Just months after a petition requesting the Japanese government ban employers from discriminating against women who don’t wear high heels to job interviews or work garnered tens of thousands of signatures, a new dress code concern has emerged: Wearing glasses. According to Quartz, the hashtag “glasses are forbidden” (#メガネ禁止) has been trending in Japan since Wednesday, after Nippon TV aired a program detailing the different types of employers who refuse to let women wear glasses on the job. The rationale is absolutely bonkers. From the article:
“Domestic airlines said it was for safety reasons, companies in the beauty industry said it was difficult to see the employee’s make-up properly behind glasses, while major retail chains said female shop assistants give off a “cold impression” if they wear glasses. Traditional Japanese restaurants said that glasses simply do not go well with traditional Japanese dress.”
As someone who wears glasses and absolutely gives off a cold impression, I’d like to point out that the latter is a choice, and that those two things are completely unrelated.
Banri Yanagi, a sales associate at a life insurer in Tokyo, told Fortune, “The emphasis on appearance is often on young women and wanting them to look feminine. It’s strange to allow men to wear glasses but not women.” Fortune also pointed out the following tweet, in which one woman claims to have been pressured into wearing her eye contacts while recovering from conjunctivitis.
Quartz likened the hashtag “glasses are forbidden” to a similar event that took place in South Korea last year, when MBC news anchor Lim Hyeon-ju ditched her fake eyelashes and contact lenses to wear glasses. As a result, other businesses in the nation began allowing their women employees to wear glasses. Call it a tiny step towards being treated like a person in the workplace!