Beginning with Republican China, Chinese sought to define themselves in terms of modernity, which was showcased in fragrance advertising. In both the Republican and Open Reform periods, advertisers displayed hygienic qualities in fragrance advertisements to attract Shanghai female consumers by promoting fragrance as fashionable and modern. During Communist period, which was between these two periods, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rid China of capitalist products, which included fragrance, to focus on the mobilization and development of the nation. Though fragrance had disappeared, the emphasis on hygiene to achieve modernity had not. With national movements, like the Patriotic Hygiene Campaign, hygiene maintained its importance in Communist China. This study examines the development of fragrance advertising in China in the last hundred years. By exploring the discourses of fragrance, advertising, the Modern Woman, and hygiene transnationally, this study applies these discourses locally in the context of China to discover the impact of fragrance advertising in the greater scheme of modernity. This study argues that advertisers encouraged a perception of fragrance coinciding with a more hygienic and modern lifestyle among Shanghai female consumers.


Ng, Margaret

Second Advisor

Zhang, Yue


Chinese Studies; History


Asian History | Chinese Studies | East Asian Languages and Societies | Women's History


fragrance, advertising, women, hygiene

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Adriana E. Hoak