Gender studies are very interesting, DWFII, and shed light on the difference between "gender" and "sex". It's a great foundational resource for forming arguments related to marketing versus biology! I recommend the books of Bell Hooks, Sandy Stone, and Germaine Greer if it's a subject you'd care to explore.
Firstly, I, for one, wholeheartedly agree that boys do "boy things" and girls do "girl things", and that it's almost humorously irrepressible
. It's not by any means universal (I, myself was always an "boyish" adventurer-type, and I love to play with wood
.), but I have seen some compelling literature (especially supporting chromosomal assignment for hermaphroditic babies, rather than random assignment) and had the most profound experience of raising a total "boy" -- cue "VROOOOMM!!" "POW, You are dead, Mommy!" -- despite my more pacifistic, more "free-form" parenting.
However, I have grown to understand what other things societies on this earth (not just marketing, mind you) have ascribed to one gender or another, that do not necessarily bear upon chromosomal distinctions. In fact, sociologists observe many gender codes indeed seem almost "universal" (especially with the modern "global canopy" effect). That is not to say they are indelible
, timeless, or grounded in "solid" biological reasoning. E.g., "manly" men from many
modern cultures worldwide may claim to love a hard, rough whiskey (without acknowledging any marketing or societal influences), but that is not to say that the same whiskey would strike any male-identified Yanomami Indian or African Bushman as appealing, "hearty", tough... or particularly gender-specific for that matter.
Gender-versus-biology becomes "hairy", to be sure
, but two things are certain: gender training is universal
, and gender perceptions are extremely powerful...
With regard to "the senses", I agree wholeheartedly with Ruggles
.... That the senses don't innately veer towards particular preferences with regard to SEX. And that liberation from that sort-of thinking is gorgeous
! However, the gender issue (Primrose
, I'd argue that marketing mirrors society with regard to gender attribution.) is CLEARLY another matter. And in 20th century Western Societies gender-attributions became a key element in marketing. And savvy merchandisers looked to already extant delineations that would or could support their products' claims of a "natural" gender bias! And DWFIII
, you are totally right! Leathers and bourbons and rough-hewn, "forester" smells (These mirrored the modern societies' gender roles.) were very quickly applied to a new, very-divided
fragrance market! And for several decades certain associations to notes as well as formulae (Florals were for women and Fougeres were for men.) informed generations of fragrance buyers and comfortably reflected our all-important gender ideals.
For reference: another sense-related example, which is strictly the product of gender training: Hungry Man soups for men and chocolate-covered cherries for women... It's true that the custom of Western men is to gift women chocolates and that many working class men are poor and eat soup, but how does this unequivocally imply that persons with vaginae don't like stewed beef or that persons with penises don't enjoy chocolates? We must be careful!
It is important to observe, as a newcomer to fragrance, too, that gender associations are rapidly shifting in prasens... And that a lot of the knowledgeable connoisseurs here at bn as well as the more exciting perfumers today are at the forefront of these changes! What's old is new, and what was butch is femme! It's such an interesting time to study scent! And it's even very delightful for some of us to "look back", with the awareness of more diffuse gender lines, at the silliness of past "rigid gender-attributions that are --sometimes-- almost anachronistic-seeming to their fusty, old claims!
With this in mind, I also agree with you, DWFII
, that some of us folks here can be indeed
a tad "disingenuous" in response to many gentleman who are simply looking for fragrances that "fit" into gender categories -- however old-fashioned -- that we for the most part, damned well understand...deeply understand.
is such a POWERFUL experience
as well as social reality, and because we ALL --each one of us -- have defined ourselves somewhere within it's myriad gamuts. And I'd further argue we all understand even the most mainstream attributions and marketing trends as they relate to gender very intimately (whether we reject them, detest them, or digest them) because we as humans are naturally very aware of others gender identities as well as eager to define ourselves! And for those people who have comfortably defined themselves within the auspices of convenient, mainstream guidelines, I'd argue the smell of a aromatic fougere (Sure, folks, a few women's scents were also fougere-like, but we know Quorum
does not smell like Joy
.) is as comforting and untroubling as a plaid flannel button-down. And that's not crime, however frustrating it is for us more adventurous, unfettered sensualists!
Finally, I for one, try to be heedful of the requests of gentleman who care to stick to -- however passe -- strict, fragrance gender ascriptions. And if I do suggest the occasional women's fragrance to fellows I perceive thusly, you can be sure it's one I honestly, actually think smells pretty "masculine", like Cabochard
. I have even seen some guys grow into an "easiness" experimenting with broader ranges as their love of the scent world expands, btw. It frustrates me to some degree, but I don't actually feel compelled to "shove" my dogma down their "throats".
Hope that helps.