Tourist Attractions: Performing Race &
Masculinity in Brazil’s Sexual Economy
by Gregory Mitchell
University of Chicago Press. 274 pages, $30.
FOR ONCE, that pretentious concept dear to queer theorists—“performance”—seems apt. In Gregory Mitchell’s study of male sex workers in Brazil, the muscular machos for rent in certain saunas in Rio de Janeiro really are putting on an act, trying to match themselves to the fantasy that tourists from America and Europe have of Brazilian men. These fantasies are so demanding and romantic that, several chapters into this book, the reader begins to wonder if it might be best if all international travel were banned. The problem with that, however, is that tourism is now a huge industry, and gay tourism is an increasingly large chunk of it, particularly in Brazil.