TSC: I like to keep this blog about heightism generally instead of the much over-discussed topic of female height requirements or height in dating. But my God….I’ve never heard a woman say anything like this before. This is a beautiful critique of height, masculinity, feminism, and dating in our society. Bravo..
TSC: DNews discusses the science behind the “Napoleon Complex” myth. Most of it is fair, but they managed to falsely imply that studies which correlate height with slightly higher IQ scores explain the height/wage gap.
TSC: How short Asian men are depicted on American TV. (Sorry about the “heightgrowth” advertisement…the clip is sponsered by a scam website which tricks young men into sending them money in hopes of getting taller. But it’s still a good clip.)
Sadly, I’m overwhelmed with anecdotal proof confirming the results of the last study. I’ve lost count of the number of female friends who have stroppily flung their phones down on pub tables, wailing “I hate online dating, I hate it! Why can’t I find someone?!” when, after a little probing, it becomes clear that the “someone” they’re searching for needs to be 5”10, minimum. Theme parks have less stringent height requirements than some of the single women I know.
Last night, after the close of Obama’s State of the Union Address, a U.S. Congressman assaulted and threatened a short reporter on live television for asking tough questions. Congressman Michael Grimm (NY-R), posturing and looming over the shorter NY1 reporter, threatened to throw him over the balcony; seething that the reporter wasn’t “man enough” to ask such questions and that he’d “break him in half, like a boy” if he ever embarrassed him on camera again.
This is just another example of how some people (often men) are much quicker to threaten physical violence against shorter/smaller people as opposed to larger people. Does anyone think that the Congressman would have acted this way if the reporter was a tall man who was larger than the congressman? Anyone?
The study was reported in a short interview on BBC Radio 4 with the angle ‘’study shows short people are more paranoid, and think people around them are hostile even when they aren’t’, although the interviewer did query whether a virtual environment where a person is suddenly and artificially experiencing being much shorter than usual will have the same psychological effects as simply being short in day to day life.
The Guardian article linked above is more nuanced and at least goes some way towards describing prejudice/bias against short people.
Neither report seems to mention whether they also experimented with the effects of making the subject artificially taller in the virtual environment.
TSC: Thanks for passing this on. Here is another article which discusses the same study. So, after reading a bit about the actual study, I tend to think that it doesn’t tell us much and it doesn’t measure what it purports to measure. For starters, the study was done with women only but the authors’ hypothesis is meant to apply to short people of both genders. Additionally, the women used here were people who already had a history of paranoia. And finally, the authors choose to reduced the heights of their subjects in a virtual reality environment in a way which measures a perception change, while not measuring absolute height. That is, how do we know that these women didn’t become more paranoid because they were subtly shrinking, and not because they were shorter?
The women felt more anxious after having been “virtually shrunk” and so the authors of the study started to draw broad conclusions about short people generally. However, this study wasn’t about short people. This study explores the psychological consequences of what might happen if a woman were to be suddenly blasted with a shrinking ray.
But, what’s even more damaging than the specious conclusions of this study this article references is the flippant tone of the article itself. The basic premise of the article seems to be “short people are social inferiors and there’s nothing to be done about this except to try to make people feel taller”.