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Past ScentsHistorical Perspectives on Smell$
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Jonathan Reinarz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252034947

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252034947.001.0001

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Seduction and Subversion

Seduction and Subversion

Gender and Smell

(p.113) 4 Seduction and Subversion
Past Scents

Jonathan Reinarz

University of Illinois Press

This chapter details a variety of historical contexts where distinctions between masculine and feminine scents were less clear or only beginning to be outlined with clarity. The distinction between male and female scents emerges as a relatively recent invention in the long history of perfume. Only in the last couple of decades have perfumers attempted to reintroduce consumers to unisex, let alone queer, scents. Moreover, while in the last century the perfume industry may have employed disproportionate numbers of male scientists to improve rates of extraction and build global empires, the captains of this vast industry during periods of great expansion were just as often women. This chapter aims to address these and other aspects of smell culture and to broadly chart the overtly gendered olfactory landscape from ancient to modern times.

Keywords:   perfumes, feminine scent, masculine scent, gender, perfume industry, female scents, male scents

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