Heteronormative Scents

2021


Writen descriptions of heteronormative scents made in collacobration with smell designer and Paris-based perfumist Elia Chiche:

- Clean Yourself: This is a note one could typically find in a «masculine» product: deodorant, shampoo or body wash. It conveys two social injunctions: to be clean (remove bodily odors) and to show your manhood with stereotypical masculine scent: sharp, fresh, wood-like, spicy, sea-like, enabling yourself and society to identify you as manly.

- Kiss Me: This is a blend of smells you can find in intimate products. It's a pink-and-red smell, powdery, fruity, heavy, with facets of raspberry, strawberry, and violet. It has a sexual connotation to the types of scents that can be easily found in lubricants, condoms, gels… These scents are fun to use for some people and can trigger pleasure, they can also be aggressive and nauseating for others. For us this smell is toxic in how it's used particularly in intimate moments when bodies come together (as is the case of lubricants and lipsticks); adding an artificial smell to intimacy turns natural-body-odors into non-desired and even creates despise towards the bare body.

- Comfort Zone: This smell is toxic as it revolves around the idea of the western family. In the west our palete towards smells is socially constructed; we are conditioned since we are born to like and dislike certain smells. Baby-scented-products like fabric softeners involve extracts of vanilla, orange blossom, almond, white florals and light citrus. They are designed to make you want to dive into the product by triggering positive emotions and memories of a western childhood.

- Just for Kids: Lastly we made a scent that smells like all personal toiletries combined. Like an ocean of deodorant, shampoo, cosmetics, toothpaste, and sunscreen; this resulted in a highly artificial smell which draws the connection to how these products, that we usually think of clean and hygienic, are in reality an artifice of modernity which heavily pollutes the environment and the body. Some of this products contain what are called ECDs (Endocrine Disruptive Chemicals) which make the body infertile by confusing it into thinking it has produced enough hormones when it actually hasn't.