The Social Complex

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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 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. 

  • September 14, 2013 5:52 pm

    TSC:  Here we go again, people.  Send your complaints here:

    https://www.hpicheck.com/contact.html


    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. 

    I am writing you concerning your latest commercial “HPI shortchanged” (https://vimeo.com/74334470).

    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.

  • September 7, 2013 11:37 am

    Standing tall in the NYC mayor’s race

    By Jena McGregor, Published: September 6 at 10:31 am

    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)

    Read more at The Washington Post

    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.”

  • 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
  • March 23, 2013 8:25 am

    Story Time, or How I Became an Anti-Heightism Activist

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    TSC:  We are all products of our environment. And as heightism is a prejudice that is part of a pervasive social construct which says that shorter people are inherently inferior to taller people - we all start off subscribing to this cultural myth. When I was very young, I too assumed that shorter people were “not as good as” or “less than” taller people, and I simply accepted this in my thoughts and actions. It wasn’t something that bothered me, even though I was a short boy, because I regarded it as natural and I never framed it as a type of prejudice. Looking back, I was sometimes ignored or treated differently than taller people, but I wasn’t troubled by this fact - I would simply defer to taller kids even though I understood (on some level) that I was limited (if even slightly) because of my height. But again, I didn’t understand the concepts of socialization or stigmatization because they never taught things like that at my High School.

    However, later I went to college (an intellectually rigorous liberal arts school) and was introduced to a lot of “new” ideas and ways of looking at the world. It was then that I first started looking back on my life and questioning things about height and society that I had taken for granted. Also, thanks to the internet, I was introduced to the concept of “heightism” for the first time.

    But though a lot of things happened which confirmed my suspicions about heightism, I didn’t really fully “get it” until I was about to leave University. And ironically, it took a couple of tall guys to make me realize how limiting and degrading heightism could be.

    Read More

  • 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. 

  • August 23, 2012 10:51 pm

    Why We Fight

    TSC: I had to repost this letter which was written to Joe Mangano and posted on his site.  Read the entire letter because it highlights just how closed-minded our society is when it comes to this issue.  Apparently, the topic of heightism is even taboo within the halls of academia (where inquiry and free-thinking used to be encouraged).  So know that we have a huge uphill battle in enlightening people to the social illness that is heightism.  But, it’s worth the effort - if only for moral reasons. 

    This is why we fight.

    Dear Joe,

    I have just recently discovered your website and have so far listened to all of your podcasts. I am still working my way through all of the articles posted,  but I think I will have all of them read soon.

    I have tried to bring heightism awareness to others in my university, because I face discrimination due to my height on most days. Yet it does not seem like I get any positive reception or serious consideration by doing so. Other short men like myself get offended when I suggest that there is a heightism problem in society, and people who do not have short stature look at me like I’m an idiot for suggesting that heightism is morally abhorrent. My college campus is in Minnesota where much of the students have Scandinavian backgrounds, and as such the concentration of tall people is rather large.

    As an example of heightism, today in my philosophy course we were on the subject of oppression. Our professor asked the question “What gives people power? How do we decide who is powerful or not?” Then he proceeded to give an example. “How is it that Kim Jong Il, and now his son, Kim Jong Un, both short, napoleonic, weasels of men…how are they able to command power from others?” A girl in the class shouted out “He has short man syndrome!” and then a lot of students started laughing. Then the girl looked over at me and said “Oh, no offense Erik!” which was followed by another round of laughter. I responded that I did not find any of it funny and since we were talking about oppression, discrimination and social justice, I asked why is it that whenever we talk about these subjects in modern society we always talk about sexism or racism but not heightism? And of course students got upset with me for trying to suggest heightist discrimination is a serious issue comparable with discrimination based on gender or race.

    This is just one example of heightism that I faced. It feels absolutely awful, and it pains me to know that so many others face the same pain due to something that is not controllable. I sometimes feel like giving up in trying to defend myself over this issue because of how many people tell me it is all in my head, but your website really encourages me to keep fighting. After all, so many great men in history were told that they were crazy or couldn’t do something or other, but they fought for what they believed in. The progress we have made in social justice would not have been made if people had just given up when supporters of the status quo told them to. I hope more people follow your example and join the fight in heightism awareness.

    Thanks Joe,

    Erik