Ja­pan’s work­ing women fight to wear glasses

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Canada & World - KURUMI MORI BLOOMBERG

Ja­panese women are fight­ing for the right to wear eye­glasses to work, a new front in the grow­ing move­ment that de­mands an end to the pre­scrip­tive beauty stan­dards faced by fe­male em­ploy­ees.

The hash­tag “glasses ban” started trend­ing Wed­nes­day on Twit­ter af­ter Ja­pan’s Nip­pon TV aired a story about com­pa­nies that re­quire fe­male em­ploy­ees to wear con­tact lenses in­stead of glasses.

One Twit­ter user said she was told by her pre­vi­ous em­ployer that glasses didn’t ap­peal to cus­tomers, while an­other said she was com­pelled to en­dure the pain of wear­ing con­tact lenses while re­cov­er­ing from an eye in­fec­tion.

“The em­pha­sis on ap­pear­ance is of­ten on young women and want­ing them to look fem­i­nine,” Banri Yanagi, 40, a sales as­so­ciate at a life in­surer in Tokyo, said. “It’s strange to al­low men to wear glasses, but not women.”

The pro­hi­bi­tion on glasses is the lat­est flash­point for pro­fes­sional women in Ja­pan. In March, women railed against the com­mon re­quire­ment that women wear makeup at work. Ear­lier this year, ac­tor and writer Yumi Ishikawa sparked #KuToo to crit­i­cize rules that re­quire women to wear high heels to work. The hash­tag plays on the Ja­panese words for shoe, or kutsu, and pain, kut­suu.

“If wear­ing glasses is a real prob­lem at work it should be banned for every­one — men and women,” said Ishikawa, who started a pe­ti­tion signed by more than 31,000 sup­port­ers who agree stand­ing in heels all day should not be a job re­quire­ment. “This prob­lem with glasses is the ex­act same as high heels: It’s only a rule for fe­male work­ers.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.