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"Trixies and Chads": Is the Lincoln Park neighborhood a playground for social elitists?


I am a student journalist at DePaul University and an enthusiastic blogger for Lincoln Park Now. I am interested in community journalism, new media, and volunteering. My number one passion? Writing, of course!

At the risk of presenting myself as a blogger who does all my research on Twitter, I'd like to share with Lincoln Park Now readers yet another interesting controversy I discovered as a result of a curious tweet.

A Twitter user with only 4 followers, @TrixieSociety tweeted yesterday morning about a free Starbucks gingerbread cinnamon latte giveaway for all "Trixies" or members of the Lincoln Park Trixie Society in the Lincoln Park area stores.

That's interesting, I thought, and obviously untrue. But what is the Lincoln Park Trixie Society?

(c)2009 Lincoln Park Trixie Society and respective Copyright Holders

The most recent information I could find about the Lincoln Park Trixie Society (LPTS) was at least three years old, which seems strange to me in the face of yesterday's tweets. Yet the group's website appears to be under construction, featuring only the above video and a promise to return in fall of 2009.

Perhaps this means we can expect a resurgence of the LPTS sometime soon.

Flak Magazine, a self-proclaimed "non-comprehensive guide to everything" that after 10 years of operation suspended publication in September of 2008, described the LPTS like this:

"A send-up of the shallow and insular yuppy lifestyle one of Chicago's tonier neighborhoods, The LPTS is just one of a small but growing number of very witty, very thoroughly straight-faced satires on the Web. The site is so thorough, in fact, that some less clued-in to the vagaries of Chicago life have taken it seriously."

So the Lincoln Park Trixie Society is, then, satire. The Flak article goes on to explain more:

Nevertheless, you don't have to be from Chicago to get the joke; every town has its Trixies. They're the women with Kate Spade bags for every day of the week; the ex-sorority girls still lusting after big, dumb jocks; the women who go to law school to find husbands."

Lincoln Park trixie Starbucks.jpg

Trixies are stereotypically defined as young, blond women with manicured nails who drink Starbucks. Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt, flikr user Pink Sherbet Photography.

Wow, that sounds pretty stereotypical to me. The Wikipedia article corresponding to the term "Trixie" nods its head at the Lincoln Park Trixie Society, and even claims that the term originated in Chicago. Wikipedia even goes so far as to say:

"Trixies are typically depicted as 'social climbing, marriage-minded, money-hungry young ladies that seem to flock to the upwardly-mobile neighborhood of Lincoln Park.'"

Urban Dictionary also ties its definition of the term "Trixie" to Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Like the Wikipedia article, the Urban Dictionary definition relies on a host of stereotypical depictions (as should be expected from the Urban Dictionary):

"[Trixies] are easily identifiable by their fair skin, blond hair (or at least with hightlights), good purse, manicured feet/hands, and Starbucks cup. They are born in the midwest but have found Michigan or Ohio to be so passe so they moved to the big city. The preferred form of transportation is the VW Jetta or Honda Accord."

And finally, in 2006 Yelp! even had a lively discussion about the meaning of the term "Trixie" and it's social implications. Although the conversation is less directed at Chicago and the Lincoln Park neighborhood, many posters reference us. A lot of the discussion throws around similar stereotypes as the Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary definitions, but a commenter named Niki C. attempts to dismantle these:

"The term 'Trixie' is played out now & describes any female in Chicago that the person doing the name-calling doesn't like [...] The meaning has broadened to include pretty much any woman who dresses nicely, goes out to bars, dates men, & gets manicures. It's a silly term that had incredibly funny momentum when the Lincoln Park Trixie Society (a tongue-in-cheek 'club' spoofed online) originated. Now it's just a derogatory term to describe any women who pisses you off."

As a student at DePaul University, I can hardly play dumb about the stereotypes that are described in these online forums. Many of my classmates are the targets of this sort of  stereotypical name-calling and hate-speak.

For one of my communication studies classes last quarter, we interviewed a couple of die-hard karaoke singers, and they said the most annoying people to go on stage in karaoke bars are the "Lincoln Park Trixies and Chads."

So although the Lincoln Park Trixie Society's satirical website is a cultural relic of the past, the social stereotypes that it feeds on are still relevant today. I even came across an ad on Craigslist that searches for a Lincoln Park "trophy wife," and although the ad is teeming with stereotypical representations of a Lincoln Park "Trixie," perhaps its ultimate goal is some sort of understanding:

"I want to meet you for coffee somewhere. I'll probably drink a plain black coffee. I'm sure your order will take a paragraph, and you'll have to take about three breaths to say it. I just want to know what makes you tick. I don't understand you and it bothers me. I see you on the street and I feel like we're not even thinking about the same things. I'm probably thinking about the health care bills, music, etc...You're probably thinking about Mac Makeup and Reality TV or something. It doubt it will get physical, you'd probably want nothing to do with me anyway. I just don't understand you and I want some answers!"

