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Is 2022 The Year We Finally Embrace Women Wearing Glasses?

Glasses have come a long way: When I was first prescribed glasses aged eight, I sobbed. I knew my chances of being cool and pretty were over. 

As a teenager, watching films like Miss Congeniality, She’s All That, and The Princess Diaries, I learned there was a hope of being cool and pretty again – as soon as I ditched my glasses for contact lenses. And then in my twenties, as ‘hipster glasses’ came onto the scene, I realised the right plastic frames could make me, if not pretty, at least cool.

In my early 30s, I’m now at a place where I happily wear glasses every day – but would never wear them out on a date or to a party. My friends see me in glasses 95% of the time, but on my social media, I’m glasses-free in 95% of the photos. Because as much as I’ve progressed along with society’s views of women and glasses, I still can’t get *that* makeover scene out of my head – the one that’s repeated in every single one of those teen movies and tells us that glasses aren’t attractive.

Until right now. This is the year that’s going to change everything because finally, I have new pop culture references to drown out the memories of Anne Hathaway and Sandra Bullock being forced to get rid of their specs to be beautiful. Like Encanto. Disney’s new animated film tells the story of Mirabel Madrigal – a young girl who is as pretty and loveable as all of Disney’s heroines and wears glasses.

Disney probably didn’t think this would have such an impact on a 31-year-old woman watching it – it was most likely done to help its child glasses-wearing audience feel seen – but it’s helped me as much as any 10-year-old. Because it’s proof that a lead female character in a movie can wear glasses, as well as (spoiler) save her entire family. The Jasmines and Belles of my generation didn’t, but times have changed, and now the Mirabels do.

This was monumental in itself, but then I discovered Netflix’s Italian series An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts. Not only is it about astrology and dating (which makes it a must-watch in my book), but the protagonist Alice Bassi wears glasses. And she doesn’t just wear glasses during the day at work; she also wears them out at night and on dates.

Not every date – in the first episode I was disheartened to see her take them off before going for a drink with a man; was this just promulgating the message that glasses are fine for everyday wear but not to look pretty and sexy? But then I realised that it was just realistic. The thing about wearing glasses is that it’s your choice to wear them or swap them for contacts. And Alice, like many of us, does both.

It has surprised me just how epic it has been to watch an entire series where the attractive heroine wears glasses. In real life, it’s so normal I’d barely notice – so many of my friends look just as beautiful in glasses as without. But on screen, it’s so rare that I notice it several times an episode, especially when Alice gets romantic action in her specs.

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