Spectacles ban for Japanese women workers

This 8 November 2019 BBC video says about itself:

Japan ‘glasses ban’ for women at work sparks backlash

Wearing glasses at work has become an emotive topic in Japan following reports that some firms have told female employees to remove them.

Several local news outlets said some companies had “banned” eyewear for female employees for various reasons.

That has sparked heated discussion on Japanese social media over dress practices and women in the workplace.

The Nippon TV network and Business Insider were among the outlets to report on the issue, which looked at how firms in different industries prohibit women from wearing glasses.

They included safety reasons for airline workers, or being unable to see make-up properly for women working in the beauty sector.

Dear Japanese airline bosses: if a stewardess can’t see properly because of your glasses ban, then she will bump into everyone and everything. Not good for safety.

Dear Japanese beauty parlor bosses: if a beautician can’t see properly because of your glasses ban, then she certainly won’t see make-up properly.

Dear other Japanese bosses: do you really want your secretary to not see you and your desk properly, making her trip and pour hot tea all over you, because of your stupid spectacles ban?

Among them, some retail chains reportedly said glasses-wearing shop assistants gave a “cold impression”.

It was not clear whether the so-called “bans” were based on company policies, or rather reflected what was socially accepted practice in those workplaces.

But the topic has led to heated debates on social media.

The hashtag “glasses are forbidden” has been popular in Japan and the topic continued to attract tweets on Friday.

Kumiko Nemoto, professor of sociology at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, said people in Japan were reacting to the “outdated” policies.

She said: “The reasons why women are not supposed to wear glasses… really don’t make sense. It’s all about gender. It’s pretty discriminatory.”

She added that the reports reflected “old, traditional Japanese” thinking.

“It’s not about how women do their work. The company… values the women’s appearance as being feminine and that’s opposite to someone who wears glasses,” Prof Nemoto said.

The discussion has echoes of a recent workplace controversy in Japan over high heels.

Actor and writer Yumi Ishikawa launched a petition calling for Japan to end dress codes after being made to wear high heels while working at a funeral parlour.

The movement attracted a stream of support and a strong social media following.

Supporters tweeted the petition alongside the hashtag #KuToo in solidarity with her cause, mirroring the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse.

The slogan plays on the Japanese words for shoes “kutsu” and pain “kutsuu”.

Campaigners say that wearing high heels is seen as obligatory when applying for jobs.

Supporters were further aggravated after a Japanese minister said it is “necessary” for companies to enforce dress codes that mandated high heels.

Prof Nemoto said there continues to be discussion by women in Japan “criticising the high heel” policies.

“Women are evaluated mostly on their appearance,” she said. “That’s the message that these policies are sending, at least.”

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

A woman on Twitter, who calls herself Wine Kimono and works in a restaurant, says that her boss has repeatedly said that she is not allowed to wear glasses. It is supposedly rude to guests and moreover supposedly does not fit with the kimono that she wears at work. Her tweet has been shared almost 13,000 times.

Kanae Doi, the director of the Japanese branch of Human Rights Watch, has also responded to the commotion. “If there are rules that forbid women to wear glasses, that is discrimination against women,” she says. On Twitter, women write that the rules are outdated; some women even call it “idiot.” …

Japan is known for the large gender gap and, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), is far behind other developed countries.

2 thoughts on “Spectacles ban for Japanese women workers

  1. Pingback: Conservation discrimination against female birds | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Japanese women’s victory against mandatory high heels | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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