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The Beef with Glasses: Perpetuating Stereotypes in Media

Growing up, I was charmed by an amusing fiction of entertainment: the Princess Diaries, Ugly Betty, She’s all that and much-loved Indian TV series and movies like Jassi Jassi Koi Nahi, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. What do these gems share in common, you ask? Well, it's the beguiling transformation of the leading actress, where the first order of business is bidding farewell to her spectacles, which apparently reduces her epitome of ugliness. Ah, the enchanted removal of lenses, capable of altering the perceptions of others and, more importantly, driving the hero gaga over the unexpectedly turned gorgeous damsel!

I remember being a mere 8-year-old when I first donned glasses, and let me tell you, it was like facing the Grim Reaper himself. I cried for hours and days, thinking about how these 'dork goggles' would be the source of my elevated monotony. This started my eager anticipation of their removal, imagining that the day after my LASIK surgery would be a gamechanger, and everyone would be falling head over heels for me. But to my utter disappointment, nothing happened.

Coming to this realization, I understood how commercial movies and shows have portrayed glasses as a deformity and a sign of ugliness, creating visual stereotypes and a lack of representation and diversity. Media representation plays an essential role in constructing perceptions and confining labels. The aforementioned movies depicted women they identified as nerds, geeks, or socially inept introverts, all of whom happened to wear glasses.

This eventually constructs a narrative that people with glasses are like that. While these portrayals might be valid in some cases, perpetuating them leads to reinforcing stereotypes and negative connotations. Moreover, these media products also depicted that girls who wear glasses are less attractive or less desirable.

Coming toward conclusion, these media representation staring glasses as a mark of ugliness and the need for transformation suggests the perpetuation of hurtful stereotypes. The suggested movies, while being entertaining and much-loved by many, contributed to a narrative that links eyeglasses with nerdy or introvert characters. This not only restricts representation and diversity but also reinforces destructive subtexts and beauty standards. It is essential for media creators to challenge these constructed stereotypes and offer more diverse and realistic representations of people who wear glasses. Embracing the diversity is a step towards fostering inclusivity and dismantling negative stereotypes in our society.

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