Wearing Glasses

Dr. Stephanie Han wearing glasses in front of a scenic viewpoint

I try to wear my glasses as much as possible in photos to encourage girls to wear glasses. I’ve been wearing glasses since I was 8 years old in the 3rd grade. I distinctly remember excitedly telling my friend that I was going to get glasses; she did not share my enthusiasm. I was so happy to get glasses! My 4th grade picture is me in gold wire frame glasses with tape. Dad did this for me. Years later Mom laughed and I said how could you let me walk around with this tape on my glasses. Dad said it was perfectly fine and good that I made do with those glasses. At the time, I was pleased he fixed my glasses in this way. I had no idea I was living out the Asian nerd social misfit stereotype. Both Mom and Dad wore glasses. I think to some degree, we were a family of nerds, so no one cared and it was about fitting in with each other rather than the outside world, which is often what close family dynamics are like.

The summer of 7th grade I got soft contact lenses. It’s a miracle I didn’t develop a massive eye infection. Every now and then my mom would ask if I was sterilizing them, which for me at the time was throwing the entire case with saline it it into a big pot of boiling water. I said to her, oh yeah, I did it. Haha. You know, like I kept up with all of my grooming, like washing my hair. I will not describe in detail the day the flakes of dandruff came out from my comb, but it would be fair to say that I was not the nicely groomed 7th grade girl all the time. Yes, there were times when I went through some greasy haired grubby moments. I wore a hat on those days. Ick. But telling the truth here…

The thing that I enjoy about NOT wearing glasses is feeling free of the sweat on your nose, which is why, even if I have and wear sunglasses, I’m not always keen to do so. I’m at the point where I need glasses over my contacts, and with the prescription this or prescription that I have a lot of different kinds of glasses that I am circulating between for near and far sightedness, for sun or not in sun. I have terrible vision.

Many young women students refuse to wear glasses in my classes. They squint, they simply feel too self-conscious to wear them. I reveal to them what a friend who wears glasses told me: women who wear glasses usually fare better when asking for raises or negotiating financially. After I heard that one I wore my glasses all the time. Not sure what study there is on this, but hey, it can’t hurt. I also told the girls this. Can’t say that more of them wore glasses, but maybe in the future.

To those who teach young girls and wear glasses: Wear them! With pride! With joy!

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2 replies on “Wearing Glasses”

I really enjoyed this post. Not needing to wear glasses growing up, this was such an interesting, intimate insight into the world of young glasses who need glasses. I especially liked the line about fitting in with each other instead of the outside world which is what close family dynamics is like. It gave me a lot of food for thought…

Yes, I think we have conflict when we choose groups to fit in with that will never accept us for who we are. This is the source of much anguish.

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