The Social Complex

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


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  • January 13, 2014 8:42 pm

    A Fantastic Paper about Height Discrimination in Employment

    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:

    Abstract

    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

  • January 12, 2014 11:11 am

    Does anoyone know where this is from?

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    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? 

    Why is this O.K.?

  • December 19, 2013 4:21 pm
  • December 18, 2013 11:30 pm

    TSC: Put a face to the hate, people. 

    Click on the link to see the High Resolution images over at the “Put a Face to the Hate” blog. 

  • July 13, 2013 5:57 am
    TSC: We need your help gathering background information on this ad campaign.  We’re in the process of starting an e-mail campaign against Mars Inc., (parent company of Snickers) to pursade them to remove advertisements which celebrate heightism as a joke to promote their snacks.  So far, we have identified at least three places where the tagline “Smaller Size With No Inferiority Complex” has appeared in Mars advertising.  Maxim Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine, and Facebook.  
HAS ANYONE ELSE SEEN THIS AD IN PRINT OR ON THE WEB? 
Please write in and let us know.  Also, I’m looking for the marketing firm that created this ad.  When did this advertising campaign start?  Which marketing firm created it?  How widespread is it?  Is it only targeted at young men or is it found in magazines which are targeted towards women too?  The answers to all of these questions will help us fight this. View high resolution

    TSC: We need your help gathering background information on this ad campaign.  We’re in the process of starting an e-mail campaign against Mars Inc., (parent company of Snickers) to pursade them to remove advertisements which celebrate heightism as a joke to promote their snacks.  So far, we have identified at least three places where the tagline “Smaller Size With No Inferiority Complex” has appeared in Mars advertising.  Maxim Magazine, Rolling Stone Magazine, and Facebook.  

    HAS ANYONE ELSE SEEN THIS AD IN PRINT OR ON THE WEB? 

    Please write in and let us know.  Also, I’m looking for the marketing firm that created this ad.  When did this advertising campaign start?  Which marketing firm created it?  How widespread is it?  Is it only targeted at young men or is it found in magazines which are targeted towards women too?  The answers to all of these questions will help us fight this.

  • July 12, 2013 8:10 pm
  • July 11, 2013 9:09 pm
    TSC: Advertisers are getting more and more blatent.  It’s like they’re not even trying to mask height bigotry under a veil of plausible deniability anymore.  View high resolution

    TSC: Advertisers are getting more and more blatent.  It’s like they’re not even trying to mask height bigotry under a veil of plausible deniability anymore. 

  • May 18, 2013 9:57 pm
    mike5f4:  Was told by my lady friend that her grandsons elementary school did a presentation of made up skits. He played Shrek, and in it the kids had made up a line of short jokes as they where looking to get Lord Farkquaad. I guess my only question is" are we making any progress, or am I just spinning my wheels in trying to fight heightism? Socially accepted bigotry. The teachers must have had no objections. I was hopeful we where making some progress. I feel defeated.

    TSC:  So, this is how I look at it.  No, I don’t think we are making the type of progress which you seek at this moment.  But for me, this is all about getting us to a place where an anti-heightism movement can take shape.  Right now, we are in a place where society believes in the inherent inferiority/superiority of individuals on the basis of their height - period.  Heightism not an idea that is questioned openly and it’s accepted as a matter of course.  Even among short people.  

    So, I think that the first step is simply getting shorter people to recognize the systemic and socially constructed prejudice that is heightism.  Right now, “heightism” is to our society as “water” is to a fish.  That is, it is so ubiquitous and familiar as to be taken for granted and simply not consciously noticed.  So, I think our job is simply to wake shorter people up to the truth.  To simply get them to take note and realize that something is wrong in our society.  

    Eventually, after enough people are aware of heightism, a critical mass will form and a movement can start.  I’m not even saying that this will happen in my lifetime, but I’m saying that it’s possible.  We don’t even need to focus on the majority population.  If we could just enlighten a critical mass of short people, the coming change would be inevitable. 

  • February 25, 2013 5:47 pm

    This Is What Social Justice Looks Like

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    ~Name Redacted~ (notonthehighstreet.com customer service)

    Feb 25 14:31 (GMT)

    Dear Geoffrey

    We have reviewed the feedback we have received regarding this product and shared it with the relevant seller, who has taken the decision to remove the product from the site. It was never their, nor our, intention to cause any offence and we do of course apologise if this is the case.

