The Social Complex

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



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  • September 27, 2012 7:43 pm

    Short Men, Eww, They’re Genetically Deformed

    TSC: check out this rant by a fairly depressed short guy who seems to have given up on the fight and adopted society’s view of his height.  The author does not bother to criticize heightism directly, but instead cites a bunch of studies and statistics about the plight of short men.  Then, at the end of his rant, he basically throws his hands in the air and implies that all short men are doomed….dooooomed….doooooooooooomed.

    The comments are also very interesting.  Some of them are par for the course (“why don’t you man up and quit whining”).  But some of them are very helpful and positive without being pollyanna. 

    Short Men, Eww, They’re Genetically Deformed

    Sep. 24, 2012

    Being short sucks.

    I’m a 5’5″ (165 cm) tall, male. That is, I’m five inches shorter than your average American man who checks in at 5’10. Average Joe towers over me and a good chunk of the US female population does too.

    How do I feel about being short? I’ll say it with feeling this time: It seriously sucks. It’s like walking around with the hashtag #DEFORMED tattooed on your forehead and the words “LOSER WITH BAD GENES” inscribed on your chest in a big, bold neon font.

    Look at short people in Hollywood. Tom Cruise, 5’7″, and Jason Alexander, 5’4″, are probably the two most famous short actors. Tom Cruise is know for being a crazy maniac and Jason Alexander is famous for playing George Costanza on Seinfeld, an awkward/short/fat guy who can’t get women…..

  • September 9, 2012 6:07 pm

    The Popular Post Feminist Heroine in Relation to Heightism

    TSC: I have to give credit to for sparking my curiosity as to a disturbing trope which often arise within our popular culture with regards to heightism.  An article recently appeared on Fortune online about the rise of Women in the United States in terms of economic and political power.  The article is essentially a book review for Hanna Rosin’s novel, The End of Men: And the Rise of Women, which is described as “an exploration of the modern career woman and her effect on the economy, gender norms, and masculine self-worth”.  In it, Rosin interviews real people in order to support her thesis that changing gender norms within our society are the result of changing economic circumstances.  And here we have an example of life imitating art.

    With a cocktail in hand at a Yale Business School party, Sabrina chats about her likes (red wine, Lady Gaga, and Angela Merkel) and her dislikes (short men, FDBs — financial douche bags — and immature texts from scorned exes). The green-eyed beauty could easily roll with Carrie Bradshaw’s posse. She’s single, poised, successful, and attractive — “one of a kind” is how an old flame describes her.

    Whether Sabrina is a real person or a conglomeration of characteristics of many different women is irrelevant to the discussion because attitudes like this have become quite common.  Here we have an ivy educated woman in her early 30s, who we also latter discover is a banker, casually professing her hate for a group of people without apparent shame - as if her disdain were completely rational and obvious.  Sabrina perfectly demonstrates that lumping bad behavior, professional rudeness, and short men into the same category is completely appropriate in mixed company or even when talking to a journalist.  Now, all of this begs the question, “does Sabrina’s demeanor in relation to heightism remind you of anything?”

    Sex and the City (1998-2004) has been hailed among critics as a groundbreaking work of entertainment which has spawned several copycat shows and has had an indomitable impact on our popular culture.  One could also argue that the show represented a sort of post feminist ethic of the modern heroine.  On the one hand, this post feminist modern heroine is celebrated for her economic power and social independence, but on the other hand, this same power and social independence is conflated with a culture of excessive consumerism; where femininity is defined by the clothes one wears, the men one associates herself with, and the parties one attends.  And of course, such a vapid and consumerist ethic (where image matters more than substance) does not bode well for short men who live in a heightist society.  We can see this during several episodes in which short men were openly ridiculed or shunned for being short, presumably because short men were intended to represent the antithesis of the “fabulousness" depicted by the show’s lead characters who were, in turn, meant to be aspirational role-models for their young audiences. 

    Take, for example, an episode from Season 6 entitled “Splat!”.  All you have to watch is the first two minutes to get the idea.  It doesn’t even require a set up.  And after that, you also may want to see (08:20-8:40) for a very subtle cautionary message to the viewer that old women lose their fabulousness with age and so you may want to find a partner quickly - lest you end up with a short man.

    And please do not assume that the attitudes expressed in popular culture in regards to the post feminist heroine are regulated to dating.  The attitudes about feminism and short male inferiority are widespread and appear in several episodes of the series and its progeny.  The problem is not about attraction, or lack thereof, but about attitudes which are normalized and spread into the real world through entertainment such as this.  It represents a dangerous aesthetic which further encourages a type of intolerance which is rarely criticized. 

    Other shows following the Sex and the City model of the post feminist heroine include:

    To be completely honest, I’ve never actually watched “lipstick jungle”, but I’ve read enough synopsizes about the show to confidently place it within the Sex and the City genre.  But I have direct knowledge that the other shows listed here make negative comments about short men throughout their respective series.  In fact, if memory serves, a character in “Cashmere Mafia” had something bad to say about short men in Episode ONE, Season ONE of the show (though I couldn’t find the clip on youtube). 

    For some of you, this may seem trivial.  You might think, “what’s the harm” and “everyone has their own opinions and biases”.  Well, why that may be true, we have to consider the social consequences which arise from a cultural paradigm in which the open disdain for short men is considered a function of female empowerment.  Remember that “Sabrina” from Hanna Rosin’s book is a Yale educated banker.  Would I, as a proud short man, want to be sitting across the table from Sabrina, my bank’s loan officer, trying to negotiate a rate on my home mortgage or a business loan?  Should I be concerned if Sabrina, my stock broker, suggests a great investing strategy to me when she knows that I am a short man?  How many Sabrina’s are there in the professional world?  What is their impact on our broad social goals to make our world more equitable for anyone willing to work hard and play by the rules? 

    Need short men not apply?

  • May 30, 2012 9:25 pm

    Happened Today at Lunch

      So, I went to a fast food restaurant for lunch today. I had planned to pick up a number three combo with a large diet Slurm when all of a sudden, some tall fat man barged to the front of the line and threw his crumpled bag onto the counter.
      Tall Fat Man:  I DEMAND to speak to the Manager!
      Cashier:  Can I help you, Sir?
      Tall Fat Man:  I Need to speak to whoever is in charge, right now! This is the second time you all have gotten my goddamn order wrong!
      (at this point a sharply dressed short man, in his mid-30's, walked up from the back of the restaurant)
      Short Man (approx. 5'6"):  Can I help you, Sir?
      Tall Fat Man:  Oh No, Hell No! I want to speak to whose in charge. The District Manager or whoever!
      Short Man (no emotion):  I am the District Manager, Sir.
      Heightist Assumptions - #that's the shit I don't like
  • April 17, 2012 10:54 pm

this is how love works, check out more at

TSC: This picture (amazingly titled “How Love Works”) is another example of how we are indoctrinated into social norms which marginalize short men.  Why does the short man have his hands up like he is being robbed?  What is this supposed to represent?  Also notice how the tall female is put in the male position in her frame with the short male.  In all of the other frames, the male is positioned on the left and the female on the right.  In the “tall girl + short guy” frame, their roles have been reversed.
This is despicable. 
Edit to add: I just noticed something else.  Notice how the tall woman in the “tall girl + short guy” frame is hyper-sexualized.  All of the other female characters look more like little girls (complete with pig-tails) than grown women.  But the female character in the upper-right panel has feminine looking eyes and painted lips.  
Again…this is despicable.  View high resolution


    this is how love works, check out more at

    TSC: This picture (amazingly titled “How Love Works”) is another example of how we are indoctrinated into social norms which marginalize short men.  Why does the short man have his hands up like he is being robbed?  What is this supposed to represent?  Also notice how the tall female is put in the male position in her frame with the short male.  In all of the other frames, the male is positioned on the left and the female on the right.  In the “tall girl + short guy” frame, their roles have been reversed.

    This is despicable. 

    Edit to add: I just noticed something else.  Notice how the tall woman in the “tall girl + short guy” frame is hyper-sexualized.  All of the other female characters look more like little girls (complete with pig-tails) than grown women.  But the female character in the upper-right panel has feminine looking eyes and painted lips.  

