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  1. #121
    Hob Dobson's Avatar
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
    But the original question/thesis is not intended to be an exploration of sexuality or sexual preferences or even lifestyles
    You are the first person in the discussion to bring the subject up. There are probably better ways to state that you aren't interested in what people with sexual preferences and lifestyles other than your own might have to say on the subject.

  2. #122
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    I think the answer is pretty simple: a lot of the way people distinguish "masculine smells" from "feminine smells" or vice versa is directly related to perfume marketing that we've all been exposed to.

    For example, most people take it for granted that Brut, and all of the fragrance notes it contains, is a masculine scent. That's how Faberge wanted to market it: as a machoman scent. Consequently, other perfumes that have similar notes as Brut will often be regarded as "masculine".

    Now what if they decided to market Brut as a woman's fragrance? If it turned out that women wore Brut, it would have become a hit, and I believe our ideas of what a "feminine" scent is could have been turned on its head.

    Again, I picked Brut as just one example.

  3. #123

    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    I don't think it's a matter of what we play with or are drawn to, as much as WHAT WE DO WITH THEM that develops the associations. How we act with those those things (wood, flowers, tobacco were mentioned), are certainly socially driven by both gender and personal propensities. I'm not totally against genderizing perfumes (that's a marketing strategy), but I AM against genderizing fragrances or scents themselves.
    Last edited by Nymphaea; 1st April 2010 at 08:10 PM.

  4. #124
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Here is what is "sensible" - Wear what you want to wear, and don't worry/care about what someone else wants to wear - because it ain't none of your f'ing business.
    Please feel free to check out my Swap Thread - Patou pour Homme, L'Instant de Guerlain PH Extreme, Dior Homme Intense, Pure Malt, Pure Coffee and many more! Click Here For My Swap Thread

  5. #125
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by Renato View Post
    Most boys like playing with sticks, like carving wood with pocket knives, love climbing trees, love chopping wood when camping etc.
    Most girls love sticking flowers in their hair, picking flowers, smelling flowers, making those interminable daisy chains with real daisies.
    Most boys and girls like eating oranges and drinking lemonade.

    Most men wear woody scents, or scents with a significant woody component.
    Most women wear floral scents, or scents with a significant floral component.
    When wearing unisex scents, until recently most men and women went for citrusy scents.

    Amazing coincidence is it not?
    I think some things are just innate in this world.

    Despite the best efforts of some teachers trying to enforce their gender neutral philosophy in schools, boys still climb trees and play with wood, and they might give making daisy chains a try every now and then, but they'd still prefer a Daisy BB Gun.
    Cheers,
    Renato
    Quote Originally Posted by mrclmind View Post
    Most, perhaps... but a large number of boys and girls do NOT enjoy the things as labeled (I was one of them, as was my tom boy sister).
    I agree mrclmind. However, I do like to play with wood.
    Last edited by petruccijc; 1st April 2010 at 09:06 PM.
    Please feel free to check out my Swap Thread - Patou pour Homme, L'Instant de Guerlain PH Extreme, Dior Homme Intense, Pure Malt, Pure Coffee and many more! Click Here For My Swap Thread

  6. #126

    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Young men these days should want to smell like video game controllers.
    "It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing; it's what you're doing when you're doing what you look like you're doing."

  7. #127

    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    I'm going to play the resident contrarian for a bit, okidoki?
    Quote Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
    I guess I ought to start out by saying that although some folks will insist that it is all "in the nose of the beholder," and others that there is no difference whatsoever...
    Not just a question of some folks insisting... it's a plain & simple observation. Fact. Some "read" certain aromas and fragrances as feminine, some "read" the very same thing as masculine.

    if we start with the idea that words have meaning and that we actually can communicate something of significance to each other by respecting those meanings...
    That's fine & good, but in that case, please provide working definitions. I can guarantee you we'll be arguing until the cows come home otherwise.

    then the fact that words such as "masculine" and "feminine" even exist implies that there are real differences between the sexes
    That does emphatically not follow. The only thing it illustrates is the human desire to neatly categorize. To see patterns. To designate value, meaning and yes: gender to genderless objects/concepts.
    To put it differently: the existence of a philosophical concept does not necessitate the indisputable physical existence of the concept. (Not to go all religion-and-politics, just an illustration of the afore-mentioned: supernatural beings do not necessarily exist simply because we have a philosphical concept of them)

    and that these words describe characteristics and preferences associated with gender that are almost universally perceived across many cultures.
    Eh, that's just short-sighted.

