Women protest after being ordered to not wear glasses at work: 'We needed to look feminine'

Women in Japan are currently protesting unfair working conditions after they say they were prohibited from wearing glasses by their employers in order to make them look more "feminine." 

The hashtag #メガネ禁止, which roughly translates to "glasses are forbidden," is trending on Twitter in Japan, following multiple reports of women facing such discrimination in the workplace.

In one case, a female receptionist at a major department store, identified only as Ms. A to avoid retaliation by her company, told Business Insider Japan that she was told not to sport her eyewear in order to "look sweeter and more feminine."

Ms. A, who is in her twenties, told the outlet she wears contact lenses to comply with her company's demands, but seeing as she works five days a week for eight hours each day, they cause her a great deal of discomfort.

The dryness and irritation sensation is often so severe she says she is forced to sit with her eyes closed for the entire duration of her daily breaks. 

"There are times when (the pain is) bad, whatever I do, and there are often mornings where I just think to myself, 'I wish I could wear glasses,'" Ms. A told Business Insider.

This hasn't been the only strict rule the receptionist has had to follow at work. Ms. A claims she is also required to wear a uniform consisting of a dress and 2-inch heel pumps, conservative makeup and a very specific hair color. Male receptionists are not forced to follow such rules, she claimed. 

"Now that I think about it, perhaps it was that they wanted us all to look uniform, as though we were part of some kind of gymnastics squad," Ms. A recalled. 

Yumi Ishikawa, an actor, writer and activist who sparked the #KuToo movement earlier this year in response to some companies requiring women to wear high heels to work, slammed the glasses ban and likened it to the shoe policy she railed against. 

"If wearing glasses is a real problem at work, it should be banned for everyone‚ men and women," Ishikawa told Bloomberg. "This problem with glasses is the exact same as high heels. It's only a rule for female workers."

Ishikawa started a Change.org petition for #KuToo, which invokes the #MeToo movement while playing on the Japanese words for shoes, "kutsu," and pain, "kutsuu." It currently has over 31,000 signatures. 

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