Originally Posted by treeman5823
Evangeline, ideas about masculinity and femininity in perfume are culture based, and are thus subjective--and often arbitrary--classifications. Furthermore, gender cannot be so clearly demarcated as in fashion: a dress is a dress, but a floral is not exlusively for women (Insense). Why should a woman fear the fougere and men the floral? Perfume genres are types, not typecasts.
But should we pay heed to cultural norms? That's up to you. Also note that perfume operates, unlike fashion, on a continuum: one may put on only a drop of perume, whereas one must wear an entire dress when wearing a dress. Thus a man who wears a "feminine" perfume may do so subtly.
Of course they are culture-based - we all live in culture-based societies - but why does that matter? These notions exist, and there's nothing wrong with acknowledging them, even if you don't let the norms determine your perfume wearing preferences. Denying they exist, ignoring them or mentally "neutering" everything won't make gender go away, and won't make a girly, feminine fragrance smell manly or even unisex just because a dude wants to "rock" it. It's not the individual notes or accords, btw, that might determine how a fragrance will be marketed or perceived - it's the overall composition. Feminine fougĂ¨res exist, as do masculine florals. But your statement about types and typecasts is exactly my point - perfume types (masc and fem) do most definitely exist, but we have choices, and don't have to typecast ourselves as only feminine or masculine. We can wear what we want, whether it's more feminine, more masculine or equal measures of both ...or neither.
Your second point clarifies something for me - you can actually discern the difference between at least some "so-called" feminines and masculines. That's good to know! There are certainly vastly varying degrees of either, just like a dress can be ultra-feminine or tailored and streamlined (hence my Marc Jacobs remark - it wasn't frilly and overtly feminine, but he made a dress for a man, but he was still, oddly enough, a man in a dress.) I agree that a man can wear just a bit of something feminine ...however, no matter how subtle, it'll still be feminine. Wearing a lot of it may be more daring in some situations, but it doesn't make the fragrance any more feminine than if he just wears a drop. Imagine a cowboy, for instance, wearing a small cameo and pearl brooch - that's just a tiny bit of something rather feminine, right? The very true statement that "pearls are inherently unisex" won't make this dainty little brooch any less feminine, but wearing it won't make him any less of a macho cowboy. If he's man enough and truly open-minded enough to wear it without worrying what others think, then he shouldn't have a problem calling it "feminine," either.