One man's attempt at literacy

Tag Archives: Spider Man

As we are becoming a more self aware society, we constantly discuss poorly- or under-represented groups in the media. I myself have written about how, even as gay people have started having more positive characters, the vast majority of homosexuals in the media have been unintentionally negative stereotypes. If you read things about Doctor Who (you mean you DON’T read about people’s opinions on Doctor Who?!) you have probably seen an essay or two about how problematic and sexist female companions and the always-male Doctors are. And, of course, there are constantly issues with Latinos, Blacks, American Indians, Middle Easterners, Asians every ethnicity but whities on TV and in movies.

But the real, most misrepresented minority is so overlooked that they haven’t even been discussed in these injustices. I’m, obviously, talking about people who rarely seem to be main characters, instead being relegated to, at most, the sidekick. People who you see in real life every day but can go hours without seeing in movies or shows.

That’s right: glasses wearers. Foureyes. Um… Is there another disparaging word for glasses wearers? Because, if there is, pretend I’m saying it righttttt HERE.

Little House on the Prairie owns DIS

Let me mock you more, visually challenged girl! Mwhahaha!!!!

You get the idea.

As a glasses wearer, I have to strain my already strained eyes to find representations of glasses wearers in pop culture. Let’s start with my favorite show: 30 Rock. Who on that wears glasses? Firstly, Tina Fey — though she actually stops wearing them as much as time goes on. Why do you abandon your roots, Tina? Why don’t you embrace your identity? The other character on 30 Rock who wears glasses is Frank, the porn-addicted super nerd. That last bit will come up later. And that’s still only two of the seven main characters, and there are basically no supporting characters with glasses, either.

Next, let’s look at some other shows: Parks and Recreation, which is about government employees, has zero glasses wearers; Grey’s Anatomy, a show about doctors, has zero glasses wearers; and don’t even get me started on the CSI shows, which are about forensics specialists who seem to all be super models (also, I don’t watch CSI so some might wear glasses but I’m ranting so I can’t take the time to verify that!). The list goes on and on, and continues to be saddening.

How is it that there are so few people with spectacles in the media when national studies show that 64% of adults in America have eye wear? The answer, again, is staring you in the face, but you can’t see it — sort of like the proverbial person with a heavy correction who refuses to wear their glasses because they’re afraid of being labeled a nerd; if you wear glasses, you will be labeled a nerd!

Quiz Rocket's a thing?

Well, if the glasses fit…

To wear glasses is to be instantly considered both smarter and geekier, both of which are impediments to sex appeal. There is actual advice out there about how people should wear glasses to job interviews because they will look more competent. Somehow, having terrible eyesight is linked to having a bigger brain, as if the reason my eyes are awful is because my bulbous brain is protruding onto my optical orbs and causing them to malfunction. Similarly, when I prattle on about which Final Fantasy game is my favorite and why, people simply nod their heads and say, “Of course you can immediately list that! Your eyes are terrible, THUS you love video games.”

In the time of the war on women, the war on race, and the war on religion, the closest analog to addressing people’s differing perceptions of you based on whether or not you wear glasses is the issue of nerds vs. jocks. Because, OF COURSE, if you have glasses, you are a nerd — not bad eyesight — and if you don’t have glasses you are a meaty, meaty meathead — or, at best, a secret contacts wearer who wants to avoid being ridiculed as a nerd.

Clark Kent Super Man

“Well, Clark is super awkward, but that’s just ’cause he’s a dork.”

Think about it with one of the most famous characters in American pop culture: Superman. When he’s being awesome and saving the world he wears no glasses; when he is being a lame reporter and generally hiding his bad social skills, he is bespectacled.

And you also have the same with Peter Parker and Spiderman in the last completed movie trilogy (we’re talkin’ Tobey Maguire, here). When he’s a boring nerd at the start, he’s got glasses; then he gets bitten by a radioactive spider, and the ultimate way the director can illustrate his drastic physical improvements is GASP! He no longer needs corrective eye wear!!! Praise the lord, he is saved!

Rachael Leigh Cook

So. UGLY.

Or go back to CSI; the show is actually largely about nerds (“I can tell where his fruit soda came from based on the protein compositions in his milkshake, teehee!”), but they still can’t wear glasses because, as soon as they do, they lose their sex appeal. I mean, like, EVERYONE totes knows if you wear glasses you can only be cute, not sexy, duh! It’s the ultimate “She’s All That” scenario, where someone goes from being an unpopular geek to a super popular prom queen the moment they discard their useful eye wear, despite the fact they were Rachael Leigh Cook the entire time.

As a glasses wearer and a nerd, I must insist you respect my identities! No longer should my physical impediment be linked to my love of Doctor Who and Star Trek. The fact I happen to love geeky things and can very fairly be called a foureyes is pure happenstance, no more related than my lack of religion and my love of puppies.

