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Part III Gender and Perfume


We decided to create our own blog where we could post any and all questions or observations we've had about perfume and cologne ads:

Gender Scents Blog

We focused on the different marketing strategies that are meant to appeal to men, women, or both by using the widely popular "sex sells" formula as well as others. We had many curiosities about the gender division of scents and the way in which advertisements perpetuate traditional gender identities. There was also the question about why it is specifically fragrance products that so often use sex and gender as marketing strategies.

While perfume and cologne advertisements are found in many public spaces: billboards, magazines, television, etc. these spaces do not allow for comparing and discussion. Taking these images and putting them all together on a blog on the internet provides a forum of discussion for literally anyone with access to the internet. Finding them all in one place presented in such a way that invokes curiosity (like the way we have, posing questions and our own curiosities) opens up discussion. Social media such as this is a way to share information because it allows individuals to come across perspectives and insights that they may not have otherwise. This accessibility that the internet provides is what we had in mind for our project as a feminist issue. The more accessible information is made, the more knowledge people can gain. Our blog can be even more accessible through linking to popular social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

Courtney, Thanh, Meghan, Madeleine, Jordan

Stage 2- Body Product Ads and Gender


Thanh, Meghan, Jordan, Madeleine, Courtney.

1. (Thanh)
We're surrounded by advertisements that desperately compete for our attention. Everywhere we look, we find ourselves inevitably drawn to images of scantily clad attractive men and women that are supposed to somehow inspire us to purchase products they endorse. Sure, this attention-getting strategy is popular. But, is it effective?

Sex appeal can increase the effectiveness of an ad or commercial because it attracts the customer's attention. It's human nature to be curious about sex. A pair of long legs on a billboard is more likely to catch (and hold) a guy's attention than a puppy, regardless of how cute it may be. Even women are drawn to them, perhaps with the desire of having goddess-like legs.

The purpose of advertising is to convince people that products are of use to them in one way or another. If people agree, they will buy them. However abusing your audience's attention is a dangerous thing. Many campaigns deemed offensive have started brand boycotts that affect sales and damage brand reputation.

The website below is example of sex ads from big business:
15 Ads That Prove Sex Sells...Best?

2. (Courtney)

Bitch Media: Mad World

Part 1) The Mad World blog is from Bitch Media, the website for *Bitch*magazine. The website and blog's mission, as stated on the website, is "to provide and encourage an engaged, thoughtful feminist response to mainstream media and culture". We are studying advertisements which is a part of mainstream media, so this website has the information we need. *Bitch*magazine and its affiliated website and blogs are a part of a non-profit organization. The magazine and other *Bitch* media has been critically
acclaimed by legitimate sources, so I believe this source to be reliable.

Part 2) *Bitch* magazine is available through many different outlets. The magazine has 11,000 subscribers worldwide, the website was one of the first resources I stumbled upon while researching so I believe it gets a lot of internet traffic, 21,000 people are registered on the website. They have a facebook, a twitter, retail locations for the magazine, and downloadable
audio podcasts. This amount of media outlets and prevalence makes this a very accessible source.

3. (Meghan)
Project Muse: Advertising and Society Review

1 - This website was found using Google and helped me with some preliminary research for this particular project. After reading it through I discovered it was relevant in terms of sexual advertising in general. In focused on a variety of products, including fragrances. It asked and slightly explained the question "does sex sell?" It more asked the questions then gave a good solid response. The Muse Project sponsors the site, which is a collection of journals from non-profit publishers. The fact that they are not seeking a profit makes them a little trustworthy. This article is more explanatory and in my opinion does not really push a specific feminist agenda but simply asked the question. The same question my group is examining.

2 - These resources like many of the other resources we have used are not extremely easy for the public to access. Most people who read these articles, blogs, or other works written in or from the feminist perspective have to be looking for them. They usually don't pop-up on the front page of the New York Times or the Huffington Post and most of the time people who come across these resources are looking for a specific thing or share similar views with the writer. This particular source was found by using Google. I was looking for a specific blog or article or something relevant to our group's topic and even with a specific goal finding this source was not easy. The access to this website is not impossible but a person has to be looking for something specific.

This information could of course become more available but several things would have to happen. The information, which is readily available, is the information, which interests the most people, and sadly to say that is most often superficial information. This is why the most Googled people tend to be celebrities and not politicians or key world figures. However, this information was on the Internet and therefore anyone in the world with access to the Internet could access this computer. By making feminist issues more prevalent in peoples lives and by making the worldwide web easier to access across the globe more people will read and understand these issues better.

4. (Madeleine)
Feminine Things.

This website is very relevant to the question of the way fragrances are sold in our culture. It is written by a "perfumista" who devotes her blog to examining every imaginable aspect of perfume, its appeal, and its marketing. Because this is a woman who has set out to become an expert on her subject area, and who posts intelligent and thoughtful entries frequently, she can be considered a worthwhile voice on this topic. If we accept the premise that one does not need to be published in a scholarly journal and/or have a doctorate to be taken seriously in a subject area, then this source is certainly reliable. The entries that she writes often do not mention feminism explicitly, which in my eyes almost adds credibility because she is not relentlessly "on a mission" to prove a specific point she's already decided must be true. When she writes about feminism, it's because something has made itself clear to her even though she's been looking at the wider picture.

She does have a section of her website devoted to feminist entries she's written:

Perfume and Feminist Aesthetics

This information is valuable because it presents us with specific examples of the ideas behind the kinds of campaigns we're focusing on in our project. It also allows us to begin our thinking with an expert's musings on the subject.

This website is fairly accessible. Even though it can only be accessed via the internet, it does not require a super-fast internet connection to be read easily, the way some websites do. Any internet speed would do in viewing this site. It was also quite easy to find after a quick internet search...two of our group members found this resource, using different search terms but the same concept. It would be difficult to make this information more accessible than it is now. Anyone around the world can access it with an internet connection, including those without computers who have access to a public library. The blog is also simple to navigate, unlike, say, Twitter. Even though Twitter is also available to everyone with an internet connection, the "newness" and intricacies of Twitter can make it seem inaccessible to those who have never used or heard of it before.

5. (Jordan)
Bad Reputation

The previous website is a website targeted towards feminist bloggers that is relevant in our topic of gender roles and "sex sells." It's trustworthy/reliable because any information that is talked about, the bloggers try to supply the readers with further links or directions to go if they wanted to further look into what is discussed. The information on this blog is valuable because it is open to subscribers to express their opinions about what's going on in the media and what feminist issues they come across. It's an open space for people to bring awareness to others

and for them to speak their minds.

Some of the barriers associated with this website is that it's mainly in the U.K. I think that a big part of a website not being able to be as accessible is that it's not advertised or promoted. I found it through google and don't think that I would have come across it had I not found it through the search engine. Social media is accessible if you are searching for it. The reader must seek out these blogs and websites in order to find the information they are looking for.

Group Sources -



I found this source by googling "feminist perfume". The entire blog is
dedicated to reviewing perfume, often in a feminist context. The author is
a self-identified "perfumista" who writes in her bio that her blog is an
opportunity to explore her ignored-until-now feminine side.
The intended audience is women who are interested in finding a good
perfume, but also being aware of the origins of the perfume and what
tactics-- moral or not--are being used to sell it.


I arrived at this website by googling "tom ford fragrance controversy". I
knew there had been a controversy about a super graphic fragrance
advertising campaign a few years ago, and I wanted to check it out. The
source, Marie Claire, is a popular magazine devoted to the interests of
women. They publish the typical fashion and dating advice but also articles
about issues that affect women directly, such as this advertising campaign.


I googled "Axe" to get here. I know Axe has a history of racy marketing
campaigns, and I was not disappointed. Axe literally has a "clean your
dirty balls" campaign, the tagline of which is "No one wants to play with
dirty equipment". The selling strategy contained in the videos on this site
seems to be the appeal to men of getting attractive women to say the word
"balls" a lot and smile coyly at each other. Axe is a men's hair,
deodorant, body spray, and shower gel company. Their purpose is to sell
their product, and their intended audience is males.


I found this source on google while looking for psychological effects of
"sex sells" ads. This page has the opinion of a few different people and
why they believe these ads are not a good influence on children. The
intended audience is women and most likely parents. They are focusing on
the issues these ads may raise and what effects they have caused.


I also found this site while searching on google. This blogger discusses
the difference in this ad from others. The tagline of the ad is "Real Men
Wear Pink," which is something we have seen before but she points out
that this particular ad is easier on the eye than many other perfume ads.
Intended audience is most likely bloggers, feminists in particular.


This was also found while google searching "feminist perfume ads." This
blogger gives four perfume ad links and discusses the questions and issues
she has about objectified women in perfume ads being targeted towards other
women. This "ideal" woman seen in perfume ads is marketed at men but
also mainly women. The intended audience is most likely bloggers who are
interested in women's studies or those in this particular Women's
Studies class.

I found this website from Take Part ( after
googling "feminist blogs". The blog is an extension of Bitch magazine. The
website has an area that focuses primarily on popular culture, a blog called
Mad World. I found some blog entries specifically about gender
representation in perfume, cologne, and deodorant ads. Bitch magazine is a
non-profit organization whose mission is to "provide and encourage an
engaged, thoughtful feminist response to mainstream media and popular
culture" (Bitch Media). It has a diverse, young audience.


I found this blog when googling "feminism perfume advertisements". The blog
is ran by a man who has studied and photography and visual culture. I
believe the purpose of the blog is to examine the phenomena of culture,
focusing on the visual (such as advertisements and fine art photography)
through an international perspective. It does not say it has a primarily
feminist perspective, but the articles are politically charged and discuss
gender representation issues. The audience seems to be broad, but I believe
this is very aimed at people in the fine arts field, particularly in

Author:Amy Gifford. Audience: everyone who look at the ads on the tv, playstation2, ipod touch. I search the sex sell on the google

Author: MostWantedOmen
I search on youtube by sex sale. The song is good but Look carefully about
the waist of the 2 russian singers.

Author: Pauline Chiou CNN
I search on This talks about the girls sex sale in Hong Kong

Stage 1

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Group Project Sources -