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Civic
09-30-2011, 08:48 AM
I live in an area with a very diverse population-- we have pretty much every ethnicity known to man here. I have friends who are Indian (not Native American) and some are from India, England, and the US. The friends from England and the US complain about the ones from India because they don't wear deodorant. And yes, it is something that is pretty much an open secret at least in these parts. Doesn't mean I'm racist-- you can call me that for other reasons, but hygiene is influenced by culture.

I've never been to India. However, the people from India that I've met here in the U.S. all use deodorant. Trust me, I would have noticed if they didn't. I'm very sensitive to BO. Most of the Indian people I've met have either been university faculty or grad students. I don't know if this is significant or not.

Japanfan
09-30-2011, 10:40 AM
I honestly have no idea if this stereotype is supposed to refer to people from India or Native Americans ("Indians"), because I haven't experienced this so-called well known phenomenon with either.


I thought the stereotype referred to Indians from India who cook very spicy food. The smell permeates apartment buildings and can be very strong - not a pleasant smell to me, at any rate. I've noticed it in motel offices as well, where Indians live in the back room/rooms.

I supposed the smell clings to clothes but it's not BO and I haven't noticed it on Indian people (as opposed to the places where they live and cook).

Funnily enough, when I think of my favourite Indian restaurant there is no foul cooking smell at all. Adequate ventilation and then some, perhaps?

haribobo
09-30-2011, 11:43 AM
I guess we will just have to differ there, because it all strikes me as an excellent example of coy, at least in this sense of the word:

Reluctant to give details, esp. about something regarded as sensitive



Well after being pressed, I posted links to exactly what I was referring to. My fault for assuming it was a commonly knowledge because as this thread has taught me, there are many people who have never heard about this cultural practice, or non-practice. And as far as being cheeky, it tends to be a trend on this board to be cheeky, but if what was said was too offensive to be cheeky about, then ok. I apologize, and I won't discuss things like this here again.

Rob
09-30-2011, 05:00 PM
I thought the stereotype referred to Indians from India who cook very spicy food. The smell permeates apartment buildings and can be very strong - not a pleasant smell to me, at any rate.

I lived above two Indian families in a 3 family house in Queens. They were very nice and their food was delicious, but they cooked morning to night so everything I owned wound up with a very strong curry smell. People could smell it on my clothes at work or at school -- clean ones that were kept in the closet or drawers. We finally moved, and then we realized it was in the couch and rugs, and we'd moved the smell with us. We had a huge dry cleaning bill and wound up replacing the couch/mattress. Curry smells really good when it is cooking, but not so much later on.

Rex
09-30-2011, 05:03 PM
How do we separate culture and race?

Dragonlady
09-30-2011, 05:26 PM
Still better than mega-stink... :scream:

Body odor doesn't give me a headache. Axe products give me an instant, blinding headache. That crap should be banned.

Southpaw
09-30-2011, 05:27 PM
Yeah, that Axe is no Old Spice.

Prancer
09-30-2011, 06:44 PM
I've never been to India. However, the people from India that I've met here in the U.S. all use deodorant. Trust me, I would have noticed if they didn't. I'm very sensitive to BO. Most of the Indian people I've met have either been university faculty or grad students. I don't know if this is significant or not.

I do not live in an area with a particularly diverse population, yet we do have a fairly high percentage of Indian immigrants here. There's even a Hindu temple just a few blocks from me. And I've never run into this issue, either.

The cultural stereotype here is applied to two groups--Middle Eastern Arabs and, to a lesser extent, Africans. I haven't run into that, either, but when people here talk about a culture that doesn't use deodorant, they are usually referring to one or the other.

I do know some faculty who don't use deodorant, but it isn't a cultural practice :shuffle:.


And as far as being cheeky, it tends to be a trend on this board to be cheeky.

I wouldn't describe you or your posts that way, but people's reactions to things do differ.

IceAlisa
09-30-2011, 06:51 PM
I do know some faculty who don't use deodorant, but it isn't a cultural practice :shuffle:.



Do they think deodorant causes cancer or this is some kind of misguided rebellion against societal norms?

As to Indians: I've been around a lot of Indians, including having had an Indian boyfriend. No problems at all. Ever.

skatingfan5
09-30-2011, 07:06 PM
I do not live in an area with a particularly diverse population, yet we do have a fairly high percentage of Indian immigrants here. There's even a Hindu temple just a few blocks from me. And I've never run into this issue, either.

The cultural stereotype here is applied to two groups--Middle Eastern Arabs and, to a lesser extent, Africans. I haven't run into that, either, but when people here talk about a culture that doesn't use deodorant, they are usually referring to one or the other.

I do know some faculty who don't use deodorant, but it isn't a cultural practice :shuffle:.I live in a college town with a very diverse population and it has been my experience that there are some (who I assume to be) graduate students from other countries, (based on their age, languages, and books) who do not use deodorant. I'm not sure if this has anything to do with their home country's "culture" or not or anything else, but on a crowded bus during the summer it can sometimes be very unpleasant.

