Japanese companies are under fire once again for the double standard of dictating what a woman should wear or not wear. According to the BBC, several local outlets have reported that several companies in Japan have banned women from wearing glasses at work. Some retail chains banned glasses because they thought it gave Japanese women a “cold impression.” While airline workers were prohibited from wearing glasses due to safety reasons.
There were numerous reasons for the ban on glasses on women but the reporting isn’t clear if it was an actual company policy or an unspoken rule kind of thing. However, the topic has sparked backlash with many Japanese women voicing their disgust at the rule.
The hashtag “glasses are forbidden” went viral on social media and created much-needed debate on the matter.
“The reason why women are not supposed to wear glasses… really don’t make sense,” the professor of sociology at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, Kumiko Nemoto told the BBC. “It’s all about gender. It’s pretty discriminatory.”
She blamed the “outdated” policies on “old, traditional Japanese” thinking.
“It’s not about how women do their work,” she said. “The company… values the women’s appearance as being feminine and that’s opposite to someone who wears glasses.”
This isn’t the first time this year Japanese women were outraged over gender discrimination that involved their wardrobe. Earlier this year, a Japanese woman’s tweets went viral after she called out Japanese companies that forced women to wear high heels.
Yumi Ishikawa wrote, “I hope there will come a day when women don’t have to wear heels in the workplace…Why do we have to injure our feet while working when men are allowed to wear flat shoes.”
At her job, men were allowed to wear flats while the women had to wear 5-7 cm high heels. Many women shared in her frustration and the #KuToo movement, an offshoot of the #MeToo movement was born. #KuToo was based on the Japanese word “kutsu” which means shoes and “kustuu” which means pain.
Japanese women felt that forcing women to wear high heels were equivalent to foot binding. Because of the attention the movement got, Ishikawa submitted a petition to introduce laws that would ban employers from forcing women to wear high heels.