I think that the only way to combat stereotypes is to talk about them. Whether we like it or not, Lincoln Park, it appears that at least on the internet our neighborhood is being characterized as a Trixie playground.

Where do you think these stereotypes come from? Why do you think they are targeted so specifically at the Lincoln Park neighborhood? What are the cultural implications of the Lincoln Park Trixie Society for the Lincoln Park neighborhood?

Do you agree with these characterizations? Have you ever been called a Trixie? Do you ever call other people Trixies?

Sure, all the previous discussions about Trixies and the Lincoln Park Trixie Society on the internet may have expired in 2006, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't bring them back to the table now.

Especially not with current tweets and Craigslist advertisements fueling the stereotypical fire.

What does this all mean, really?



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Peter Zelchenko said:


(That Flak article date didn't sound right: turns out it was from 2001, not 2008...)

It's been years since I've heard about LPTS. Their web site is dead, but look for some earlier stuff at from between around 2001 and 2003 when they were active. Here's a list:*/

Here's one that's populated:

Also see

jennkloc said:


Thanks for commenting, Peter! You're right, the article isn't from 2008. I meant that the publication itself, Flak Magazine, folded in 2008. I wasn't exactly sure when the article was published, so thanks for checking on that and clarifying it for me!

Thanks also for the other info! What do you think of these Trixie societies?

Peter Zelchenko said:


Not sure what to make of them, Jenn. There's always been a kind of ressentiment among the "smart" (read: poorish Logan Square, Pilsen artistes) college-educated against their more business-motivated (read: Lincoln Park, South Loop law school and MBA) cousins. And I do mean that they are often cousins. So, while I lack the details, I vaguely recall that the guy behind LPTS was a Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast. I might not need to say more, except that I believe he may have got his MBA from University of Chicago -- so perhaps he understands both animals?

The idea of Trixies was invented and propagated online, by a geek. But, like the vague-yet-clear notion of Yuppie, the quiche-eschewing real men, and other stereotypes of the 1980s, the Trixie is...what? Pretty accurate in many ways, I think. How many of your friends would you classify as a Yuppie? A Trixie? A geek? But we rarely are willing to point at ourselves. Thankfully, I'm male, and I'd never qualify as a Chad. Perhaps a geek, but I'd never admit it.

dunjastef said:

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I don't like these stereotypes because they're judging a person's intelligence and personality based on what they are wearing and what neighborhood they're walking around in.
I'll admit that I've walked into the Starbucks in Lincoln park wearing heels and my coach purse and paid for my cappuccino with my Duetto card, but that doesn't make me stupid. I've never walked around thinking about "Mac products" and have never followed a Reality TV show in my life, though unfortunately I'm sure that a random person has made those judgments about me. Though I can't play completely innocent and say I have never done the same.
Either way, it's an interesting thing to think about.

carfreechicago said:


When I think of the words "trixie" or "chad," I think of archaic or very conventional ideas about gender roles and very "normal" as defined by white culture. I think that's what's really at the root of the stereotype. It's kind of turning the idea of "normal" on its head. Think of the girly-girl and dumb jock trixie and chad stereotypes -- they're kind of caricatures of supposedly old-fashioned (white) American notions of man and woman. It's like 50s film characters just slightly updated. The trixie stereotype doesn't really fit for lipstick lesbians, nor chad for gay jocks, nor either for any minority group. Women labeled as trixies most likely appear conventionally feminine -- think long hair, lipstick, makeup, skirt, purse, high heels. A sensitive, skinny guy who doesn't like sports probably wouldn't be labeled a chad.

As far as the ties to Lincoln Park -- that's probably rooted in a history of cultural groups segregating into different neighborhoods. Maybe Lincoln Park exemplifies conventional middle-class white America? And I think of it as old-school American rather than having immigrant roots.

I agree stereotypes aren't helpful at all, but it's probably only fair considering all the stereotypes of minority culture groups in the US that there's a stereotype for conventional white Americans.

Ryan Smith said:


A lot of Chicagoans know the stereotypes about the kinds of people that live in different neighborhoods, (Lincoln Park is for rich young, yuppies, Logan Square is full of hipsters, Wicker Park is somewhere in between) and the answer to your question is that some of these reductive stereotypes are based on truth, and the rest are exaggerated or oversimplified.

I think there are complicated social forces at work here, but it is a fact that Lincoln Park is overwhelmingly high-income, upper-middle class, and white. We also know that there are plenty of expensive boutique stores, high-end restaurants, gyms, and lots of sports bars that do cater to the "yuppie lifestyle." It's hard to really deny that.

But the definition of "trixie" presented is super specific and it doesn't really describe that many Lincoln Park people I know. But are there more blonde girls who dress in designer clothes in LP than in say...Pilsen or Andersonville? Of course.

The other point is that the ones that decry Trixies and Chads are also being social elitists themselves in some way.

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