Thoughts On…Looking Smarter (My Response)

Ever feel like you need to get something off your chest? Sometimes I’ve just gotta talk it out. That’s why I’ve decided to do a monthly feature called “Thoughts On…” At the beginning of the month, I’ll provide a prompt to stimulate discussion. The point is to get us to put our thoughts out there – writing it all down can be quite cathartic. If you want to keep your writing private, that’s your thing and I won’t question it. If you’re ready to put it all out there, I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments. At the end of the month I’ll provide my own thoughts on the topic of the month. Think of it as a book club for writing.

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Earlier this month I wondered why we think we need to wear glasses for people to take us seriously in the workplace.  My first thought is that this is totally a female problem.  Men seem to be given the benefit of the doubt and treated as smart from the get-go, glasses or not.  The lack of male characters wearing glasses in movies/tv shows makes this apparent.  Men are portrayed as lawyers, doctors, and architects in movies without glasses; however, when women take on these roles, they often wear specs so you know you can trust them.  [See: “Working Girl,” “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” “The Mindy Project,” etc.]  Why don’t men deal with this?!

I wear glasses regularly.  I wear them often because I have very messed up eyes and physically can’t wear my contacts for more than a certain number of hours per day, so I spend a lot of my time at work in my spectacles.  I do not think they help me get taken more seriously.  Interestingly enough, because I spent so many years thinking of glasses as the kind of things you wear just before bed or when you’re being lazy around the house, I feel like they make me look less serious or sloppy.  Whenever I have a big work meeting, I make sure to wear my contacts so I look more put together and professional.

But clearly that’s not what most people think.  I recently saw several bloggers post about more serious topics like work and achieving your goals.  Basically, in any post where they mentioned being a #GirlBoss, they were wearing glasses.  Where did this come from, this idea that you need to wear glasses to accomplish something of value?  Also, some of these bloggers don’t even require glasses (I know because one is an acquaintance).  They felt this look was necessary to get their point across.  Seriously?!

I wear my glasses plenty but don’t think they make me look smarter.  You know what makes me look intelligent?  The words coming out of my mouth.  We are finally living in a world where women have voices.  We’re in the workforce; we’re in the media; heck, one of us even ran for president.  Let’s stop telling young girls they need to wear a certain thing if they want their voice to be heard.