    So....it follows then that some notes, some fragrances, must bring to mind aspects of masculine and feminine in ways that other fragrances do not...and much more readily. Some notes must resonate more with masculine sensibilities than others; and some more strongly with the feminine.
    Actually, I don't really disagree (much) with this, it's just the arguments leading up to this one that get my goat.
    Where we differ, I think, is that I very much doubt the existence of the objective standard that you seem to be arguing exists. Then again, here you seem to acknowledge it's not the same for everyone:
    For me, I associate wood and metal and smoke and leather and whisky (no "e") with the masculine; and food smells, flowers, and to a lesser extent, citrus, with the feminine.
    Quote Originally Posted by NYCBoy View Post
    Men: Snips and snails and puppy-dog tails

    Women: Sugar and spice and everything nice
    *Giggle*
    Oopsie, math is *hard*. Lemme go file my nails.

    ..Did you really just go there?
    Last edited by Morgaine; 1st April 2010 at 08:43 PM.
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  8. #128

    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by shamu1 View Post
    I think the answer is pretty simple: a lot of the way people distinguish "masculine smells" from "feminine smells" or vice versa is directly related to perfume marketing that we've all been exposed to.

    For example, most people take it for granted that Brut, and all of the fragrance notes it contains, is a masculine scent. That's how Faberge wanted to market it: as a machoman scent. Consequently, other perfumes that have similar notes as Brut will often be regarded as "masculine".

    Now what if they decided to market Brut as a woman's fragrance? If it turned out that women wore Brut, it would have become a hit, and I believe our ideas of what a "feminine" scent is could have been turned on its head.

    Again, I picked Brut as just one example.
    I agree that it's all marketing.

    I think the original poster has already spoken his views on this before and in numerous threads, so I will say again (as some other posters) that scents, IMHO, do not really have a gender. It's all marketing.

    Some aromatherapists call jasmine masculine and rose feminine. Go figure. Some will say jasmine is extremely feminine, being a flower. Tell that to a man from history who was a formidable duellist (both pistol and sword, thank you) and bare-knuckles boxer--who happened to be 6'3" and over 200 pounds--the Comte d'Orsay. He covered himself in jasmine.

    In the early part of the 20th century, many scents marketed to women were leathery chypres and some had tobacco notes. Think about Chanel's Cuir de Russie and Caron's Tabac Blond.

    The nature of women and men never changes (and vive la difference, I say), however, the promoting of fragrance does.

    The "genderfied" marketing of perfumes is really a late 19th and 20th century phenomenon.

    Quote Originally Posted by petruccijc View Post
    Here is what is "sensible" - Wear what you want to wear, and don't worry/care about what someone else wants to wear - because it ain't none of your f'ing business.
    I could not have said it better myself, petruccijc.
    Last edited by Primrose; 1st April 2010 at 09:12 PM.
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  9. #129

    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by petruccijc View Post
    I agree mrclmind. However, I do like to play with wood.
    Me too. It's a very different type of tree climbing.

    Let's please also start talking about Creed here.. I really, want to see this thread be a big one!
    Last edited by mrclmind; 1st April 2010 at 09:16 PM.

  10. #130
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
    I guess I ought to start out by saying that although some folks will insist that it is all "in the nose of the beholder," and others that there is no difference whatsoever...if we start with the idea that words have meaning and that we actually can communicate something of significance to each other by respecting those meanings...then the fact that words such as "masculine" and "feminine" even exist implies that there are real differences between the sexes and that these words describe characteristics and preferences associated with gender that are almost universally perceived across many cultures.

    So....it follows then that some notes, some fragrances, must bring to mind aspects of masculine and feminine in ways that other fragrances do not...and much more readily. Some notes must resonate more with masculine sensibilities than others; and some more strongly with the feminine.
    This conversation is getting old here on Basenotes, but let's show new members some respect, and look at it one more time.

    Let's see... how do we make this clear?

    There are differences between the sexes. Some are inborn, and some are learned.

    Our bodies and our hormones are what we've come into the world with. Sex roles and preferences in perfumes are conditioned responses to cultural stimuli.


    The perfume stereotypes you mention are inculcated by the industry for their exclusive profit. They take common cultural stereotypes and use them in advertising to manipulate the market. If you want to be part of that, fine for you. Many of us don't like that game, however, and so we don't play by those rules.


    It seems that many people need to reinforce their gender identity by seeking social validation through conformity to sex role stereotypes. If that makes them comfortable, I suppose there's no harm in that... until people assume that it's the only truth and beat others over the head with it.


    If you're convinced you're right, and that there's only one way to be a man, be happy there. That universe is just too small for me.
    Last edited by JaimeB; 1st April 2010 at 09:44 PM.
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  11. #131

    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Commercial, big business perfumery is an abstract, irrational, emotional invention, that reflects the conventions of its time. A clear cut division of masculine and feminine traits is also an abstract, irrational and emotional invention. I think many here know that Old Spice was originally created and marketed as a women's fragrance.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 2nd April 2010 at 12:39 AM.

  12. #132
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Canoe by Dana was also originally marketed to women, but it didn't sell well. When men started to buy it, the sales took off and it was then formally marketed to men.

  13. #133

    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by NYCBoy View Post
    Canoe by Dana was also originally marketed to women, but it didn't sell well. When men started to buy it, the sales took off and it was then formally marketed to men.
    Who here is old enough to remember the TV Commercial "Do you Canoe?"

  14. #134
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by petruccijc View Post
    I agree mrclmind. However, I do like to play with wood.
    No doubt there's variation - I hated climbing trees (it's high up there).
    But I loved whittling with a knife, or hitting wood with an axe - something about that nice smell of wood.
    Cheers,
    Renato

  15. #135

    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by Renato View Post
    No doubt there's variation - I hated climbing trees (it's high up there).
    But I loved whittling with a knife, or hitting wood with an axe - something about that nice smell of wood.
    Cheers,
    Renato
    That sounds like the kind of stuff my sis was into actually!

  16. #136
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
    I know you won't agree but I don't think conditioning has anything to do with it. As if we were entirely receptive to brainwashing and could not ever transcend it. I think we come into this world with certain innate character traits and characteristics. And certain propensities--likes and dislike, as who should say.. So many "untoward" notions spring from the proposition that we are a product of our conditioning that I am surprised anyone even takes it seriously anymore.

    There is an old saying (and old sayings tend to be condensed bits of real wisdom) ...that "the hand that rocks the cradle controls the world." If conditioning were the answer, we'd all like just what our mothers liked.
    Just think of the conditioning that would be required to set up one multi billion dollar industry - flowers and florists.
    When was the last time that you or any of your male friends were going out on a date, or it was your birthday, and the girlfirends, wives showed up with a nice big bunch of flowers as a gift for you?

    Just think of the conditioning that would be involved in setting up another trillion dollar industry - the hardware industry.
    When was the last time you or any of your male friends were going out on a date, or it was her birthday, and you showed up with a power saw (or any other hardware item) as a gift for her?

    Just think of all those flower arranging classes, all over flowing with men, right?
    Or of all those woodworking classes, over flowing with women students, correct?

    Anyhow, that's why I think some things are innate, and that flow across to scents and some scent components. Manufacturers and marketers stand to lose a lot of money if they fight against the ingrained flow.
    Renato
    Last edited by Renato; 2nd April 2010 at 12:03 AM.

  17. #137

    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by Renato View Post
    Just think of the conditioning that would be required to set up one multi billion dollar industry - flowers and florists.
    When was the last time that you or any of your male friends were going out on a date, or it was your birthday, and the girlfirends, wives showed up with a nice big bunch of flowers as a gift for you?

    Just think of the conditioning that would be involved in setting up another trillion dollar industry - the hardware industry.
    When was the last time you or any of your male friends were going out on a date, or it was her birthday, and you showed up with a power saw (or any other hardware item) as a gift for her?

    Just think of all those flower arranging classes, all over flowing with men, right?
    Or of all those woodworking classes, over flowing with women students, correct?

    Anyhow, that's why I think some things are innate, and they flow across to scents. Manufacturers and marketers stand to lose a lot of money if they fight against the ingrained flow.
    Renato
    A lot of those gender roles have been breaking down for quite a while now. I think it really depends on what part of the world you live in.

  18. #138
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by mrclmind View Post
    That sounds like the kind of stuff my sis was into actually!
    Oddly enough, my wife was more into climbing trees than I ever was.
    But on the few occasions I've bought her some feminine woody scents (Black Cashmere), she's asked me why I bought her something that made her smell butch.
    Renato

  19. #139
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by mrclmind View Post
    A lot of those gender roles have been breaking down for quite a while now. I think it really depends on what part of the world you live in.
    No doubt, circumstances create some change, and hardware stores now carry lots of kitchen items, and some have lots of plants and plant stuff.
    But the only men I've ever seen regularly receiving flowers, were of the deceased type - on their caskets.
    Renato

  20. #140

    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by Renato View Post
    No doubt, circumstances create some change, and hardware stores now carry lots of kitchen items, and some have lots of plants and plant stuff.
    But the only men I've ever seen regularly receiving flowers, were of the deceased type - on their caskets.
    Renato
    You haven't spent much time around my friends. Some of the top floral designers in SoCal are men, BTW.

