Nearly everyone has seen a Hollywood movie where there’s a girl with glasses who isn’t pretty or popular and suddenly she takes off her glasses and she’s beautiful and amazing and the main man or boy wants to be with this girl. What’s interesting about this is that it seems to be the glasses that are the problem, which is backwards. Glasses are the solution to eyesight problems, not the reason someone isn’t pretty, yet studies can be found all over the internet saying that people are still considered both smarter and less attractive when wearing glasses and glasses are always associated with nerds. However, there are people out there who wear glasses and are extremely attractive or quite clueless, or jocks rather than nerds.
I myself noticed some changes in how people treated me when I first started wearing glasses in 7th grade. More and more people asked me for help when they were confused in class, but boys talked to me less and less. Then again, I wasn’t exactly popular in middle school. Either way, this continued into high school. Some of my friends in a math class one year actually gave me the nickname “math goddess” because I was the one who always seemed to know everything when they were confused on a subject. The only reason I actually knew everything was because I was the only one in that group who actually paid attention, but despite that fact and how there were many times when every single one of those friends got higher test scores than me, they still thought I was the smartest.
However, my experience with this stereotype is not the only one. Miranda DeMars, a 2013 graduate from the University of Wisconsin, developed a whole project based on one question. She was preparing for a job interview and wondered whether to wear glasses or contact lenses. This led to a study on how accessories like glasses affect peoples’ judgments of others, and it turns out that wearing them to an interview makes one look smarter and is therefore the better choice for the job. These judgments seem to match Hollywood stereotypes, and a study published by the Swiss Journal of Psychology in 2011 says the same thing.
What can be done to stop people judging other people’s personalities just by what is on their face? First of all, Hollywood needs to stop making “nerd makeover movies” where a girl with glasses gets a makeover in order to attract the attention of a certain boy. These movies include “Grease,” “The Princess Diaries,” “She’s All That,” and even “The Duff” which was made in 2015. No wonder this stereotype is still relevant. To be fair, the nerdy girl in “The Duff” doesn’t wear glasses, but since “Duff” stands for “Designated Ugly Fat Friend” the producers could just as easily put her in glasses and no one would know the difference.
I’m not the only one who thinks that these movies should be abolished. In an article titled “Hollywood stereotypes and cliches that should never be used again,” this type of movie is listed as well as the type where the main character’s best friend is not as hot as she is until she takes off her glasses or lets down her hair. In this article, the author stated “according to Hollywood logic, all ugly people are just a makeover away from being a supermodel.”
Also, as long as Amazon and other stores and sites continue to sell items entitled things like “nerd specs” with extra-thick lenses for costumes, the judging will probably continue. People who dress up as “nerds” for Halloween are probably doing it to make fun of nerds, not of the stereotype.
There has been some progress recently. “The Duff” did not include glasses and the main character of the movie returns to her old look in the end with the man who fell in love with her. Also, Internet users have released things like Buzzfeed’s video “Proof Disney Guys Are Hotter with Glasses,” and many of my friends who switched to contacts a couple of years ago have switched back to glasses or have alternated between glasses and contacts. It’s not much, but it’s a step in the right direction.