Challenging the norms that dictate the appearance of female employees, Japanese women are protesting against the reported ban on wearing glasses to work in certain companies of the country. It is the reason being given for implimentation of this ban which has upset many in Japan and across the world; that they make women appear rude and cold. Women took to Twitter to condemn yet another gender-biased rule for female workers, advocating their right to wear glasses to work. #glassesareforbidden and #glassesban are trending on Twitter as a backlash against the companies and their sexist rules.

The protest on social media platform began on Wednesday after Nippon TV, a Japanese Television channel, aired a story listing the companies that force women employees in Japan to wear contact lenses to work instead of glasses.

Key Takeaways:

  • Japanese women are protesting against the ban on wearing glasses at workplaces in Japan.
  • #glassesareforbidden and #glasses ban are trending on Twitter to oppose the ban. 
  • The protest against glass ban comes riding on the outrage against the compulsory makeup and high-heels at the workplace for female employees.
  • The major reason given for the ban is that glasses make women appear cold and rude.   

The protest on social media platform began on Wednesday after Nippon TV, a Japanese Television channel, aired a story listing the companies that force women employees in Japan to wear contact lenses to work instead of glasses. According to the BBC report, the employees have argued that women wearing glasses appear cold and rude, which is why they have been banned from wearing glasses to workplaces in Japan. Other reasons given for ban are the safety of airline workers, and to be able to clearly see the makeup of the employees working in the beauty industries.

Men exempted from the ban

The ban on the glasses is only for women employees. Men are exempted and allowed to freely wear glasses to work. ‘If the rules prohibit only women to wear glasses, this is a discrimination against women,’ Kanae Doi, the Japan director at Global Advocacy groups Human Rights Watch told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, reports Daily Mail. Yumi Ishikawa, the Japanese actor and writer, said to Japan Times, “If wearing glasses is a real problem at work it should be banned for everyone — men and women. This problem with glasses is the exact same as high heels. It’s only a rule for female workers.”

Earlier this year, Ishikawa started the #KuToo movement in Japan to protest against the rule of wearing high-heels to workplace imposed on female employees. She started a petition against the rule and the companies, and it was signed and supported by more than 31,000 people who agreed that wearing heels should not be a requirement for the professional lives of women.

Also Read: #KuToo Movement: Why Women in Japan Want To Get Rid Of High Heels

The backlash against the ban on Twitter

#glassesareforbidden has been trending on Twitter since Wednesday as many have took to social media platform to criticise this clothing rules for female employees in Japan. According to Daily Mail, one of the tweets under the hashtag read, “These are rules that are out of date,”, while another tweet labelled the reasons given by the employers for the ban as “idiotic”. Another trending tweet in Japanese under the hashtag was posted by a woman who works at the restaurant. She wrote that she was constantly instructed not to wear glasses at the restaurant as it appears rude and does not suit the traditional kimono she wore. Women from around the world are posting images of themselves wearing glasses on Twitter, in solidarity with Japanese women.

Outrage comes on heels of #KuToo Movement

Before the glasses ban, in March women in Japan had opposed the workplace rules that necessitated makeup for female employees. The widespread #KuToo movement also protested the compulsory high-heels for female employees at workplace. However, the petition brought no change as the Health, Labour and Welfare Minister Takumi Nemoto said at Diet Committee session, “It’s generally accepted by a society that (wearing high heels) is necessary and reasonable in workplaces.” According to Japan Times, when asked, Ryutarou Yamagishi, the present official at Labour Ministry, about the protests against the glass ban, he denied any change in the dress code and said that he wasn’t aware of the “glasses ban” hashtag.  As a consequence, there has been no change in the dress codes for female employees in Japan despite the widespread protests. Japan stood at 110th position among 149 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum.

Picture Credit: Daily Mail

Also Read: Why Is A Woman Expected To Adjust In Every Phase Of Her Life?

Rudrani Kumari is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. 

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