Feminist seminar: 'Please refrain' from wearing fragrances...including DEODORANT!

A feminist seminar tells attendees to "refrain" from wearing fragrances.

The event description states that such fragrances include deodorant.

Students hoping to attend a University of California, Los Angeles event focusing on America’s “gendered regimes of incarceration” may have to do so in a cloud of body odor.

UCLA’s event description for “Thinking Gender: Feminists Confronting the Carceral State” in February warns attendees to “please refrain” from wearing products with fragrances, such as “perfumes, hair products, deodorants, detergents, etc.” This stipulation is meant to ensure the “health and safety” of all individuals at the event. 

Presumably, the event would permit students to wear fragrance-free variants of those products.

The gathering of students will use “feminist, queer, abolitionist, and intersectional interventions” to confront the United States’ “gendered regimes of incarceration.”

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“The US justice system is a site of widespread gendered and race-based violence,” the event organizers assert, adding that  the “U.S. currently incarcerates nearly a third of all female prisoners in the world.” Attendees will “reckon with” such matters “through feminist and queer perspectives.”

“The fragrance issue is one we’ve been seeing a lot on campus,” UCLA Young Americans for Freedom President Arik Schnieder told Campus Reform, adding that he has seen at least one “no-fragrance zone” on campus. 

“Ostensibly, it’s for health concerns,” he explained. “But in practice, it’s another method of conforming campus thought.”

Schneider went on to address the event subject matter, conceding that the organizers “do correctly identify that the U.S. holds an outstanding measure of the world’s criminals,” but asserting that the event’s proposed solution is ineffective. 

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“Instead of looking at the problem through queer and feminist perspectives, it makes sense to approach the issue from a criminal justice standpoint,” Schneider said. “A conversation is necessary, but the topic and stance they’ve already taken make lasting reform difficult. They are trying to fix a broken clock with a hammer and nails: it works on some problems- but not the one they are dealing with.”

According to the Invisible Disabilities Association, “approximately 12.6 percent of the [U.S.] population suffers from multiple chemical sensitivities, a condition in which they experience reactions from exposure to low concentrations of common chemicals.” 

However, according to a 2011 article from the Canadian Medical Association Journal, fragrance-free policies are not supported by science. 

”While scents can trigger both physiological and psychological symptoms in some individuals, there is no reliable diagnostic test for fragrance allergies,” the article states. 

Campus Reform reached out to UCLA for further comment but did not receive a response in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan