The Social Complex

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



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  • March 17, 2012 10:16 pm

    What a Strawman Looks Like: "Hey guys, what silly oppressions have you come across?"









    I’ve already got:

    —transethnic, transfat, and transabled
    —short people oppression that includes normatively-sized people (heightism), kinky oppression and bodymod oppression

    What are the ‘trans’ ones? Like people who /think/ they are some…

    TSC: There is a difference between discrimination and oppression.  I don’t think anyone seriously challenging heightism has used the world “oppression” to describe it.  Heightism is a form of discrimination, but “oppression” is something different.  But notice how people try to use hyperbole when describing those who fight against heightism in order to make the prejudice look trivial or non-existent. 

    This is what a strawman looks like. 

    I’m glad you taught me what a strawman looks like, because now I know that the site “ShortSupport.Org” is a strawman site set up to make the anti-heightist movement look bad.

    And if, having read this far, you do not believe that height discrimination is serious, you are no doubt a tall person in the late stages of denial. Or, perhaps, you cringe at the thought of yet another victim group lining up to demand redress. Surely the notion of SHRIMPs (Severely Height-Restricted Individuals of the Male Persuasion) as an oppressed social group is silly, and the idea of special protections or compensatory benefits for short men preposterous? Actually, no—unless all such group benefits are equally dubious.

    Wow.  A little bit of knowledge is very dangerous.  That quote doesn’t come from  It comes from a 1995 article in The Economist by Jonathan Rauch.  If you had read the entire article, you would have seen that it is primarily satirical.  Mr. Rauch uses heightism to argue that other forms of discrimination should not be used as an “excuse” for social inequity (an argument with which I do not agree).  By the way, Mr. Rauch is not short and he knows nothing about heightism.  Go to to learn about heightism.

    No, you are incorrect. It did come from ShortSupport.Org. That’s where I got it from. They got it from the source you cited (and yes, they did attribute it), but they reproduced it on their site to represent their views. This is not the only time they’ve reproduced an article that refers to short people as an oppressed group.

    Whatever the intent of the original authors of these pieces, an anti-heightist group has chosen to use their words, and thus, you are wrong when you call it a strawman argument. You have been proven to be incorrect. Pick a different defense and move on.

    They did not post that article to represent their views.  Here is the link so that everyone can see the list of articles which are linked to from

    That webiste has a list of 1,013 links that have to do with short people or heightism.  Are you saying that all of these links represent the views of that website?  That is an absurd statement/assumption.  Some of these links are contradictory, so they can’t all represent the views of that website.  

    Go ahead and admit your mistake and save face.  Everyone reading this can click the link for themselves and see that you are mistaken.  Own up and move on.

    Valiant effort, but really transparent for anyone who spends more than 30 seconds on that site. You linked people to the generic list of all articles, with no context for any of them. Under that view, any one article may be taken as “this was posted just because it has something, anything to do with heightism.” But that’s not the only view, or the default one. The actual main article list page, the one you get when you click on “Articles”, has them divided into folders/categories by relevance.

    See here.

    Where is the article I quoted from? Under Economics. Not under humor or satire or general short people interest. The master page for Economics says at the top:

    Many studies have shown that, all other factors being equal, short people earn less than their taller peers. See especially the seminal 1995 Economist article.”

    So, yes. They did post that article to represent their views. It’s not just one article in a thousand, it’s one they single out out of a thousand. It’s not some random piece of filler or fluff. The site maintainers consider it the cornerstone of their section on height and economics. They refer to it as seminal and refer people to it without commentary or criticism. 

    Take your own advice. You were wrong to label it a strawman. You’d be better off saying, “Yes, clearly it’s not a form of oppression and anybody who says so is wrong to do so, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a serious or real form of discrimination.” instead of flatly denying that it happens.

    Please understand that admitting you were wrong about a factual matter doesn’t require you to recant your beliefs regarding heightism. If you can’t do that, then there’s not much point in talking to you further.

    TSC: First of all, I’d like to apologize to my regular readers for subjecting your eyes to what is revealing itself to be a petty attempt at rhetorical obfuscation on the part of “alexandraerin”.  The argument seems to now be that any link presented on a website represents the opinions and beliefs of that website unless the site disclaims otherwise.  This argument is absurd on its face and so I don’t really see any value in continuing with this discussion.  Conversations such as these require good faith - a reasoned argument based on logic.  Instead, “alexandraerin” presents a string of assertions which embody sound and fury, signifying nothing. 

    Again, at no place on does the webmaster claim that heightism is a form of oppression.  But I will agree that if that website did make such an assertion, it would be a mistaken one.  Heightism is not a form of oppression.  It is a social prejudice.  It is even a form of systemic discrimination.  But oppression is something different.  It is uniquely serious and it is a word that should be reserved for only a certain “kind” of social prejudice. 

    (Source: the-original-dtwps)

    1. notemily said: I’m kind of loling at “transfat” because TRANS FAT
    2. blue-author reblogged this from thesocialcomplex and added:
      You are being so intellectually dishonest here. So disingenuous. They highlight the article. It’s not just one of a...
    3. thesocialcomplex reblogged this from blue-author and added:
      TSC: First of all, I’d like to apologize to my regular readers for subjecting your eyes to what is revealing itself to...
    4. dariadixon reblogged this from ro-s-a-spark-s and added:
      I’m really tall and I have to get things off of high shelves for people all the time and I don’t appreciate it. CHECK UR...
    5. safetypin-up said: Kinky oppression? Oh like that “vanilla privilege” thing I read about?
    6. jackietorrance said: body mod oppression is so real, I just had to bite the bullet and cover everything and take piercings out to get a job. In the beauty industry no less, you think they’d appreciate body decorations.
    7. bookishboi said: Otherkin oppression?
    8. blueklectic said: what in the hell is kinky oppression???