Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Oriental Scent, Occidental Sense

So, I was at the Body Shop and I saw a couple of scents I'd never seen before: Moroccon Rose and Japanese Lily.

What with all this talk about Orientalism and being a Person of Colour and whatnot, I just realized how American-centric (occasionally, Euro-centric, but mostly Western-centric) thought patterns appear to be in the corners of the interwebz that I peer in. Ideas of how feminism is outdated because most societies "in the West" aren't patriarchal anymore (cue the ORLY owl), discussions on how Obama is representative of a post-racial world, even the black/white dichotomy that dominates conversations of race - these are very American-centric issues.

And I thought... would I ever see a scent called "American"... "Begonia"? For example. I mean, I've heard "English garden" before, but that's kind of an aesthetic, not really a scent. Why the romanticizing of these countries? These brands will be exported to the rest of the world, presumably.

I wonder what a Japanese person thinks when they go to a Body Shop and picks up "Japanese Lily". I've been to Morocco. Maybe it was the wrong time of year, but I don't know if there's such a thing as quintessential as a "Moroccan rose". (A google search gives me nothing but products. Not even a botanical specie in sight! There are two general species of Japanese Lily, though! Never let it be said I don't give you trivia.)

More than that, I wonder what an American begonia body scrub would smell like.

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