House of Commons Speaker John Bercow asks if heightism is acceptable
7 July 2014 Last updated at 23:59 BST
David Cameron made a joke that referred to the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow as one of the Seven Dwarfs.
Mr Bercow, who is 5ft 6in tall, has questioned why it is somehow acceptable to criticise people over their height, when attacking someone for their skin colour or sexuality is widely accepted as wrong.
TSC: This time, the BBC proves that heightism is one of the last celebrated forms of widespread bigotry left in the world. The broadcast doesn’t take the issue seriously until the part about tall people facing social stigma. Whenever the issue of heightism was brought up otherwise, one can hear Randy Newman’s offensive ballad “Short People” playing in the background.
Then, for no reason, the piece claims that shorter people are less intelligent than taller people and that smarter people tend to mate with tall people. So, instead of addressing the social prejudice, the BBC chooses to partake in it and cite out-of-context studies to justify height bigotry.
And, in the final analysis, the BBC implies that height bigotry is morally acceptable because height is not a protected class under UK law. One wonders if homophobia and bigotry against gays was also morally acceptable when it was perfectly legal to discriminate against gay people in the United Kingdom?
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:
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
~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.
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.