Scents have a gender

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Scents have a gender

Numerous perfume brands that clearly indicate on the bottle regardless of whether you are carrying a perfume for men or women are easy to substitute the X and Y. Some firms use a neutral moniker and approach it more gently, but they do have separate sections on their website for men and women.

Similar to this, a traditional perfumery typically has separate sections for men and women. This is striking at an age in which the concept of gender has long since ceased to be convertible to this basic split. Then, what or who precisely decides if a scent is appropriate for men or women?

Status used to matter, not gender

The practise of perfumery vanishes in Europe for a few centuries along with the fall of the Great Roman Empire and the birth of Christianity. People only used perfume for sanitary and medical purposes during the Middle Ages. They do, after all, believe that unpleasant odours can be harmful.

The Wars of the Crusades and business with the East offer novel and undiscovered goods and perfumes to the West. From Italy, it sparks a resurgence of interest in scent that extends throughout Europe starting in the Renaissance. Bathing is discouraged because it was believed that taking a bath would allow the plague, also known as the black death, to enter your body. Bad smells are concealed by perfume.

However, because to their high cost, these raw resources are exclusively accessible to wealthy nobles. Thus, wearing perfume doubles as a status signal in addition to being a sign of “cleanliness.” In the procedure, gender differences are not made. Louis XIV, for example, enjoyed using orange blossom as a perfume.

As the middle class grows, new gender norms appear

Certain scent tropes have only gained traction in Europe since the 19th century. A fresh middle class is emerging at this period of economic expansion, one that can progressively purchase more luxury goods. In order to accommodate this increasing demand, industrial advancement also makes it possible to manufacture these goods more quickly and widely. The finding of synthetic chemicals in particular is propelling explosive expansion in the perfume business.

However, this is also a period in which gender roles are beginning to diverge more. While the middle-class wife stays at home to take care of the kids and clean the house, the middle-class husband goes to work. Businesses are taking advantage of this by arbitrarily categorizing their items based on those stereotypes. Likewise, with perfume.

The intended market for perfumes is mostly women. Fragrances with delicate flower notes are presented in ‘feminine’, beautiful, curved bottles and promoted with ads that feature an idealised female figure. All of a sudden, scent is associated with “women” rather than the “rich.” Those brands deliberately use this tactic to uphold social norms regarding our ideal appearance and odour.

Men who are successful shouldn’t wear perfume anymore. From now on, a new aftershave and, at best, some cologne (created in 1709 by German inventor Giovanni Maria Farina) or lavender fluid will do for them.

The research for guys

Caron produced “pour un homme,” an eau de toilette, in 1934, which is the first “men’s perfume.” It turned into a big hit and is still available for purchase. All of a sudden, the perfume industry finds a new market. Companies that had previously manufactured aftershave or concentrated mostly on women recognize that a shift is coming and begin selling fragrances specifically for guys.

Men are more likely to be persuaded to wear milder scents like Eau de Toilette and Eau de Cologne. Too many people equate the word “perfume” with women. The bottles are bold, angular, and radiate virility. The posters feature prosperous men. The smells are strong and fragrant.

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