With all these misrepresentations about glasses wearers, we as a culture need to discuss eye wear and what it actually means versus what it is symbolic for. Can someone do that? Anyone? Because I’m certainly not the one you want to lead a serious sociological discussion.


As spring has progressed, I have made an exciting, insightful, and terrifying discovery; I live in a place popular for film shoots. It all started two months ago, when a film code named “Iron Side” was scheduled to be shot in my very own apartment building. Another movie had a shoot in my neighborhood later, called Animal Rescue, which apparently has Tom Hardy and other stars, and there have been shoots by Adidas. All in all, there’s been a film or photo shoot here for something very well known in my neighborhood — literally using the road in front of my apartment building and the surrounding streets — every week for over a month.

Excuse the bad photography; I took them all myself and I have no eye for 'em...

Excuse the bad photography; I took them all myself and I have no eye for ’em…

Having so much filming originally seemed like it would be amazing; who doesn’t want to live near the center of Hollywood action? Iron Side ended up being the phrase that the Spider Man 2 team was using so it wasn’t so well known where they were. But there have been issues, especially for myself and my roommates, people who live on the top floor of the building that apparently is the must-film location of the summer!

The Daily Bugle

The Daily Bugle

Spider Man 2 caused the first problems as soon as they began filming, because they filmed on my roof (AKA my ceiling). They started at about 6:30 AM and had no qualms with being as loud as they pleased. They slowly packed more and more stuff into my hall until they literally blocked my door  that afternoon, because they had no idea anyone even lived there, and my friend had to tell them politely to make a path.

A few weeks later, I got home in the afternoon and decided to take a nap, only to discover that another, smaller movie was filming on my roof, this time with a chainsaw. Needless to say, my only solace was slamming pot lids together to irritate them (I’m so mature).

This last Saturday, Spider Man 2 returned to filming. The good news is they were not on my roof this time; the bad news is they were blocking off the street in front of my building since it’s apparently so photogenic, and they had taken all the parking spaces in a three block radius. When I made my way down the street towards my apartment that morning, a woman in a green coat with a radio asked me to move out of the road. I simply walked out of the road but didn’t acknowledge her, clearly a bit perturbed, but my boyfriend looked her squarely in the face and said that people lived here and she was disturbing them. She said nothing.

We left again a bit later for a walk around the park near my home, and when we returned they were still filming. As we approached my building the same woman was there, and, this time, with a little less enthusiasm, she told us that we couldn’t use the street. Again, I said nothing, and this time my boyfriend said less but made her aware, again, that she and the crew were an unwanted presence.

Throughout the day I watched them below me, and while I tried to remain passive I couldn’t help but let a bit of derision enter my voice whenever I thought of them. These people had come here, without my permission, without asking me, for their own personal gain; envy and hostility were pretty well warranted. When rain started pouring so much that a flash flood alert came up on my phone, and the film crew below scattered to the safety of their tents, I will admit I reveled in their misfortune a bit.

Later that day, I left for yoga and parted with my boyfriend. After I got back from yoga, I encountered a man blocking my street, because, much to my chagrin, filming had resumed when the rain subsided. He tried to stop me feebly, but I cut his, “We’re filming this way” short with a terse “I live here.” As I progressed, that same woman I had seen twice before was there again, guarding the street south of mine. As I passed she feebly asked, “Are you going to 135?” and I ignored her, not making a sound, my face a mask of ice.

photo 3It wasn’t until I got inside that my feeling of triumph was replaced by shame; her voice hadn’t had any edge to it, or confidence, it was the voice of someone who was defeated. The truth of, for every person like me — walking by without acknowledging her — there were probably people who verbally berated her for merely doing her job. She was just as innocent and irritated as I was. It wasn’t even the filmmaker’s who necessarily caused this; places like DUMBO offer incentives for people to film there because it makes them more exciting and can help local businesses. The people who own my building probably also got paid directly to have films shot here, and just chose not to inform their tenants or give them any breaks in rent despite making money off our inconvenience.

After hearing the dejection in that woman’s voice, a post that was meant to merely be a cathartic rant has become something I’m much more proud of; it’s a story of remembering that people are people. We aren’t all callous, and when we cause each other grief we generally do care. Those people who make the movies you love — or love to hate — aren’t above you, they’re just as susceptible to be put in bad situations as you are. The proof is in front of my home on a weekly basis. The problem is the people who don’t deal with this personally, who don’t see the people they inconvenience. In the end, lots of people end of being frustrated by an industry that, for all its apparent glamor, is slow, tedious, and trifling.

Despite all this, I think I could’ve forgiven them if I had been offered some ice cream, though.