Discrimination against people of unpleasant body odour

Other Names:
Active prejudice towards nondiscretionary personal fragrances

The body odour of people of different ethnic groups may be experienced as unpleasant, possibly mutually unpleasant. Typically this may be due to differences in eating habits or to standards of hygiene. Some oriental peoples and some religious groups, for example, practice degrees of personal hygiene superior to those normal in the west. The latter may therefore be experienced as having a distinct and unpleasant body odour, especially by those who do not eat products of animal origin.


In 1992, a student of astrophysics at the University of Oslo was barred from taking his exams because he never washes, and his fellow students refused to sit in the same room. His practice arose from 14 years of contemplative Buddhism in a cavern. He appealed against the decision, but lost and was ordered by the magistrate to pay costs and take a shower.

Broader Problems:
Lifestyle discrimination
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST