Every glasses-wearer has heard the nickname “four eyes” at some point in their lives, among other negative stereotypes associated with their frames. According to Psychology Today, the fact that glasses-wearers appear “socially awkward” and less attractive only adds to these associations. Pop culture doesn’t shy away from using these stereotypes in movies and television either. Countless romantic comedies feature the “girl-next-store” receiving a makeover that wins her the leading man or makes her worthy of royalty (hello, The Princess Diaries)—a process that almost *always* involves removing her glasses.
When I got my first pair of glasses, I was six years old and in the middle of first grade. I remember these stereotypes being in full effect. The nickname “four eyes” quickly became something I heard on a daily basis throughout elementary school. Later, when I got braces in middle school, I stopped wearing my glasses until the day I got my braces off. It was a long three and half years of looking at blurry chalkboards, but to my middle school self, avoiding being labelled a “nerd” and “ugly”, was worth it.
Of course, there are also positive stereotypes associated with wearing glasses—they are reported to make wearers appear more professional, honest, and intelligent. Luckily, many of the negative stereotypes that led to me despising my glasses are beginning to break down. Now, glasses are going beyond functionality and are becoming a trademark of personal style. So when I saw BonLook—a Canadian eyewear brand known for its fashion-forward frames—was opening a new location in my local mall, I decided to embark on my own journey to find a new pair of glasses that I actually *enjoyed* wearing. After some searching, I found a pair of glasses that resemble a more stylized version of Harry Potter’s famous frames. After years of associating my glasses with negative qualities, I now look forward to wearing my glasses and view them as an integral part of my personal style.
Though we can agree that our glasses style has evolved over time (thankfully), one thing has remained consistent for glasses-wearers: glasses make you see more than just your physical world differently—they make you see yourself differently.
Here are six women on their current frames and what they say about their identity.
“I think my current glasses are best described as very unique and artsy. I like that in the front they are just a simple, classy brown frame that look great paired with any outfit. When I turned them to the side, I fell in love with the bold bursts of bright turquoise and yellow—the colouring is where my quirky personality comes through. I dubbed them the ‘mullet’ of glasses: business in the front, party on the sides!
I’ve had a total of four pairs of glasses in my life, and they have all represented my style and interests during that time. Thinking back, my very first pair of glasses were totally hideous. I got them when I was in grade four. They were a rectangular metal frame that did not suit my face at all. They were from the Barbie collection, so of course they were a bright, hot pink colour. Even though I wouldn’t choose my older styles of glasses today, they all remind me of the person I was when I got them, which makes me love them all.
When I first got glasses, I hated wearing them, so I rarely ever would. I thought people wouldn’t think I was pretty (especially with mainstream movies portraying girls with glasses as super ‘nerdy’). However, with time, I learned to embrace them as part of my aesthetic and gained a sense of confidence from wearing them. They make me feel smart and powerful.”
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