Thousands of Japanese women have taken to social media to share their experiences of being discouraged from wearing spectacles at work since the practice was exposed in two recent reports. It turns out that a range of firms tell their female employees not to wear glasses, including a domestic airline that cites “safety” issues, retailers who claim bespectacled shop assistants give a “cold impression”, and restaurateurs who think glasses sit uneasily with traditional Japanese dress. (The Week, 15 Nov 2019)
My excellent physical therapist is Japanese, married to an American. Over a period of time she has unburdened herself about the still-rotten lot accorded to women in Japan. For instance, her mother used to get up at six a.m, prepare breakfast for her husband, then drive him to the station. Returning home she would wake the children, help the youngest get dressed, prepare packed lunches for the three of them, and cook a full breakfast for the three kids, and drive them to school. She would then return, make the beds, do some housework, make breakfast for herself – and then drive to work.
What has this to do with spectacles? It illustrates the pervasive and traditional lot of the Japanese woman, expected to do everything and still look dainty and pretty, without spectacles! Were Epicurus alive today I think he would be an advocate for gender equality, as we should.