In the movie Taxi Driver, 1970’s New York is portrayed as a totally different city than what we see it as today in 2013. The city is filled with “filth, scum, dirt” and mainly – prostitutes. Girls at the age 0f 12 are being sold and treated with absolutely no respect and it is completely accepted in the society. The short dresses, half naked bodies, flirtatious looks are all just to get some money and make some business. Girls are being drugged and end up “stoned” in random taxis which they have to be escorted out from in a very suspicious way. Our main character, Travis, was completely conscious of what went on in his taxi when a pimp – Sport- took out Iris, yet after a 20 was throw down, Travis kept his mouth shut. The big difference between modern New York and 1970’s New York is the mentality of people.
You would believe that the prostitutes hated the way they got treated, yet when Travis kills the main people in the pimp business, Iris, the 12 year old prostitute, cried over the blood bath. Does that tell us that she enjoyed it? She wanted to stay out of school, dress slutty and make money the un-orthodox way? The movie clearly seems to hint so. In 1970’s prostitutes were easily identifiable on the streets, especially New York streets. Not to say there are no prostitutes on the streets now a days, but they are not as widely seen. Iris, seemed to even enjoy her job. She was not very reluctant to run away with Travis, go back home and go back to school. What the 1970’s society missed is that she enjoyed her job. Travis was rewarded as a hero who saved a poor 12 year old from big scary men, yet in Iris’s eyes, Sport was the hero. The New York society was clearly aware of who the pimps were, where their houses were and although they tried to crack down, Sport could easily try to brush the police off and joke around with them. This wouldn’t fly in today. Prostitution was a subject nobody talked about, yet it was widely used – like that big elephant in the room. We all know its there, we just won’t acknowledge it.
Overall, the streets of New York have changed. They are cleaner. They are more friendly. Less suspicious. But mainly, they are more safe (granted, some parts still might not be, but for the most part New York is a safe city). And girls like Iris, at 12 years old, will be in school, with parents or guardians, and mainly – not openly allowed in the prostitution business.