The Social Complex

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A Blog dedicated to the exploration of height bias and discrimination.



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  • January 31, 2012 7:51 am

    It Happened to Me: I'm a Short Guy

    TSC: Click the link to read one man’s personal perspective on height bigotry.  And while the article’s substantive content is anti-heightist, its comedic delivery leaves much to be desired.  Short people rarely discuss instances of individual height bigotry or even systemic heightism without masking the outrage with humor in an attempt to avoid the inevitable recrimination that comes with attacking a prejudice which is so beloved by our culture.  So excuse much of the self-deprecating nonsense in the article and focus on the substance of what the author is saying.  

    You’ve got to give him points for bravery.  

    Allan Mott

    18 hours ago

    I have found that many of the cultural inequities we traditionally assume are gender-based might have just as much to do with size as the seemingly inexcusable lack of a penis.

    I spent my young life being told that our pediatrician estimated I’d end up making it to 5’6”, maybe 5’8” if I was lucky, which was still short, but not comically so. But it turned out that quack was way off and I stopped gaining inches not long after my 13th birthday. It was Grade Eight and I had permanently reached my lifelong summit of 5’2” — just three inches above the official medical classification of dwarf or little person.

    In the 23 years that have passed since then, I’ve come to two major conclusions about being a short man in North American society and they are thus: It sucks and no one wants to hear you complain about it.

    Because of this I tend to mostly shut up about the subject. It’s hard enough trying to explain to people the realities of height discrimination when you have to also convince them it’s an actual thing in the first place.

    “Oh, c’mon!” I’ve heard many, many times. “People don’t treat you any differently because you’re short.”

    Every person who has ever said this to me has been at least 5’11”. But I’ve lived the life and know the truth and what I have found is that many of the cultural inequities we traditionally assume are gender-based might have just as much to do with size as the seemingly inexcusable lack of a penis.

    Before you take this statement as an affront to the harsh realities of patriarchal oppression and expose my testicles to the flames of your self-righteousness, let me point out several ways I have found where being a short dude and being a woman directly correspond.

    Glass Ceiling

    Take a look at the list of Fortune 500’s top CEOs and what you’ll find is the classic definition of a sausage party. It’s all men, men, and some more men, with just a smattering of token females to help indicate just how many fucking men there really are. Do you know what the average height of all that money-grubbing manmeat is? 6’0”. And that’s the average, which means a significant amount of those guys are actually taller than that.

    Salary Disparity

    It’s no secret that women earn significantly less than men do for performing the same jobs. What people don’t know is that height is also a major factor in wage differences. According to Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Blink,” it is estimated that an inch of height is worth an extra $789 a year in salary. This means that a man who is the same height as the average Fortune 500 CEO will likely earn $7,890 more a year than I would for the same job. Over the course of 40-year career, that amounts to a difference of $315,600.


    A common complaint amongst women in the workforce is that instead of being praised for showing the same decisive leadership qualities as their male peers, strong women often end up being classified as “bitches” whose dedication is seen as a form of psychosis rather than that of admirable drive and ambition.

    In the case of short men, take the above and replace “bitches” with “little Napoleons”, whose desire to succeed is dismissed by many as evidence of “short man’s syndrome” and a pathetic need to prove themselves more worthy than others.


    As a woman, have you ever walked into a room full of men and instantly felt yourself evaluated and dismissed in a matter of seconds?

    As a result of this, you have to fight to make yourself heard, which earns you the labels of pushy and annoying. No matter how good your points are, they’re ignored, because it has already been decided you have nothing of worth to contribute amongst such company. Ask most short men if they have ever suffered through this dispiriting experience and chances are you’ll get a buttload of yes.

    Sexual Harassment

    Actually, this is where the similarities between women and short men sharply diverge. Very few of us smaller guys have to worry about receiving unwanted sexual attention. In fact, getting any sexual attention requires a level of dedication and patience that have earned some folks sainthoods in the past.

    The fact is that as a short man you can expect 8 out of 10 women to immediately dismiss you as a potential sexual partner at first sight, before you’ve had time to even so much as shout out a “Hey, pretty lady!” And chances are the remaining 2 out of 10 will only give you a couple of minutes to make your case before similarly blowing you off.

    In my experience, women hate to hear this, because it makes their entire gender sound extremely shallow and superficial.

    Whenever I’ve talked to female friends about this reality, the following conversation has inevitably occurred:

    Me: Women don’t like dating short men.

    FF: That’s not true. I bet there are a lot of women out there who love short guys.

    Me: Have you ever dated one?

    FF: No….

    Me: Would you?

    FF: (Uncomfortable silence)

    According to the mega-bestseller “Freakonomics,” short men are statistically less likely to receive any responses from their online dating profiles than any other demographic group. The fact that I’m averaging one a year on my OkCupid profile is actually me breaking the odds through the force of my tremendous personal charisma.

    1. thesocialcomplex posted this