Subtle Messages from Xintiandi
16 Apr 2007
What is the message in this ad for Shanghai’s chic dining/shopping area, Xintiandi (新天地)?
I’m almost certainly reading too much into it, but this is what I see:
– To the Chinese women: “Hey, pretty, young, fashionable Shanghainese women! Come to Xintiandi, the place to be seen. Not only will men ogle you, but lots of handsome,
single foreign men will ogle you! If you’re crazy enough not to want that, there are also Chinese men, most of whom are rich!”
– To the foreigners: “Hey, handsome male foreigners! We know you’re looking for Zhang Ziyi-esque women, and Xintiandi has them in droves. Don’t worry, the submissive local males will let you have them (as if you were worried!), and the women all want you, anyway.”
– To the Chinese men: “Hey, rich Chinese men! Come to Xintiandi, where you can flaunt your money with pretty young women and foreigners. Oh, but remember that it’s only polite to offer the ladies to the foreigners first.”
What has Xintiandi got against Chinese men? There may be tons of foreigners in Xintiandi, but I’m pretty sure the Chinese men are still the ones spending the big bucks. So for this reason the ad doesn’t make a lot of sense.
What have I got against Xintiandi? Nothing, really. I don’t particularly like it, but I don’t have any deep philosophical reasons for that. I’m mostly just cheap. In the past year I’ve started going there fairly often after work at ChinesePod for happy hour at Kabb. 20 RMB for Tiger draught is not bad.