–Roger N. Lancaster, author of The Trouble with Nature
“In this tour de force of feminist anthropology, Patty Kelly gives her heart to the remarkable women who toil in the bawdy sweatshops of the Zona Galactica, a ‘reformed’ red-light district in the Chiapas capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez. In fact, as Kelly shows, it is just the ultimate low-wage industrial district.”–Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums and In Praise of Barbarians
“The clarity of Kelly’s perspective is neither apologetic, nor presumptive (as is usually the case); her focus is always on the political context of these women’s lives. Patty Kelly writes like a poet and novelist, so much so that this work begs to be a movie.”–Carol Leigh, a.k.a. “Scarlot Harlot,” author of Unrepentant Whore