‘Don’t Tell Us What To Wear’: Japanese Women Protest Workplace Glasses Ban

  • Jessi
  • December 5, 2019
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‘Don’t Tell Us What To Wear’: Japanese Women Protest Workplace Glasses Ban

    Japan has “common requirements” for women’s appearances at work. Both makeup and high heels are mandatory.

    (Updated: 12:04 p.m. EST, 11/12/2019)

    Topline: A TV news story on Japanese companies barring women from wearing eyeglasses while on the clock sparked a backlash, as Japanese women frustrated by the strict workplace dress codes took to Twitter to voice their displeasure.

    • According to the BBC, several Japanese outlets said companies have “banned” women from wearing eyeglasses and that they give a “cold impression” to female shop assistants.
    • Other reasons for the ban include safety for airline workers and being able to clearly see makeup for beauty industry workers.
    • Bloomberg reported, however, that men are allowed to wear glasses at work. 
    • The hashtag #メガネ禁止 (#GlassesBan) was trending on Twitter by Wednesday, with men and women saying they disagreed with the policy. 
    • One Twitter user posted a screenshot of a news broadcast on the glasses ban, and wrote, “It will lead to accidents,” according to a translation.
    • Another user, saying “I can’t live without glasses,” posted blurry photos and added, “That’s why people with bad eyes always have this vision when they are [not wearing glasses],” according to a translation. 

    Surprising fact: Japan has “common requirements” for women’s appearance at work. Makeup and high heels are mandatory. And the Japanese use the term “Yamato Nadeshiko” to refer to the ideal woman. She is a perfect housewife and mother, but still beautiful and youthful, according to a Georgetown University blog post.

    Key background: A petition was circulated by actor and writer Yumi Ishikawa in March to end the required wearing of high heels for women at work. It was signed by over 31,000 people and helped spark the #KuToo movement, which criticized the high heel policy. (#KuToo is a play on #MeToo and the Japanese words for shoe, “kutsu,” and pain, “kutsuu.”) But the petition wasn’t effective. When it was submitted to Japan’s minister of health, labor, and welfare, he reportedly said he was fine with the high heel policy remaining in place.

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    Japan has “common requirements” for women’s appearances at work. Both makeup and high heels are mandatory.

    Japan has “common requirements” for women’s appearances at work. Makeup and high heels are … [+] mandatory.

    CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images

    (Updated: 12:04 p.m. EST, 11/12/2019)

    Topline: A TV news story on Japanese companies barring women from wearing eyeglasses while on the clock sparked a backlash, as Japanese women frustrated by the strict workplace dress codes took to Twitter to voice their displeasure.

    • According to the BBC, several Japanese outlets said companies have “banned” women from wearing eyeglasses and that they give a “cold impression” to female shop assistants.
    • Other reasons for the ban include safety for airline workers and being able to clearly see makeup for beauty industry workers.
    • Bloomberg reported, however, that men are allowed to wear glasses at work. 
    • The hashtag #メガネ禁止 (#GlassesBan) was trending on Twitter by Wednesday, with men and women saying they disagreed with the policy. 
    • One Twitter user posted a screenshot of a news broadcast on the glasses ban, and wrote, “It will lead to accidents,” according to a translation.
    • Another user, saying “I can’t live without glasses,” posted blurry photos and added, “That’s why people with bad eyes always have this vision when they are [not wearing glasses],” according to a translation. 

    Surprising fact: Japan has “common requirements” for women’s appearance at work. Makeup and high heels are mandatory. And the Japanese use the term “Yamato Nadeshiko” to refer to the ideal woman. She is a perfect housewife and mother, but still beautiful and youthful, according to a Georgetown University blog post.

    Key background: A petition was circulated by actor and writer Yumi Ishikawa in March to end the required wearing of high heels for women at work. It was signed by over 31,000 people and helped spark the #KuToo movement, which criticized the high heel policy. (#KuToo is a play on #MeToo and the Japanese words for shoe, “kutsu,” and pain, “kutsuu.”) But the petition wasn’t effective. When it was submitted to Japan’s minister of health, labor, and welfare, he reportedly said he was fine with the high heel policy remaining in place.

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