The Social Complex

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


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  • February 8, 2012 8:18 pm

    Reader Submission: 5’9” is not short!

    TSC: Received this submission from “Braeden” today. 

    I’m tired of people saying comments like “5’8” is tiny,” or “5’9” is so short.” Just because you’re used to being around six-footers doesn’t mean 5’9” is short. The average height for men in the US is 69.2 inches, which is basically 5’9.” If 5’8” is short, is 5’10” tall? 

    Height should be like this, statistically:

    • Short: under 5’7”
    • Average: 5’7”-5’11”
    • Tall: over 5’11”

    But people think it’s like this:

    • Short: 5’9” and under
    • Average: 5’10”-6’1”
    • Tall: 6’2” and up.

    This is probably due to a few factors:

    • people being around tall family members or friends and getting used to their height. 
    • "Short Man Invisibility Glasses": A term used on another site to mean someone only sees tall men and ignores short men
    • Men lie about their height. a 5’9” guy might say 5’11”, making people think 5’11” is average. 

    Next time you hear someone say 5’9” is short, tell them it’s average!

    TSC: Interesting commentary, but an argument could be made that it misses the point.  A better observation is to say that the boundaries between “short” and “tall” should be rendered meaningless.  It shouldn’t be considered an insult for a 5’9” man to be identified as “short”.  The reason that this is considered insulting is because we (as society, collectively) know that the concept of “tall” is associated with social privileged, while the concept of “short” is associated with social stigma or even intrinsic inferiority.  The anti-heightist perspective is to say that height shouldn’t matter because it has no meaning beyond its social construct. 

    1. Braeden submitted this to thesocialcomplex