You Can Have Specs Appeal Claire Peters Investigates New Research That Shows Those of Us Who Wear Glasses Are Still Not Shown in a Positive Light on Television

The Independent (London, England), June 17, 1998 | Go to article overview
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You Can Have Specs Appeal Claire Peters Investigates New Research That Shows Those of Us Who Wear Glasses Are Still Not Shown in a Positive Light on Television


Scarey Spice looks great in hers. Chris Evans has made his a trademark, and now countless Hollywood stars have been pictured in theirs - while 29 million people in the UK wear them with pride.

But, according to research, we are still not seeing positive images of spectacle wearers on television and in the movies.

New research conducted for optical retailers Dolland & Aitchinson indicates the people behind the cameras certainly seem to think people look less of a sex symbol with their eye wear. The study, carried out by Bournemouth University, assessed more than 100 hours of programming on the most successful films at the box office last month. The results showed an overwhelmingly unrepresentative and stereotypical presentation of specs wearers as unstylish, academic types, or dull bores. It is surprising, thinks Managing Director of Dolland & Aitchinson Russel Hardy. "We are combatting 50 years of negative attitudes which can result in real problems. Children who wear specs are still bullied at school, and even at home; and fivemillion m otorists still drive with defective sight, too vain or too unsure to have their eyes tested or to wear specs. "The truth is that it is completely outdated and unnecessary given the range of styles available today - and our research shows celebrity behaviour can play a key role in changing attitudes. "As more celebrities are seen to wear specs, and increasingly view them as a fashion accessory, so too do the public, particularly young people. "Yet this is not translated to our TV and movie screens which could have the most influence. With a few exceptions like Lorraine Kelly or Chris Evans, spectacle wearers on the big and small screens just don't reflect real people or real life. As over hal f the population wear glasses don't they deserve better role models than Diedre Rachid or Curly Watts?

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