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Glassism

2010 April 20
by Jill

Four Eyes. Geek. Nerd. Dork. Book Worm. Dweeb. If you wear glasses, chances are good that you’ve been called one or all of these names. Of course, not all of these monikers are entirely negative, but they still carry a stigma. When I was at a student government summit in high school, everyone had to put a compliment about the other people in the room in a jar for affirmations. Being that most of the people came from other schools and were strangers, this was not an easy task. All of my “affirmations” were along the line of “You seem really smart!” I didn’t speak more than two sentences during that meeting. Normally, I wouldn’t object to being called smart. I AM smart. But I reject the notion that everyone who wears glasses is somehow more intelligent than those who don’t and that we spend all of our spare time poring over books in the library.

The always-wonderful ladies at Jezebel recently ran a tribute to women who wear glasses. They made an important distinction between women who wear glasses as a hip fashion accessory to “mix up their look” and women who wear glasses as part of their identity. Having worn glasses every day of my life since the 4th grade, I fall into the latter camp. I have never worn contacts, and have embraced my glasses as an essential part of who I am–stereotypes be damned. But what, then, IS this identity? Am I perpetuating an image of myself as bookish, quirky, and nerdy with my glasses? If so, is there anything wrong with that?

Liz Lemon/Tina Fey have made glasses sexy again, but the prat falls, food jokes, and perpetual dating woes of Liz Lemon have worn thin and further illustrate all of the negative connotations that are too often linked with glasses–that image of the spinster librarian, too uptight to take her glasses off and let her hair down. Sadly, I can think of few celebrities, real or fictional, who wear glasses proudly, without the need to convey a certain “nerdyness.” Can you think of any?

2 Responses Post a comment
  1. Nancy permalink
    April 20, 2010

    Lane Kim, of course!! Not bookish, temporary cheerleader, and rocker chick. There is an entire episode about how she likes her glasses :) Plus she dated a charcter played by Adam Brody.

  2. April 20, 2010

    As a matter of fact, yes- the lovely Christina Hendricks.

    http://thesuperficial.com/2010/02/christina_hendricks_was_at_the.php?bfm_index=12&bfm_page=0

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