Of course, the overpowering body odor is not restricted to those from other countries. I also knew an "American born and bred" grad student whose nickname was "dirty laundry bag" who didn't use deodorant or even appear to bathe or wash his clothes with much frequency. There was only one other person who would share an office with him and after he had walked down the hallway, the stench would linger for many minutes afterward. :scream: After he finished his PhD (and I had left that department) he did manage to get a faculty job at some college, so perhaps he cleaned up his act a bit.

And currently there is a mentally unbalanced woman who often rides the same bus I do who also has an overpowering odor -- so much so that people will get up and move as far away as they can. One of the bus drivers even sprays the bus with air freshener after she leaves. :eek: :(

I don't know where I'm going with this rambling post except to say I don't think that one can generalize about smelly people -- they come in many varieties, it would seem.

MacMadame
09-30-2011, 07:25 PM
Well after being pressed, I posted links to exactly what I was referring to.
Except the one link I clicked on was about an Indian woman who used deodorant but was upset because it didn't work very well and didn't want to offend anyone with her BO. So that link didn't support your premise that Indian people don't use deodorant and just smell because they are rude and don't care and that this is the practice of their "race."


How do we separate culture and race?
Scientifically there is no such thing as race. You can't look at someone's DNA and know what "race" they are. What we think of as race is actually ethnicity.



The cultural stereotype here is applied to two groups--Middle Eastern Arabs and, to a lesser extent, Africans.
I've heard it applied to Asians. (Mostly from China or Korea, not Japan.) Oh, and the French.

So, if we add these groups together, do we end up with half the world population? :lol:


I do know some faculty who don't use deodorant, but it isn't a cultural practice :shuffle:.

As far as I can tell, some people wear deodorant and some people do not. Some have bad BO and some do not. And the people with BO include some who use deodorant and the group who doesn't have BO include some who don't use deodorant. (Not everyone needs deodorant.)

I guess if you believe that a certain group "doesn't believe" in deodorant and you meet someone in that group who smells, it will reinforce that belief but it's also possible that they absolutely do use deodorant and it just doesn't work or that they don't but everyone in their ethnic group gives them a hard time for not using deodorant because they live in this country and have adopted its mores when it comes to hygiene.

However, in the case of Prancer's faculty, I would consider not using deodorant to be a cultural practice as it seems to be a practice of a certain crunchy-granola set you often find teaching in universities and colleges. ;) (It's just not a culture based on ethnicity.)


After he finished his PhD (and I had left that department) he did manage to get a faculty job at some college, so perhaps he cleaned up his act a bit.
Maybe he works with Prancer!

orbitz
09-30-2011, 07:35 PM
Does deodorant really hides someone's b.o.? I think some people just have a natural b.o. that nothing can hide.

I'll admit that I never, ever put on deodorant. I don't think I smell. At least no one has told me directly yet :lol:

IceAlisa
09-30-2011, 07:49 PM
Scientifically there is no such thing as race. You can't look at someone's DNA and know what "race" they are. What we think of as race is actually ethnicity.


I was shown a racial difference in skeletal structure in a college biology lab. IIRC, forensic scientists use this data in their work to assess skeletal remains.

Prancer
09-30-2011, 07:57 PM
However, in the case of Prancer's faculty, I would consider not using deodorant to be a cultural practice as it seems to be a practice of a certain crunchy-granola set you often find teaching in universities and colleges. ;) (It's just not a culture based on ethnicity.)

Um, aside from one philosophy professor who apparently doesn't believe in bathing, they are all math and engineering professors who are more of the pocket-protector type than the crunchy granola type. I can't think of a label that would insult them more, actually.

The English department, among others, is full of crunchy granola types, but if they smell at all, it's usually of either perfume or, faintly, of the sour-mildewy smell of unwashed laundry. Some of us tend to be rather scattered and not terribly focused on the practical :shuffle:.


Do they think deodorant causes cancer or this is some kind of misguided rebellion against societal norms?

The one woman in this group does believe that deodorant causes breast cancer; she is always happy to share that view with people. The rest of them haven't confided in me, which is good, because that would mean I would have to get close to them.

modern_muslimah
09-30-2011, 08:54 PM
I do know some faculty who don't use deodorant, but it isn't a cultural practice :shuffle:.

I had a teacher in middle school who didn't use deodorant either and it definitely wasn't cultural. She was very nice and very affectionate. However, it was sometimes a bit unpleasant when she gave us hugs or just came rather close to us because she didn't always smell good. :shuffle:


Do they think deodorant causes cancer or this is some kind of misguided rebellion against societal norms?

The teacher I mentioned above didn't say anything about deodorant causing cancer. Her main issue was that she didn't want to use anything with animal products (she was vegan). I think there was another reason to for lack of deodorant but I do remember the animal byproduct issue being the primary issue.