    Kindest regards

    ~Name Redacted~
    Customer Service Manager


    Customer Service
    notonthehighstreet.com

    TSC:  Congratulations to everyone who follows this blog and was brave enough to write a letter to this company.  This is proof positive that your voices do matter.  Though it might not be exciting or dramatic, simply taking a moment to enlighten the minds of others is the hallmark of modern social activism.  This is what social justice looks like.   

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    Also, let’s thank notonthehighstreet.com for being so reasonable.  We have had other campaigns launched though this blog that have been much less successful.  Here, the company responded in 24 hours (instead of months later) and they took the appropriate actions to maintain their reputation.  So, cheers to notonthehighstreet.com as well. 

  • September 30, 2012 4:17 pm

    Can Heightism Ever Be Challenged?

    TSC: I have to pat myself on the back for a post I just made on reddit in response to a person who claimed that heightism can never be challenged because it is a product of Human Evolution.  I pretty much smashed his argument to dust - and I say that in the most humble way possible.  Check it out for yourself.

      ThrowlikeShurikan

    You can’t change heightism any more than you can change a baby’s fear of objects rushing at it.

    It’s instinctive. You can NOT un-wire over 100 million years of evolutionary gut instinct, By making twitter posts, and spreading ‘awareness’.

    Think about the animal kingdom, Animals invented all kinds of Frills and ‘extensions’ in order to appear larger, and scare off enemies.These Animals didn’t grow up in a social society encouraging hieghtism, or watch disney, it’s hard wired.

    This heightism thing is rooted in Biology. Not social politics.

    Geoffrey, I appreciate what your trying to do, But it simply will not work.

    GeoffreyArnold

    I respect your opinion, but I’m afraid that you are mistaken about this. We can certainly reduce the prevalence of heightism in terms of a systemic prejudice and in terms of individual interactions. In this way, heightism is no different than racism, sexism, homophobia, or any other type of widespread socially stigmatized characteristic (or set of characteristics).

    We are who we are through the process of evolution. That means, if our evolutionary biology brought us heightism, then it must have also brought us racism, sexism, homophobia, and the rest - correct? Surely you would not argue that heightism is natural while other forms of bigotry are unnatural, even though all of these widespread behaviors had to come from somewhere, would you? You can’t argue that heightism comes from Human Evolution, but racism is the product of “The Devil”. We are what we are because of Human Evolution, and so they both must be the result of natural processes.

    O.K., so once you have come to this unavoidable conclusion, it is easy to see how heightism can be challenged. Do you think that racism is more prevalent today than it was in the 1950’s or less prevalent? If you live in the United States, the only correct answer is “less prevalent”. Even the most jaded Civil Rights activist would agree with this fact. Therefore, it naturally follows that forms of widespread stigma (which are the progeny of Human Evolution) can be influenced and reduced through social action and education.

    Why would this be so? Well, in order to understand this, you have to know some of the basic principals of Aristotelian philosophy. All things have a thing that makes them unique. A knife is used for cutting. That is its purpose and what separates it from other objects. The quality of a knife can be gauged by its sharpness. Likewise, a chair is used for sitting. That is its purpose and what separates it from knives and other objects. The quality of a chair can be gauged by its comfort. So, what is the purpose of a human being? What describes the quality of a human? Well, Aristotle says that the answer to this question is to determine what humans do that other things cannot do. What makes humans unique? The answer, according to Aristotle, is the ability to reason and use logic. Humans are different from other animals because we have human reasoning and have the capacity for logical understanding. The “quality” of a human, therefore, is in his/her ability to reason.

    So, you’ve given the example of Animals evolving frills and other mechanisms to appear larger in order to discourage their enemies. I suppose this is your evidence to say that heightism is can never be overcome? But what you forget is that humans are different than other animals because we have the ability to reason. That’s why dogs naturally attack cats, but humans don’t attack animals for no reason. It’s why monkeys run around completely naked, but even the most primitive human adults cover themselves. It’s why other members of the animal kingdom kill at will, but we have developed a concept called “murder”. It’s the reason other male members of the animal kingdom dominate females and take sex when they are able, while we have concepts called “rape” and “human rights” and “gender equality”. We have reason. The rest of the animal kingdom may not be able to resist what we call racism, or sexism, or heightism - but we can. We have reason.