An Eye For an Aye
Before Kamala shattered the ceiling, American Women resisted patriarchy with their glasses
“As in many culture wars, at the heart of revolutionary contests over fashion lay the power to define gender identity and control relations between the sexes” (Haulman, 2005, p. 628).
Before Kamala shattered the ceiling, American Women resisted patriarchy with their glasses. Glasses — particularly spectacles — were considered part of the attire of educated and/or prestigious men. Women were only socially reinforced for (or at least punished less) and depicted as wearing glasses when they were in old age. Thus, women who chose to wear glasses in public “actively altered gender roles and created personas for themselves through the choices that they made about visual aids” (Brandt, 2008, p. 4).
Even though more women than men wear glasses today, they were associated with masculinity in post-revolutionary America. They were considered as much a masculine item at that time as people in the current era consider high heels a feminine item. Our consumer culture generally reinforces hierarchies of physical desirability such that short and/or overweight men will have an easier time buying clothes that fit than tall and/or overweight women. Moreover, our media has historically portrayed older men as wells of wisdom who always have one last epic battle in them before they fall (literally, Obi-Wan, Dumbledore, AND Gandolf all fell, though Gandolf survived) (spoilers) & the protagonist journeys onward — with at least one flashback/vision/dream of their fallen teacher. Older women are far less likely to be Luke’s teacher, Harry’s headmaster, or Frodo’s wizardmanperson. Even in commercials, older men are more likely to be the most interesting man in the world, whereas older women are more likely to be in ads for medication… because something must be wrong. Something is wrong, and it’s called sexism.
Indeed, while young men & career men were appraised as distinguished/ prestigious when wearing glasses, the image below indicates that glasses were only socially sanctioned for women once they were age 60 or older. As such, women who wore spectacles challenged the cultural narratives (Loseke, 2007) of femininity AND masculinity by wearing a hypervisible accessory (Gailey, 2014) that was generally regarded as item of masculine power and prestige in the male dominated public sphere.
Mate Preferences & Glasses
Why women aged 60 & older?
It’s generally understood that men desire younger women & women desire older men (on average). The age of spouse effect is among the most reliable findings in all of behavioral, social, any science. Another reliable effect is the height of spouse effect for opposite sex dyads: straight girlfriends/wives are shorter than their boyfriends/husbands (on average). The same is true for bisexual women with bisexual men.*
Bisexuals & Inter-Orientation Courtship
The preferences of opposite-sex courtship hold even within interorientation couples: bisexual women dating straight men will be with someone significantly taller than bisexual women dating bisexual women or lesbians, and bisexual men dating straight women will be with someone significantly shorter than bisexual men dating bisexual men or gay men. Regardless of sexual orientation, individuals in opposite sex dyads tend to form relationships according to the general metrics of evolutionary expectations.
*[Caveat: the differences appear to be larger in inter-orientation opposite-sex dyads than in bisexual opposite-sex dyads. We’re still doing analyses at this time.]
As such, women wearing glasses were more likely to be viewed as older & thus less attractive under the hegemonic social policing of women’s appearance known as the male gaze (Foucault, 1977). Given this sexist reality, young women who resisted conformation to patriarchal beauty & gender norms (Beggan & DeAngelis, 2015; Forth, 2014) & chose to wear glasses were engaging in a form of apparel activism…
At a time when women’s right to vote was still more than a century away, women wearing glasses was a powerful form of speechless political speech for those fighting for the right to have their voices heard.
To quote Laura Brandt (2008):
“Women of all ages could and did risk ridicule as masculine, bluestocking, or prematurely aged in wearing spectacles publicly. They were savvy enough, however, to use the ancient, masculine, and age-related stereotype of spectacles revealing the wisdom of the wearer to their advantage. Educated, “bluestocking” women, particularly younger ladies, marked themselves as intellectual by wearing spectacles in public, utilizing conflicted stereotypes to present their personae in an instantly recognizable way” (p. 43).
One of the unfortunate outcomes of these courageous acts of publicly visual defiance was that many women developed actual visual impairments over time. Unlike the gold-rimmed glasses I wear as additional protection against racial bias, the spectacles & quizzing glasses that America’s prequel suffragettes were wearing caused significant cumulative damage to their eyesight.
“The irony of the situation was, however, that the use of false glasses precipitated the use of real ones: A Single Glass, set in a smart Ring, is often used by Trinket-fanciers merely for Fashion’s sake, by folks who have not the least defect in their Sight, — and are not aware of the mischievous consequences of such irritation: — this pernicious plaything will most assuredly, in a very few Years, bring on an imperfect vision in One or Both Eyes” (Brandt, 2008, p. 23).
Their sight suffered so that their daughters may see more of America’s promise; their speechless activism contributed to their descendents’ voices being heard…
And now, Madam Vice President. #aMorePerfectUnion
— — — — — — — — — — — End scene — — — — — — — — — — —
Sidenote 0: Jesus was financed by Mary Magdalene → as my fellow Catholics already know, and as Pope Francis made official in June 2016, Mary is to be honored. No more lies about her background or sexual history for the (apparent) sole purpose of creating a contrast between the Virgin Mary & Mary Magdalene. Deconstructing patriarchy at all levels includes male interpretations of religious history, especially when there are sexual double standards involved.
Sidenote 1: Rimmed Glasses & Social Distancing → In addition to glasses generally providing some protection from racial bias, rimmed-glasses facilitate social distancing because they reduce perceived attractiveness (Leder et al., 2011) which reduces the odds that anyone would want to talk to me. Obviously being Black & an iNTJ makes social distancing easy (though I’m more Native American/ multiracial than Senator Elizabeth Warren), but the appearance-level performativity of my non-corrective rimmed-glasses add an additional layer (Judith Butler, 2011).
Sidenote 2: Glasses Aren’t Goggles, but → The eye is a site of COVID infection. Chu et al. (2020) reported that eye protection reduced the risk of infection by 48–78%.
‘Students entering a classroom immediately after another class ended will be exposed to a much higher concentration of particles, and thus an inhaled dose closer to the general infective dose, than if they had entered an hour. This is one good reason for leaving an unoccupied class period between each occupied period in a given classroom’ (Corsi, 2020).
Also a good reason to get groceries at 7am rather than 7pm. Moreover, the people who are awake & getting groceries at 7am obviously weren’t up late partying with alcohol & loud music at a social gathering the night before.
Sidenote 3: Parties & Seatbelts
- Jasper drinks alcohol at a party & alcohol decreases immune functioning
- Piper turns up the music due to so many people, which makes the people talk louder & louder voices = more emissions
- Jasper takes an Uber/Lyft home. He opens the passenger door with his hand, then puts on the seatbelt with both hands, & then touches his face because omg that party was such a rush & first real fun since April but…
→ the Uberer/Lyfter had more than one passenger that night
→ the door handle wasn’t disinfected
→ the seatbelt wasn’t disinfected
→ Jasper has no symptoms so his roommate Chad thinks all is well but both end up testing positive a few days later
→ so even though 40% of Americans think traveling for the holidays this year will be safe/manageable… no.
No for all of the following: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years Eve, Inauguration Day, Valentines Day (could be a repeat of Halloween), the Superbowl, Ash Wednesday (I’m giving up social gatherings for Lent), Coachella, Spring Break in Hawaii, taking communion from the same drinking source on Easter.
Sidenote 4: Of the Species-Level Permanence of Height Preferences → Tall girls have been prescribed hormonal treatments to stunt their growth (Pyett et al., 2005) to preserve male sexual desire for marriage (because #MaleBrain) & protect patriarchal privileges of height from the threat posed by tall women.
Sidenote 5: Of the Utilitarian Desire to Wear Glasses for Someone with Perfect Vision → A study by Alexandra Fleischmann et al. (2017) found that glasses improve a candidate’s odds of winning an election. In court, glasses increase defendants’ odds of a favorable verdict (Brown, 2011) as glasses decrease perceptions of forcefulness & increase perceptions of intelligence (Terry & Krantz, 1993). Blacks wearing glasses are perceived as less aggressive/threatening, more attractive, and friendlier (Brown, 2011). As such, wearing glasses are among one of the social utilitarian strategies minorities develop to preempt, offset, and/or manage instances of bias & discrimination (Smith et al., 2007; Pierce, 1995; Smith, Allen, & Danley, 2007).
Sidenote 6: Siri is an excellent witness → so keep her charged (Amani & everyone except AmAir, et al., this literally happened in 2020).
Were they not paying attention in summer 2020?