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Do Glasses Make You Look Smarter?

Do Glasses Make You Look Smarter?

Glasses: Geeky or glam?

Vicki Santillano | DivineCaroline

August 20, 2010

… But Do They Make Us Hotter?

Though the Ohio State University study found that young children don’t necessarily find their spectacle-sporting peers more or less attractive, a study put out this year suggests that those with glasses feel less attractive and confident as a result. Published in Optometry and Vision Science, the study chose a group of nearsighted children (aged eight to eleven) and gave them either glasses or contact lenses to wear. After three years, they followed up by asking them questions to gauge their self-esteem levels. Overall, the kids with contact lenses felt better about their looks, their athletic abilities, and how their friends perceived them. Girls in particular showed the most dramatic improvement in their self esteem.

Is it any wonder that adolescent girls feel less attractive with eyeglasses? Name one strong, leading female character in television or movies who sports them and lands her leading man. (Yeah, I couldn’t think of any either.) And though over 60 percent of men and women participating in the Essilor of America survey disagreed with the statement “Guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses,” an ABC News story called, “What Glasses Say About You,” indicates otherwise.

In the story, a woman sets out to determine how wearing glasses affects us romantically. She asked two groups of men to rate her level of attractiveness with glasses and without. With her glasses, not one of the guys wanted to date her. Her attractiveness score decreased dramatically once she put on the eyewear. One man referred to her as a librarian; another questioned how fun she would be. Though one guy did say that it has more to do with confidence than anything, it’s obvious that all of the men made judgments about her personality based on the glasses. (Like assuming a woman wearing glasses wouldn’t act confidently otherwise.)

On Spectacles and Stereotypes


Ultimately, glasses signify a certain personality type in our society, and that association begins at an early age. And while the way that glasses affect others’ opinions about our attractiveness doesn’t seem to come into play until later in life, it’s sad that kids as young as eight start negatively judging themselves for wearing spectacles. It’s too bad that glasses can make us see perfectly, but still can’t always give us or others an accurate view of ourselves.

It makes me even sadder—though not surprised—that girls feel more insecure behind their spectacles than guys do. For some reason, most dating-related studies (like the aforementioned ABC video) are more concerned with how women are viewed wearing glasses than men, implying that the same scholastic overachiever stereotypes don’t hold true across genders. (Superman’s Clark Kent might have something to say about that.) Regardless of gender, glasses don’t make us any smarter or less attractive, despite what society might suggest. People like Tina Fey and Ira Glass are doing great things for us glasses-wearers, but until those in the spotlight wear glasses without it being a big deal, I have a feeling our designations as bookworms and brainiacs will continue on.

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