Sadly, I’m overwhelmed with anecdotal proof confirming the results of the last study. I’ve lost count of the number of female friends who have stroppily flung their phones down on pub tables, wailing “I hate online dating, I hate it! Why can’t I find someone?!” when, after a little probing, it becomes clear that the “someone” they’re searching for needs to be 5”10, minimum. Theme parks have less stringent height requirements than some of the single women I know.
Last night, after the close of Obama’s State of the Union Address, a U.S. Congressman assaulted and threatened a short reporter on live television for asking tough questions. Congressman Michael Grimm (NY-R), posturing and looming over the shorter NY1 reporter, threatened to throw him over the balcony; seething that the reporter wasn’t “man enough” to ask such questions and that he’d “break him in half, like a boy” if he ever embarrassed him on camera again.
This is just another example of how some people (often men) are much quicker to threaten physical violence against shorter/smaller people as opposed to larger people. Does anyone think that the Congressman would have acted this way if the reporter was a tall man who was larger than the congressman? Anyone?
vonagi: I'm 5ft10 & dating a guy who is 5ft5 :) i always wear high heels and am not bothered by the height difference. I think my original bias towards choosing taller men comes from the socially ingrained belief that as a girl i should be small/cute - something I didn't feel unless surrounded by people who are comparatively bigger. If i wear high heels i'm around 6ft3, and I do not believe that our height difference in any way negatively reflects on my femininity or his masculinity. Love the blog :) x
frannycatcheskit: i found this group on facebook full of people making hateful "jokes" about short people and midgets. i didn't understand if some of the members were supposed to be short since some imply that they are; but it's not funny anyway. group should be reported.facebook com/groups/202302239823444/
The study was reported in a short interview on BBC Radio 4 with the angle ‘’study shows short people are more paranoid, and think people around them are hostile even when they aren’t’, although the interviewer did query whether a virtual environment where a person is suddenly and artificially experiencing being much shorter than usual will have the same psychological effects as simply being short in day to day life.
The Guardian article linked above is more nuanced and at least goes some way towards describing prejudice/bias against short people.
Neither report seems to mention whether they also experimented with the effects of making the subject artificially taller in the virtual environment.
TSC: Thanks for passing this on. Here is another article which discusses the same study. So, after reading a bit about the actual study, I tend to think that it doesn’t tell us much and it doesn’t measure what it purports to measure. For starters, the study was done with women only but the authors’ hypothesis is meant to apply to short people of both genders. Additionally, the women used here were people who already had a history of paranoia. And finally, the authors choose to reduced the heights of their subjects in a virtual reality environment in a way which measures a perception change, while not measuring absolute height. That is, how do we know that these women didn’t become more paranoid because they were subtly shrinking, and not because they were shorter?
The women felt more anxious after having been “virtually shrunk” and so the authors of the study started to draw broad conclusions about short people generally. However, this study wasn’t about short people. This study explores the psychological consequences of what might happen if a woman were to be suddenly blasted with a shrinking ray.
But, what’s even more damaging than the specious conclusions of this study this article references is the flippant tone of the article itself. The basic premise of the article seems to be “short people are social inferiors and there’s nothing to be done about this except to try to make people feel taller”.
(click on the Men’s Health logo to read the article)
TSC: In an amazing display of nonsense and doubletalk, Men’s Health gives pointers to short men who are having trouble in online dating. Just remember not to smile in your profile picture, but pose with a guitar because it will make you seem friendlier. The only thing that was interesting in the entire article was the following statistic:
Looks like size really does matter: Men who are 6’2’’ and up are 17 percent more likely to be contacted for a date than guys who are average height (5’8”), according to a survey from AYI.com, an online dating site.
What’s more, for fellas on the shorter side—those below 5’5’’—the odds of drawing interest from a prospective match dropped by 55 percent compared to the tall guys.
TSC: That’s not a particular surprising statistic for those of us who are familiar with issues surrounding heightism (though I actually thought the difference would be greater). However, it does provide further evidence to the fact that the social privilege which attaches to being tall is much weaker than the social stigma which attaches to short stature.
TSC: Just click on the above image to follow a link to the study. It can be downloaded in .pdf form for FREE. Here is the abstract from the paper:
Taller workers earn on average higher salaries. Recent research has proposed cognitive abilities and social skills as explanations for the height-wage premium. Another possible mechanism, employer discrimination, has found little support. In this paper, we provide some evidence in favor of the discrimination hypothesis.Using a cross section of 13 countries, we show that there is a consistent height-wage premium across Europe and that it is largely due to occupational sorting. We show that height has a significant effect for the occupational sorting of employed workers but not for the self-employed. We interpret this result as evidence of employer discrimination in favor of taller workers. Our results are consistent with the theoretical predictions of recent models on statistical discrimination and employer learning
Short Guys are some of the hottest, greatest and nicest guys in the world. So why are we so hesitant to date them? Well ladies, times have changed and short guys are becoming the norm as great boyfriend material. Below, I’ve got the top 7 reasons why short guys are pretty incredible and why you should give ‘em a second look!
TSC: So, apparently there is this video clip making its rounds on the internet which depicts a young man struggling with being bullied because of his height. But, the video is not posted for sympathy… it’s posted for laughs. Essentially, this video clip is being used to make fun of short men (via the increasingly popular slur, “manlets”) who speak out against heightism.
In this clip, a short boy appears to be paraded in front of his entire school during an assembly so that he can confront his bullies and others who have harassed him. The results are quite sad….
TSC: And check out the comment section of this video. It’s mostly adults and young adults laughing at a child’s greif from being harrassed in school.
This shows just how acceptable heightism is in our soceity. There’s this notion that height bigotry is “not that bad” and that his pain is attributed to “being short” (as if simply being short generated negative emotions without the social stigma that comes with it). There is also this popular perception that anxiety or grief caused by heightism is the same sorts of anxiety generated by more benign body issues like having a big nose or having acne. It’s considered something that children should “get over”.
Such notions demonstrate that our society is a long ways away from acknowledging the true nature of heightism in terms of both depth and severity.
Finally, does anyone know the source for this clip? Can you imagine the outrage that would be generated if people were laughing at this kid on the internet because he broke down after admitting that he is harassed for being gay?
Short men have to deal with an enormous stigma when it comes to romance.
I wonder if passing on short men as potential romantic partners—really, if sexual attraction overall—borders on a moral issue. I always cringe when a person says something that rules out an entire category of people, especially when someone rejects another in a flippant, auto-pilot fashion. “Yeah, sorry,” you can imagine someone saying, “I’ve just never been attracted to short men.” While so many women report this preference, I rarely hear any of them self-monitoring as they do so. In fact, you’d think one would ask herself, Is that fair of me? Is that being mean? Could I be ruling out an entire group of men who could make great partners?
As a psychologist, I don’t believe it is mean to deny a romantic chance to entire categories of people, but I do think people should listen to their own reasons why and ask if that narrow window of preference marks the kind of person they want to be. For example, if you see yourself as an open-minded person, you should have an open mind when it comes to dating to the point that you would truly be open to dating a wide range of men: tall, short, funny, and so on.
Now, my personal belief which stems from my education as a psychologist, my clinical practice, and my own life experience is that people hide behind the belief that sexual attraction works in a prewired way. “I’m just not attracted to Asians,” a female social worker I work with said to me yesterday as I discussed my new article. ”It’s nothing personal,” she said flatly. (It didn’t seem to occur to her that her upbringing in the whitest, least Asian town in Connecticut had anything to do with it.)