The Social Complex

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



Recent comments

  • June 6, 2012 9:18 pm

    TSC: Group dynamics is one of the most powerful forces in psychology.  If you are surrounded by a cultural norm which says that shorter people are inferior (or that short men are inferior), then you are unlikely to publicly challenge such a notion.  This “Group Think” will even affect people who are short and have firsthand knowledge that the social norms are invalid.

    Check out this laboratory experiment which shows the power of group dynamics and social conformity. 

  • September 14, 2011 11:40 pm

    In the dating world, short men face a whole different set of hurdles

    Article about short men and dating over at Calgary Sun.  I took the liberty of highlighting the biased language used in the piece (via bold font).  Take the first one:  A respectable 5’7”? What does “respectable” mean here?  What if he were 5’6”?  Is that disrespectable or something?

    For years now, Chris has felt like he’s gotten the short end of the stick.

    "My favourite was when a woman messaged me on a dating site, started flirting with me, and then wrote "Oh $#!@, I just read your profile more closely, you’re WAY too short for me!’ and then went silent."

    Chris is a respectable 5’7” [note from tsc: better than a disrespectable 5’6”]. But like many men who fall short of fairly tall [tsc: don’t get cute…just say short], Chris feels that his height is a detriment in the world of dating.

    "Everyone’s allowed to be attracted to whatever they’re attracted to," Chris says. "If women are attracted to taller men, so be it. What I hate is when they put ‘must be over 5’10"’ on their online dating profiles or have rules about height. I’m usually attracted to chesty brunettes, but won’t impose a rule on myself that locks out girls that aren’t that."

    Eligible single babe Arianne Young (who is 5’7”) generally doesn’t date men under six feet tall.

    "Most of it comes from a lifelong insecurity of not feeling like a girl since I’ve always been one of the guys,” says Young. [tsc: wait a second.  What does that even mean?] “If he has to go on his tippy-toes to kiss me goodnight, it just doesn’t feel right.”

    She comes from a tall family, which also plays a role in her preference for taller man. [tsc: that makes sense.  that’s why women who come from short families usually prefer short guys.  oh…wait]

    "I find a certain comfort in a man being larger than I am," Young says. "My father is 6’4" and … he raised my brother and I. I’m sure I associate someone who can protect me and love me with someone that much taller than I am.” [tsc: this is what exaggeration sounds like]

    But don’t get discouraged, men-of-lesser-heights[tsc: don’t get cute…just say short] There are women out there who appreciate you for the exact height that you are. So for heaven’s sake, don’t lie about it! [tsc: why wouldn’t you lie about it on a dating site?]

    Rachel, who is exactly five feet tall, needs a man closer to her own height.

    "I noticed that on OKCupid that everyone was really tall," she says. "I was genuinely annoyed that every single guy was around 5’11" to 6’2" and I was really pleased to see a guy that looked cool and was more my height."

    When Rachel met up with her supposedly 5’6” date in person, she noticed he was a good five inches shorter. [tsc: this is what exaggeration sounds like]

    "It didn’t take long for me to notice there is no way he is 5’6", but it didn’t really bother me. I wish I could say I didn’t know why he embellished but I can imagine that it’s a tough market for short guys." [tsc: What happened to the “don’t lie” advice?  This guy lied AND got the girl.  And in fact, he might have been filtered out otherwise].

    "It’s kind of unfair," says Alan Au, of clothing store Jimmy Au’s For Men 5’8" And Under (link to: ""). "You could be missing out on a really good guy just because he’s not tall enough."

    So what is Au’s advice to the shorter-than-average male?

    "Dressing well and having a good personality makes up a lot."

    Chris notes that he’s even felt compelled to go the extra mile to compensate for his height.

    "I generally try to out-smooth other, taller guys," he readily admits. "Have a better sense of humour, be well read and well spoken."

    Kathryn is 5’10’ and had a self-imposed “5’11 or taller” rule for dating guys. In fact, her online dating settings would automatically filter out anyone who admitted to being shorter than her.

    "I definitely subscribed to the notion that a man should be taller than a woman," she says.

    That all changed when she met her current boyfriend the old-fashioned way.

    "I was so immediately and intensely drawn to him, it took days before I noticed he was an inch or so shorter than me. It didn’t and doesn’t matter in the least."

    Kathryn now thinks of the height restriction thing as being foolish.

    "He’s all kinds of wonderful I didn’t know to seek. I’ve realized a lot of the things I thought were important, like not being taller than my partner, are not." [tsc: #happy ending]

    Long story short? If you’ve been searching high and low for Mr. Right, maybe it’s a good idea to look even lower. He may be right under your nose.