  21. #141
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Stereotyping--that strikes me as one of those old bugaboos used to scare small children and uncertain personalities. I don't prefer "masculine" scents because I lean toward one stereotype or another. I prefer them because I prefer them. Evidence? I'm 64 years old. I've been working with leather all my adult life. It doesn't pay...not enough for me to gratify a stereotype. I do it because I love the smell, the feel, the sensuousness of leather. (I also was a florists apprentice for several years...I like flowers and I like natural science but arranging and the constant suffocating perfume didn't inspire).

    I have been turning wood for 15 years. I work with pewter a bit and silver and ivory.

    I drink Laphroig Quarter Cask--one of the peatiest, smokiest whiskys in the world and I damn sure don't like it because it's necessarily smooth or fits a stereotype.

    Question...Which comes first the hat or the cows? Answer...it doesn't make a damn bit of difference.

    I suspect that one of the reasons this question gets so much resistance...and a careful reading of my original post might suggest that I didn't intend for it to take this course...is that down deep we all know that there are hard, objective, scientifically validatable differences in the sexes. The way we think; the way we make decisions; the impulses that motivate us. And that knowledge makes a lot of people uncomfortable if for no other reason that it's not a popular point of view.

    This is the "Male Fragrance Discussion." Why make the distinction at all if there is not some resonance? If this question keeps coming up it is because no one wants to deal with it squarely. If it keeps coming up and it keeps getting put down with politically correct cant, it only serves to diminish the credibility of those posting here.

    Bottom line...I don't give a damn if a person wears feminine fragrances...not my cup of tea...I don't give a damn if a woman would, in her deepest heart, rather be "one of the boys" or if a man feels more comfortable in the presence of other men. That's the joy of being human...variety and the ability to transcend even (some) genetic programming. I do, however, see it as a bit disingenuous to assert that such differences and fundamental sensibilities do not exist.

    It's "spitting" into the wind.
    Last edited by DWFII; 2nd April 2010 at 12:31 AM.
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  22. #142
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
    I guess I ought to start out by saying that although some folks will insist that it is all "in the nose of the beholder," and others that there is no difference whatsoever...if we start with the idea that words have meaning and that we actually can communicate something of significance to each other by respecting those meanings...then the fact that words such as "masculine" and "feminine" even exist implies that there are real differences between the sexes and that these words describe characteristics and preferences associated with gender that are almost universally perceived across many cultures.


    So....it follows then that some notes, some fragrances, must bring to mind aspects of masculine and feminine in ways that other fragrances do not...and much more readily. Some notes must resonate more with masculine sensibilities than others; and some more strongly with the feminine.

    What are those notes?

    For me, I associate wood and metal and smoke and leather and whisky (no "e") with the masculine; and food smells, flowers, and to a lesser extent, citrus, with the feminine.

    Yes, there are differences between the sexes, but it's a little bit conditioned, forced contemplation to say that notes are associated with sexes. This happens because fragrance has lost it's luxury and art side and has become a commodity, something that one uses, but not really understand. I think that saying that some notes are more masculine or feminine is like saying that some colors can only be used by boys and some colors can only be used by girls, which is insane and fossil. We must stop thinking fragrance as a gender guided and start to interpret it as an art, and art hasn't sex. A proof that your association doesn't make sense is there is a lot of 80's feminine fragrances very leathery and fierce, fragrances with smoky accents that were very famous between girls - like Tabac Blond for Caron. I'm not saying that you have to use fragrances marketed, but I don't think is clever approach separating fragrances by their accords. Espeacially because a great fragrance uses great materials in a manner that breaks this commercial non-sense approach. If you are just a fragrance user, the gender approach is fine to you. But if you really like and wants go beyond, this is something that only hinders you on your perceptions.

  23. #143
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by Pollux View Post
    DWFII, I do agree with you. But labels are tricky: Dior Homme feels femenine (floral and gourmand) while Cabochard by Gres feels masculine (leather). As a matter of fact, I feel more comfortable wearing Cabochard than Dior Homme.
    I fully disagree about dior homme being feminine. There is a big leathery and lavender base surrounding the gourmand accent. It can be a more delicate fragrance. I feel comfortable wearing dior homme, it's delicate but strong at the same time, as a man that are not affraid to hiding himself at a fake super macho thing. But I have days that I like my fragrances rough too, so Cabochard must suits me weel too.

  24. #144
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by Renato View Post
    Just think of the conditioning that would be required to set up one multi billion dollar industry - flowers and florists.
    When was the last time that you or any of your male friends were going out on a date, or it was your birthday, and the girlfirends, wives showed up with a nice big bunch of flowers as a gift for you?

    Just think of the conditioning that would be involved in setting up another trillion dollar industry - the hardware industry.
    When was the last time you or any of your male friends were going out on a date, or it was her birthday, and you showed up with a power saw (or any other hardware item) as a gift for her?

    Just think of all those flower arranging classes, all over flowing with men, right?
    Or of all those woodworking classes, over flowing with women students, correct?

    Anyhow, that's why I think some things are innate, and that flow across to scents and some scent components. Manufacturers and marketers stand to lose a lot of money if they fight against the ingrained flow.
    Renato
    Yes, there are rules, but they only apply for those who wish to submit to these rules. They are not natural, you cannot proof scientifically those things. You can accept them, or you can be critical about it. It only depends on you wanting to stand out and think for yourself or following the crowd. Following the crowd is easier, but also automatic and boring two.
    I'd love to receive flowers by a woman, it'd shows that she commited to buy something different and took risks.

  25. #145
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
    ...is that down deep we all know that there are hard, objective, scientifically validatable differences in the sexes. The way we think; the way we make decisions; the impulses that motivate us. And that knowledge makes a lot of people uncomfortable if for no other reason that it's not a popular point of view.
    As pertains to tastes in fragrances, we'll just have to disagree about these impulses.
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  26. #146

    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Would it be possible to bracket the stuff about the role of biology itself in preference, agree that for whatever reason there are smells we love--for the sake of argument--because we are men, and go ahead and do some speculating about which those are? There's a lot of interesting and useful stuff to be said about perfume and identity, even if we can't agree about the causes of identity or the most meaningful ways of categorizing identity.

    Gotta say, the frags that make me feel most like a man aren't the frags that feel most earthy or dirty but the frags that I associate with masculine elegance. I really love wearing AdP Colonia, for instance--the rosemary/rose accord against the dry, restrained lemon/moss accord suggests a very restrained but powerful form of masculine consciousness. Makes me feel like the man I want to be. As I think about it that way, Colonia doesn't seem masculine to me because of any one note but more because of a set of tensions. To me it says something about the constant sense of wanting to be very physical and active and having to rethink, wait, restrain. I associate that with being a man, and specifically being a good man. Or at least, for the time being, a domesticated one. Not saying anything about biology here, just sharing.
    Anyone else want to play?
    Last edited by Strollyourlobster; 2nd April 2010 at 02:01 AM.

  27. #147
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    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by Strollyourlobster View Post
    Would it be possible to bracket the stuff about the role of biology itself in preference, agree that for whatever reason there are smells we love--for the sake of argument--because we are men, and go ahead and do some speculating about which those are? There's a lot of interesting and useful stuff to be said about perfume and identity, even if we can't agree about the causes or identity or the most meaningful ways of categorizing identity.
    That's the kind of thing I had in mind...
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  28. #148

    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Are the majority of fragrances discussed in the "Male Fragrance Discussion" board those that are marketed to men? I think so. To read these gender threads you would think that the majority of scents discussed here are Joy and L'air du Temps. I'm not trying to be argumentative at all, it just surprises me that this is such a common topic on these boards, and usually it's brought up by men who don't like to wear fragrances marketed to women (not necessarily this case in this particular thread by the way). I'm not being critical at all, just observant.

    But on topic to your original question, it's not only notes, but combinations of notes and fragrance styles that are often considered "masculine" For instance the fougere category and the lavender category have been very popular "masculine" scent categories throughout the 20th century. It is in the Chypre and Oriental categories that the gender lines started getting crossed the most frequently.

    Citrus and EDC type scents have been considered unisex for quite a long time.

    Those are my 2 little ole cents for what they are worth.
    Last edited by mrclmind; 2nd April 2010 at 02:21 AM.

  29. #149

    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    I'm not settled about how I see my masculinity but it is important to me, and it's useful to talk about it. I very much like that the emphasis on Basenotes is on expanding and blurring notions of gender--I'm from a background that defined masculinity in really constricting ways. But I still find 'masculine' a good and useful word, maybe in part because--like 'beautiful' and 'good'-- it's an evolving question for me.
    Last edited by Strollyourlobster; 2nd April 2010 at 02:34 AM.

  30. #150

    Default Re: gender sensibilities

    Quote Originally Posted by Strollyourlobster View Post
    Yeah, but there's a difference between talking about a 'masculine' frag and talking about masculinity.
    See the addition to my post above... Sorry, I hit save before I finished...

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