Anonymous: "So, the bottom line is that our society says that it’s O.K. to objectify people based on height, but not on other physical characteristics that one may find attractive. " Please don't say things like this, society still thinks its just fine to objectify people based on a whole range of things other than height. Heightism isn't "the last acceptable form of bigotry" by any means. Just focus on the actual discrimination and don't try to play Opression Olympics.
TSC: Generally, I say that heightism is one of the last acceptable forms of bigotry. I am totally against playing the “Oppression Olympics” and I try to be mindful of that when I write about heightism. But, it’s clear to me that heightism is a form of prejudice that is actively encouraged in most circles.
TSC: This is REQUIRED READING. This paper (which was a Master’s dissertation) represents one of the best explanations of how heightism intersects with gender and Patriarchy that I’ve ever seen. If you want to have a deeper understanding of heightism as an axis of oppression - read this.
Anonymous: Hello, I just recently discovered your blog. I'm a 5'10" 36 year old father of one living in Los Angeles with a 5'2" wife, so I do not have much personal connection with the trials and tribulations of being a short man. But I'm fascinated by humankind's obsession (albeit unintentional) over height. Question: have you read The Tall Book by Arianne Cohen?
TSC: Thanks for reading the blog. I would quibble a bit with the idea that heightism is “unintentional”, but I totally understand what you’re trying to say and I appreciate the empathy. I am pretty familiar with Cohen’s work, but I haven’t read “The Tall Book”. The excerpts that I have read seemed to take a rather flippant tone towards the issue of heightism. And so, I never bothered to buy the entire book.
Not going to lie. This part made me laugh. That’s a pretty large range for “average” height. But somehow, I doubt we’d see a note like “the average height for men throughout the world is between 5’6” and 6’0”.
Other than that, I’m not sure what this post is supposed to be saying. Clearly the 14 year old girl who made the graphic is saying that these men are attractive because they are tall. But I’m not sure what that has to do with “the average height for women throughout the world”. In any event, you shouldn’t be sad because of this post.
But, then again…so many people would be so offended if someone posted this exact same thing - except with thin and beautiful actresses (their approximate dress size displayed) with a caption reading: “the average weight for men throughout the world is between X and X”.
So, the bottom line is that our society says that it’s O.K. to objectify people based on height, but not on other physical characteristics that one may find attractive.
In any event, don’t be sad. You’re better than whoever made this.
I’m a long time reader of this blog and thought you might like to see this. It’s nothing special, but there’s a commercial for the French beer Kronenbourg 1664 that briefly shows a couple where the woman is significantly taller than the man. Like I said, it’s only for a few moments, but it’s certainly good to see a break from the “norm”.
Here’s a Youtube link, they appear within the first 10 seconds of the commercial..
I’m 41 years old and I’m 4’10 inches tall. I always adapted to my environments and in some ways I think having this “disadvantage” has allowed me to be more resourceful and adjustable to situations. Sometimes I wish more people would just overlook this and just see a man not a really short man or a midget, after all there’s more to me than the length of my body, right? It makes me dread meeting new people sometimes, because I always feel like my looks are an obstacle. The latest thing my mother died a week ago and on the way to the funeral I decided to stop at a floral shop in town to pick up some roses to lay on her coffin. The lady shop keeper didn’t know me nor what the purpose for the roses were nor did I engage in much conversation at the time but before I left she off handedly said ,”How does it feel to be so short, I’m short too”. Indeed she could have been only an inch or two taller. But that was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t answer, I felt so desolate.
How about, don’t comment on people’s physical appearance when you don’t even know them? Additionally, this reminds me of something I read on the internet a while back. If you’re unusually tall, your body becomes public property. That is, people make assumptions about your body because of your height and engage in ‘gaze behavior’. However, for short people, our minds become public property. People make assumptions about our thoughts, and even assign emotions and mental states to use based solely on our height.
Also, what sort of a question is “how does it feel to be so short”?
I just love this whole heightism thing because they are literally comparing people making jokes about being short to things such as racism/sexism/homophobia/etc etc where people are assaulted, denied jobs/rights, or flat out killed.