Air Fresheners

So I’ve been noticing an astounding number of advertisements for various air fresheners of late: be they candles, spray bottles, little plug-ins, etc.

So I’m wondering: Is this a seasonal thing, and much like spring brings allergy-medication ads, winter brings air-freshener ads, and I’ve just forgotten last year’s batch, or is this something new, perhaps more insidious?

And you’re thinking “insidious? what’s so insidious about air fresheners?” Well, think about why we have these little doodads: to cover up foul-smelling air. And every year, our air gets worse and worse. Cities smell more, well, urban, and factories and cars and everything else spews more and more crap into the air. And rather than dealing with this, what do we do? We just mask it. We make sure our little corner of the world smells bearable. Of course, I actually can’t stand the smell of 99% of these air-fresheners, so to me, it’s just yet more smell-pollution.

On top of that, there’s something perhaps even slighly dehumanizing about these things. In the ads, you see happy housewives (and it’s almost always a housewife) spraying in bathrooms and kids rooms and shoes and pet-beds – all things that smell, well, human-used (pet-used in the case of pet-beds). These places all contain the natural stench of mankind. It’s as if Agent Smith was now running the world, and still desperate to get our stench off of him. Or somesuch. Now, I’m certainly not going to sing the praises of a bathroom where someone’s taken a dump, or the hail the glory that emenates from my running shoes, but there’s still something reassuring about all these things to me, and I don’t particularly want to feel shamed into masking them from the world, and at the root, these ads seem to be about making us ashamed to smell natural odors.

Am I just reading way too much into this?

4 Replies to “Air Fresheners”

  1. What I find more disturbing is the increasing amount of (ads for) disposable cleaning products. You can practically get anything that used to be a liquid in wipe-form. Cleaning wipes, dusters, wet and dry mops (e.g. Swiffer) — all of them designed to be used once or maybe a few times then thrown away. Not only are these things more expensive, they all end up in the landfill. And they often advertise them as being “revolutionary” to cleaning. So much for the three Rs!

  2. What I find more disturbing is the increasing amount of (ads for) disposable cleaning products. You can practically get anything that used to be a liquid in wipe-form. Cleaning wipes, dusters, wet and dry mops (e.g. Swiffer) — all of them designed to be used once or maybe a few times then thrown away. Not only are these things more expensive, they all end up in the landfill. And they often advertise them as being “revolutionary” to cleaning. So much for the three Rs!

  3. Yes, the dehumanising aspect of air fresheners is terrifying… except if you happen to be a woman and you’ve already gone through all that. Every single ad for tampons or menstrual pads in the world has the same message: “If you do this right/use our product, no one will notice!” Tampax goes a step further by implying you shouldn’t even have to touch any of that yucky stuff (also known as “blood”) directly with your hands. So, welcome to the club: you are being chastised for your human odour, while we (women) are still being silenced about what could be a simple bodily function. Something about a girl, an apple, and a serpent, I heard.

  4. Yes, the dehumanising aspect of air fresheners is terrifying… except if you happen to be a woman and you’ve already gone through all that. Every single ad for tampons or menstrual pads in the world has the same message: “If you do this right/use our product, no one will notice!” Tampax goes a step further by implying you shouldn’t even have to touch any of that yucky stuff (also known as “blood”) directly with your hands. So, welcome to the club: you are being chastised for your human odour, while we (women) are still being silenced about what could be a simple bodily function. Something about a girl, an apple, and a serpent, I heard.

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