Imagine being told you weren’t allowed to wear your glasses to work. Basically being told that you either had to pay more to get contacts or not be able to properly see while working. Well this is what is happening to women in Japan at the moment — only women, not men.
During a segment that ran on Japanese network Nippon TV, on Wednesday, Nov. 13, employers spoke about reasons that glasses were banned in the workplace. Some of these reasons include: glasses give a “cold impression” to women, wearing frames could impair women’s ability to see properly and they clashed with traditional work outfits.
Recently, thousands of Japenese women have began fighting back against the glasses ban, saying it is a sexist dress policy in the workplace. People have taken to Twitter, using the hashtag, #メガネ禁止 (which translates to “glasses are forbidden”), to support Japanese women in their quest to end this sexist dress code.
I’m truly at a loss for words about this dress code. It’s one thing to say that someone can’t wear glasses to work — because of their eyesight which they can’t control — but it’s a whole other thing to tell only women that they can’t wear glasses to work. If wearing glasses to work is an issue, it should be banned for everyone, not just women.
It gets even worse when you realize that this isn’t the first sexist dress code issue that Japan has had recently. This past June, Japanese women protested the social expectation that women should be wearing heels to work.
20,000 women in Japan signed a petition to end this sexist policy taking to Twitter and using the hashtag #kutoo. This is a play on both the U.S. hashtag #MeToo and the Japanese words for shoe, “kutsu,” and pain, “kutsū.”
Forcing people to wear heels to work is completely unreasonable. While I don’t have any issue with a dress policy at work, there needs to be limitations. Heels can be painful after worn for a long time, so anyone who wishes to wear a more comfortable shoe to work should have that right.
If a dress policy at work is attacking unchangeable aspects of a woman and targeting only women, such as the glasses ban, then it’s sexist, and the fact that policies like this still exist in the 21st century is sad. To tell someone that they can’t wear glasses to work in order to simply see is outrageous.
Women all over the world should support women who are facing this kind of adversity in hopes that one day there will no longer be sexist dress policies in the workplace. By spreading the word using the hashtags above, women can raise more awareness of these issues and hopefully help end sexism at work.