The Social Complex

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


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  • July 22, 2014 8:29 pm

    13 Year Old Boy Bullied to Death from Height Bigotry

    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. 

    For shame.

    (share this story)

  • July 8, 2014 4:53 pm

    Is heightism as unacceptable as racism?

    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.

    BBC Newsnight's Stephen Smith reports.

    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? 

  • July 7, 2014 9:36 pm

    Why I'm Dating a Shorter Man

    TSC: An interesting, if ultimately unsatisfying look at the Male-Taller-Norm through the eyes of a tall woman. 

  • July 6, 2014 5:22 pm

    Why Being Short Can Help in Soccer

    TSC: This article on the supposed advantages of short stature in soccer was pretty interesting (if not patronizing) until I came across the following statement:

    Short players might have an easier time overall, too, because studies show tall players get called for fouls by referees more frequently— potentially because people associate height with aggression.

    TSC: Wut?

    Why can’t it just be the simplest explanation - that taller players commit more fouls? With the widespread “Napoleon Complex” myth being so common, it makes no sense to assume that people associate tallness with aggression.

    This is like that study which said that shorter NBA referees call more fouls. Instead of saying that perhaps shorter referees notice more fouls, the editors at Deadspin concluded that shorter referees had a chip on their shoulders.  (disclaimer: I couldn’t find the original article)

    It seems that any study done about height will find a way to paint shorter people as lacking or defective and taller people as gifted. If a study came out showing that shorter males masturbate more often than taller males, they’d conclude that this is because shorter males have less access to women and so they more often relieve their sexual frustrations alone. However, if a study came out showing that taller males masturbate more often that shorter males, they’d conclude that this is because taller males are more viral and have a greater sexual libido than shorter males.

    Whatever is needed to satisfy the researcher’s cognitive dissonance.

  • June 27, 2014 10:44 pm
    Born in the wrong century.
(Thanks to /u/Kode47) View high resolution

    Born in the wrong century.

    (Thanks to /u/Kode47)

  • June 1, 2014 8:25 pm

    TSC: A romantic comedy featuring a short man?  Is this possible?  I’m skeptical, but it might be interesting. 

  • May 29, 2014 7:41 am

    TSC: Cute

  • May 21, 2014 11:19 pm

  • May 21, 2014 2:01 am

    TSC: Heightism as a form of gender prejudice is becoming more of a mainstream concept. 

  • May 19, 2014 9:13 pm

    Second study concludes that the Male-Taller-Norm is cultural; not innate to humans

    Abstract

    Preferences for waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), sexual dimorphism in stature (SDS), and leg-to-body ratio (LBR) have been investigated predominantly in Western cultures. The aim of the present study was to examine the preferences of a relatively isolated, indigenous population (i.e., Yali of Papua, inhabiting the mountainous terrain east of the Baliem valley). A total of 53 women and 52 men participated in the study. Study sites differed in distance from Wamena, the biggest settlement in the region, and frequency of tourists’ visits. We found that the mate preferences among Yali men and women for WHR, LBR, and SDS were not exactly the same as in Western samples. Yali preferred low women’s WHR and relatively high women’s (but not men’s) LBR. Women’s and men’s ratings of each SDS set were similar, which suggests that the “male-taller norm” in Yali tribe was far weaker than in Western cultures. Additionally, the observed preferences were modified by contact with different cultures, age, and accessibility of food resources (pig possession). Our results suggest that human norms of attractiveness are malleable and can change with exposure to different environments and conditions.