TSC: This episode address short stature but it’s in no way “anti-heightist”. The episode acknowledges that short people are “made fun of” in school, but never addresses height discrimination. They don’t even bother to substantively address slurs or stigma against short people by fellow adults as it happens in real time during the episode. Short people (read: short men) are pretty much insulted and humiliated throughout the episode.
However, the show did have a few redeeming messages which implied that George should be comfortable with his body. Of course, the basis for that message doesn’t seem to be that height bigotry is wrong, but that height bigotry is unimportant. In other words, “it’s no big deal, so you should be comfortable with being short”.
No great message for challenging heightism. But, it could have been much worse.
Boy, 13, commits suicide ‘after he was bullied for years for being small’
Johnathon Short-Scaff was found hanged in his bedroom last week
Just the day earlier, he had become upset when bullies at school told him to ‘go kill yourself’, his best friend said
His mom said he told the principal about the bullies but nothing changed
An investigation is now underway into his death
Family: The bullies reportedly targeted Johnathon, pictured with his mother and sisters, for being small
TSC: I think the article speaks for itself. This young man joins a list of young men who took their own life after being tormented by bullies who harassed them for the way they were born. The real problem here is that heightism is such an accepted and even celebrated prejudice in our society that these sorts of things are bound to happen. Also take a look at the comment section at the end of the article. Notice the number of posts blaming Johnathon for taking his life instead of the bullies who harassed him because of their hate for short boys. Also notice the number of people who say “he should have waited until his growth spurt…he may have ended up as tall as the rest of his peers”.
Notice how none of them say anything like “it’s O.K. to be short”. That never comes out of anyone’s mouth.
TSC: A MUST WATCH video! A superstar in the leg-lengthening community who advocated the procedure, and went from 5’3” to 5’7”, now regrets his decision. In this video, he recants his support for leg-lengthening and picks up the banner of social justice instead.
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?
And please send them quickly. Today is Saturday, 9/14. It would be nice if we could get a critical mass of complaints sent in before their offices open for business on Monday morning. I’ll post mine once I’ve composed it. In the meantime, here is one that I found on Reddit.
It saddens me that your company’s marketing department decided they needed to resort to height-shaming in order to get their message across.
I had hoped that we had moved on from fat-shaming, gay-bashing and black-blaming. Unfortunately, you moved on to ‘the inadequacies of the short man’ from there, since apparently that one is still on the ‘funny, yet harmless’-list.
Here’s to hoping their next attempt will not alienate half of the male population again.
The tumultuous Democratic primary race for New York’s first new mayor in 12 years is nearing the finish line. There are only a few days left until Democratic voters take to the polls on Tuesday, and after the implosion of Anthony Weiner‘s campaign and a poll that has Bill de Blasio surging to a commanding lead, the city’s public advocate currently looks like he has the advantage with voters.
And it appears there’s another advantage for de Blasio: He’s tall. And I mean really tall–the kind of tall that makes writers who profile him use it as a metaphor for his high-minded liberalism. At 6-foot-5, de Blasio towers over his competitors. The photos from the debate Sept. 3 say it all: de Blasio is at least a head taller than his opponents, and his position in the center of the room only accentuated his height.
Does that matter? Maybe not so much in New York. The city has had its share of short-yet-powerful mayors, and New York mayors’ height has famously been questioned in the past. But in general, a tall stature usually–if subconsciously–confers an advantage when it comes to being picked as a leader.
We’d like to think the measure of a person’s body matters little when it comes to measuring his or her capacity to lead. But plenty of research confirms that “height-ism” really does exist. One recent study showed that 58 percent of presidents elected were taller than their opponents (the researchers threw out 11 elections for lack of data or height differences), and that 67 percent of the winners of the popular vote were taller. A 2011 study by psychologists at Texas Tech University found that when asked to draw the “ideal national leader” alongside an “average citizen,” 64 percent of study participants drew the leader as the taller figure. The rationale is simple, the authors say: We choose tall leaders because of caveman politics. It’s evolutionary forces at work. (Emphasis Added)
TSC: Why is it that anytime we read an article about heightism in the mainstream press, we find a disclaimer about “evolutionary forces”? Presumably, the purpose of reminding us about evolution in a conversation about social bias merely serves to separate heightism from “serious” forms of discrimination. However, racism and certainly sexism are also holdovers from our evolutionary past - an example of cavemen politics.
But you would never read an article about the gender pay gap with a comment which reads “We choose male leaders because of caveman politics. It’s evolutionary forces at work.”