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.
“My glasses are a cat lens—they’re black and from Tiffany’s, which I’m very proud of. I’ve been wearing them for about six years, and picked out this pair because I liked the way they sat on my nose. I’ve always been self-conscious of my nose, so I like how my glasses sit in a way makes me feel more confident in my physical appearance. I consciously made the choice not to wear contacts just because I like the look of my glasses. I think they add an element to my personality, but also my physical appearance—people always associate me with my glasses.
It’s an interesting dynamic, because you grow up wearing glasses and you’re the only kid that has them, so you’re very self-conscious. Then you grow into loving your glasses.
I remember when I got my first glasses because it was a very defining for me when I was a kid. When I was in grade six, me and my friend were sitting in desks of twos—and I didn’t have glasses, but she did. She was a really slow hand writer and I was a fast note taker, so I would take her glasses off her face and wear them because I could see so much better. I would take the notes because I was so fast, and then give her glasses back to her and she would copy from my notebook. We had this system going for months because I was in denial that I needed glasses. Eventually, I went to the optometrist and got my first pair, and I believe they were maroon-coloured and oval-shaped.
Ever since I had glasses, I just accepted that they were me—I’ve had them for so long that I can’t even imagine not wearing them.”
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