Women at a variety of workplaces across Japan are not allowed to wear eyeglasses to work. This includes women who work at receptions at department stores, showrooms, hospitality staff and nurses at beauty clinics.
Employers gave reasons ranging from glasses making women look ‘unfriendly’, ‘cold’, ‘unfeminine’ or ‘too intelligent’.
A woman who works in customer service told Business Insider that she had to wear contact lens to work, which made her eyes irritated from dryness and fatigue.
Protesting against the rigid rules over women’s appearance, many female workers took to social media. The hashtag ‘glasses are forbidden’ was trending on Twitter in reaction to a Japanese television show that exposed businesses that were imposing the bans on female staff.
“These are rules that are out of date,” one Twitter user wrote, while another described the reasons given by employers as “idiotic”.
One woman, who worked at a restaurant said her employer said glasses make her look rude and that they don’t go with her kimono.
Earlier this year, there was a call for Japanese companies to stop forcing their female staff to wear high heels to work. A #KuToo campaign was started by women, including an online petition with 22,000 signatures.