Thursday, May 06, 2004

I got an email from Jason Chin, the "retrosexual" pictured on the second page of Sunday's Trib story (not the trendy Asian guy pictured on the story's first page). (Chin's quoted as saying: "All of my friends dress like bums...We dress up when we need to, kind of like firemen around a firehouse waiting for the bell to go off...I buy whatever shampoo is on sale at Walgreens.") He tells me that he was interviewed and photographed nearly two months ago, which casts doubt on my suggestion that his photo was chosen to counteract suspicions that portraying an Asian guy as the "metrosexual" might be racist.

But I don't know if that changes the basic fact that the cover image puts a questionable racial stereotype into play. There was still a conscious decision on someone's part to make the "retrosexual" (who's associated with totally secure Midwestern masculinity) a white guy and the "metrosexual" (who's associated with questionable masculinity and sexuality) an Asian--a choice that also speaks to me about the desire Chicago continues to have to see itself as a white city, since the "metrosexual" is portrayed as an L.A./NYC phenomenon.

Meanwhile, Chicago says: "I am so straight that it hurts."