I’ve always hated the way glasses are portrayed in the media. Straight away you’ll know what I mean: the character wearing glasses must be either a ‘geek’, a ‘weirdo’, a ‘reject’, ‘timid and shy’, or a ‘sexy librarian’ type character who incidentally will remove her glasses making her more sexy.
Ahhh! I can feel the rage bubbling under my skin already! But before I begin my rant, let me introduce myself. My name is April, I am in my late 20’s, I’m Scottish and a primary school teacher. I first got glasses in primary school, aged roughly 9. I don’t ever remembering struggling to see but during a routine school eye exam it was identified that I needed glasses. I also don’t remember being particularly bothered about it. I picked out a rather fetching 90’s wire spectacle monstrosity and got on with life.
In high school, I also don’t remember being very bothered by my glasses. I also don’t remember ever being teased about them, maybe I was, but not enough to make a lasting impact on me at all.
In fact, the only time I ever felt self conscious about my glasses was when I first went to an underage club and I was advised that maybe I shouldn’t wear my glasses because “boys might not fancy me.” And for some reason I listened and spent the whole night in a fuzzy blur. But I love my glasses. I love wearing glasses… except when you get that one dirty mark that no matter how much you scrub will. not. budge.
But anyway, the subject of my rant is focussed on two particular moments in pop culture.
I’m going to start with popular chick flick “She’s All That”. If you don’t know the story: cute boy gets dared to turn geek reject into prom queen. And how does he do this? Takes off her glasses. “Not Another Teen Movie” does a pretty good job at showing how ridiculous this is by making “Laney” more tragic when her glasses are removed. In “She’s All That” the character responsible for removing Laney’s glasses even states: “I’m a miracle worker.”
Ahhhhh!!! Why does wearing glasses instantly make you undesirable? It doesn’t! People can look fabulous/sexy/cool and be “popular” with glasses on. Well, not if the media keeps telling us that it isn’t desirable. I hate to admit it, but I am hugely influenced by the media when it comes to my body shape (but that’s another story for another day) and I know the power that popular culture can have especially among the younger generation.
I thought that this maybe was a 90’s phenomenon, that wearing glasses nowadays doesn’t denote you as being “odd” but then in walks Maroon 5’s single “Animals.”
Now, I actually really like this song, so no problems there. But how do they turn sex pot Adam Levine into a creep? Oh yes, give him glasses! That’s sure to turn off any female (which it does in the video) and in his mind when he dreams of being with the girl his glasses are removed.
Wearing glasses does not make you a creepy weirdo! It’s just so frustrating to really have no positive role models out there in the media who regularly wear glasses. I actually thought for a while about a teen film where a main character, male or female, wears glasses but is not any of the “characters” I referenced earlier and I couldn’t do it. If you can think of any please let me know, we’d love to hear about them.
As a teacher, I see many children struggle to read because they fear being teased if they wear their glasses. It’s so wrong on so many levels. I know I am obviously hypersensitive to this, and I understand that there are bigger fish in the sea in terms of body/disability positivity, but when I see popular stores having a “dress as a geek day” and everyone is wearing thick plastic glasses I just want to scream. Scream I tell you! But I am lucky, as I say, that I love my glasses and thankfully I suit them (my eyes literally disappear into my face when I take them off.)
My opinion of wearing glasses is one of pride. I hope to share a lot of ideas, covering a lot of points, about why people should not be ashamed of wearing their glasses. I hope that my thoughts will help people who are perhaps struggling with glasses to find ones that suit, or to not feel like a less attractive person simply because of the need to wear glasses.
You. Are. Awesome.
With or without glasses.
And so to end, a picture of me in my fabulous glasses, just being me! Not geek me, or weirdo me, or sexy me.
P.S. glare in your glasses can be so annoying sometimes, but just embrace it!