By Kristin Urban
I’m a girl and I wear glasses.
Wait, let me correct that: I am a twenty-something year old woman and I wear glasses. Not a girl, not a grandma, but a young woman who wears glasses all the time. Yep, not just for reading, or driving, or sitting at the computer, but every day and every time I use my eyes.
A few months ago, as I put my new glasses on at the local eyeglass store and checked out my reflection in the closest little round mirror, the woman behind the desk told me how fab I looked. She also cheerily mentioned that whenever I got tired of them, I could of course just put my contacts in! How perfect!
As a twenty-four-year-old woman that needs corrective lenses all the time and who does not fit the ‘nerdy’ or ‘hipster’ persona, I must have contacts, right? Seriously, wouldn’t it just be plain silly to wear glasses every moment? Not just for reading or driving, or as a fashion statement, but always, because medically, I need to.
Unbeknownst to the salesclerk however, I actually do not have contacts. I simply wear my glasses all the damn time. This is partly due to my strong reflex to run for the hills whenever something comes remotely close to my eyes and partly because I just plain love wearing glasses.
But glasses are cool now, right? Nearly everyone in edgy alternative Portland wears them, so why am I even writing about this? Because little comments like the one from the woman at the eyeglass store irk me (even if they mean no harm). Besides, over the course of the eighteen years that I’ve looked at the world through a pair of lenses, my feelings towards glasses have touched every emotion in the feels spectrum. So here I am, to examine what I have come to learn and think about glasses over the course of time and what others should know about them too.
Let’s explore eyewear through GIFs then, shall we?
In the media world, up until quite recently (thank you Tina Fey and Jess from New Girl), glasses on girls and women have typically been seen as unappealing. A beauty transformation is usually called for, in which the glasses are dashed away:
But, if you can’t get rid of ‘em, then you better be one of these:
1) The nerdy girl or sexy librarian:
3) A hip hipster
But if you are a twenty-something glasses-wearing woman, hell even if you’re in your thirties and don’t fit into any of the above categories, then it seems as if there is no place for you, right? At least the vast majority of the media doesn’t allow or champion ‘normal’ twenty-something glasses-adorned women.
In the past, this has been very difficult for me to grasp. I still find it disappointing that wearing corrective lenses remains to be seen as a largely unattractive attribute. This is true for both men and women, but especially for women (I mean, we are supposed to be the ‘fairer’ sex, so apparently we should ditch the glasses ASAP).
Even if we are underrepresented, we’re still out there and there are some undeniable awesome perks for donning our specs:
Or when incompetent people annoy us, we’re able to make them stammer by using our eyeglasses to dramatic effect:
As Audrey Hepburn demonstrates, you can maintain some sassy posh elegance while wearing glasses:
Plus, there just seems to be a trend for funny women to wear glasses and I’m perfectly okay with that:
So yes, we are out there: lovely women in their twenties and thirties who proudly wear glasses. Sometimes just for reading or for jokes at the Emmys, but even for all of the time. We can be classy, or spunky, or elegant, or messy, or sexy, or girly. We may even be hipsters or nerdy, but it’s the Harry Potter tattoo that would makes us nerdy, not the glasses.
I want to make it clear that I am not trying to rally up a campaign for underrepresented women wearing glasses. There are many minorities and groups that are grossly marginalized and must take precedence for greater visibility in the media world over those with eyewear. But hey, at least one person from every single minority or other inadequately represented group probably wears glasses. The lack of diversity of these GIFs proves that young women of diverse backgrounds are scarcely seen with eyeglasses. Just saying.
Oh and to every lady out there wearing glasses, full- or part-time, never, ever apologize about them. Would you apologize to someone if you needed to take medicine for a cold? Or do you expect an apology from the slow moving guy with a broken leg for using crutches? You need those glasses to help you see, so please do not do this:
If you do apologize, I’m probably thinking something along these lines:
While she eats chocolate and drinks tea, if you see her concentrating on a pencil, she’s probably trying to make it move with her mind. A not-so-very-recent college graduate, she is still trying to find the use for her useful liberal arts degree. A Florida native confused in Oregon, she loves going to the beach, reading good books, hanging in her hammy and snuggling her black lab while watching Downton Abbey.