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  1. #1

    Question what makes a fragrance feminine/masculine

    I'm sure this is not a new topic, but here it is today, by me.

    As I learn about scents (and my reaction to them), I find that sometimes I buy into concepts and labels that genderize scents. Other times, I wonder. Sometimes I think dry = masculine and sweet = feminine; or aromatic = masculine and floral = feminine. But I sure know that the world isn't black-and-white, that labels are constructs, and that I (a man) may like or dislike a scent regardless of its gendered label.

    I invite your reactions to this issue (or non-issue).

    And here is an excellent article I read, in a blog entry by Ayala Moriel. It is part of a longer article, "what makes a scent masculine?" I urge people to have a look-see, I found it very thought-provoking.

    “…if thinking of the philosophical terms of what ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ mean, we could, perhaps, make the distinction between notes that are ‘projective’ as opposed to notes that are ‘receptive’. Notes that approach you as opposed to notes that draw you in. This might explain why notes such as citrus, herbs and spices are often considered more masculine and are used in abundance in masculine fragrances (they simply ‘come and get you’), while other notes – more round and ‘receptive’ so to speak, such as the floral and amber-y notes, can be more readily perceived as ‘feminine’.

    http://ayalasmellyblog.blogspot.com/...1_archive.html

    Cheers to all. Here's to the wonderful world of perfume and sharing the experience.
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

  2. #2

    Default Re: what makes a fragrance feminine/masculine

    Quote Originally Posted by odysseusm View Post
    And here is an excellent article I read, in a blog entry by Ayala Moriel. It is part of a longer article, "what makes a scent masculine?" I urge people to have a look-see, I found it very thought-provoking.

    “…if thinking of the philosophical terms of what ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ mean, we could, perhaps, make the distinction between notes that are ‘projective’ as opposed to notes that are ‘receptive’. Notes that approach you as opposed to notes that draw you in."
    Hmm. . . interesting question. I know some would argue that there are no gender designations. Wear what you like, and all that. I can only speak for myself, of course.

    My definition of masculine has a lot to do with scents my dad wore when I was little, versus what my mother or other female relatives/friends wore. Scent is tied to memory for me. And my dad did not wear Yatagan, so although so many people say it's manly enough to put hair on a woman's chest who might dare wear it, I really can't say it smells manly to me.

    As for projection, I'd have to say that there are some female-designated perfumes that have a HECK of a lot of projection. And I really think they're quite feminine. Carolina Herrera's Carolina Herrera being one (an 80's power scent, I guess). I abhore Carolina Herrera, by the way. (Hi, Perfume_Addict!!! I gave her my bottle.)

    Then there are other really feminine perfumes such as Revlon's Ciara. I think Ciara has a LOT of projection. But to me, I associate it with a specific person, who happens to be female, and if I smelled it on a guy, I would be really surprised.

    I think Hypnotic Poison has something in it that smells "manly." I don't know what it is, so I can't say why it makes me think "guy's perfume." But in the drydown, when that smell comes and goes, I think, "This would smell great on a guy."

    I'm sure you'll get varied answers from other Basenotes members.

  3. #3

    Default Re: what makes a fragrance feminine/masculine

    Quote Originally Posted by Aiona View Post
    Carolina Herrera's Carolina Herrera being one (an 80's power scent, I guess). I abhore Carolina Herrera, by the way. (Hi, Perfume_Addict!!! I gave her my bottle.)
    HI....Yes, I love that big-shouldered Carolina Herrera! Its an uber-floral :-) But I'm one of those people who has always rejected gender stereotypes, including when it comes to fragrance. Some days I may prefer florals - soft or loud - others I like dry or woody scents, and just recently I've discoverd fougeres. I try to find the fragrance that fits my mood and the situation, and some days that may be a gender-neutral eau de cologne, some days a leather, lately Chypres because I think they're ideal for autumn.

    And while I've never really considered what Carolina Herrera would smell like on a man, orange blossom certainly is a frequent note in masculine fragrances. If I was snuggling up to a man's neck and smelled CH, I don't think it would put me off at all. I say explore all the possibilities and wear what makes you happy and delights your nose.

  4. #4

    Default Re: what makes a fragrance feminine/masculine

    I'll note before saying anything that of course whether or not a certain note, frag etc. is perceived as masc./fem. has nothing, imo, to do with who can or should wear it.

    Incense, to me, is very masculine. However, I really like incense and will happily wear it myself (I have a sample of Zagorsk on the way that I am looking forward to). Green foresty scents are also masculine seeming.

    Florals feel unisex...in some formulations I find rose more masculine than feminine (I prefer the former).

    Feminine scents to me might be scents I perceive as maternal or inviting - milk, baking, soft earth etc. My favourite frags are amongst these.
    "It's now very common to hear people say "I'm rather offended by that." As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well so fucking what." - Stephen Fry

  5. #5

    Default Re: what makes a fragrance feminine/masculine

    I have been waiting for the words to express what I wanted to say, and Ledbymynose just came up with it: "green foresty scents"! Things like Eau de Cartier or Ormonde Jayne Tolu. Also those astringent, bracing, gin & tonic-y, vetivery scents that I may occasionally be in the mood for, but associate with men first and foremost.

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