    Again…this is despicable. 

  • April 7, 2012 12:49 am

    Heightism Lecture I: Three Ways To Fight Heightism

    TSC: Caesar, proud short man extraordinaire, lectures the class on three ways in which heightism can be challenged on a grand scale. (Running Time - 3:04)

    And Here is the YouTube version of the same video for those who do not have Flash Players, or are visiting this blog from iphones or ipads.

  • March 14, 2012 7:56 pm

    Positive Nike Ad

    TSC: We’ve got to give some major Kudos to Nike for this ad they did featuring Martin St. Louis for their line of hockey equipment.  For those that don’t know, Martin St. Louis is one of the shortest players to play professional hockey with the NHL.  Hat tip to T.W. for this video.

  • February 4, 2012 8:20 pm

    TSC: Check out this BMW ad which uses “the odd couple" in order to sell a comfort feature.  Still, the ad isn’t overtly offensive because the short guy is acting normally and not doing anything to humiliate himself.  But, the really strange thing is that BMW is doing an advertisement for a technology that is more than two decades old.  I thought BMW was supposed to be an upscale brand?  Are they trying to go down-market? 

    Edit to Add: On the one hand, BMW uses the Male-Taller Norm concept as the setup for a visual punchline whose humor relies on the audience’s understanding that such a relationship would be “funny”.  But on the other hand, the ad manages to avoid offense because the actual characters in the ad are not making fools of themselves.  Any humor in the ad is projected onto the characters by the audience.  The character’s themselves are depicted as regular people who are probably in a very loving and healthy relationship.  

    Well played, BMW.  At least you didn’t go the same nasty route as Honda

  • December 13, 2011 8:11 pm

    TMZ Waz Right

    TSC: Breaking News.  Read the Original article here first.  From 9/12/11.

    According to TMZ, George Stephanopoulos might lose job for being too short for morning TV.

    George Stephanopoulos could lose his “Good Morning America” anchor chair within a year to the news reader who towers over him … this according to network sources.

    The buzz at ABC is that Josh Elliott — a former ESPN sports anchor who has been the GMA news reader since March — is on the fast track for the anchor seat.  Josh filled in on “World News Tonight” last week and network suits are in love with him.

    The network will deny it’s contemplating a change, but that’s not what we’re hearing.

    The ratings at GMA have actually gone up a bit with George, so why would the network mess with the show?  Our sources say the suits think Josh and Robin Roberts have better chemistry and look better together.

    Our sources say the buzz is that George could go back to his old job, anchoring “This Week,” especially because execs privately now admit Christiane Amanpour is a disaster as an anchor.

    Now why, you ask, do they look better than Robin and George?  Robin is 5’10” without heels.  Josh is around 6’3.”  George is 5’6” … and a half.  There’s a lot of talk at ABC that it just looks awkward when the male anchor is slight and short. 

    Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

    TSC: And now check out what just happened.  From 12/13/11 - just three months to the day.

    George Stephanopoulos To ‘This Week’: ‘GMA Host Returns To Replace Christiane Amanpour

    NEW YORK — George Stephanopoulos is returning to Sunday mornings at ABC News, replacing Christiane Amanpour as host of the political talk show “This Week.”

    ABC said Tuesday that Stephanopoulos, who returns Jan. 8, will remain as host of “Good Morning America,” although likely on a four-day schedule.

    Amanpour, meanwhile, enters an unusual job-sharing role where she will become ABC’s global affairs anchor, contributing to prime-time shows on world news, while also being host of a daily show on CNN International.

    "This role is groundbreaking, bold and very different," Amanpour said. "I am thrilled and honored."

    Critics wondered from the start whether the Iranian-born Amanpour, a veteran foreign correspondent for CNN, was a good fit for a panel show dominated by American politics. It hasn’t budged from third place behind NBC’s “Meet the Press” and a resurgent “Face the Nation” on CBS, with the ABC show down 1 percent in ratings from last year.

    Amanpour’s reporting connections in the Middle East served ABC News particularly well during the Arab spring, and she scored an exclusive interview with then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February.

    But the dawning of an American election year seemed to serve her competitors, old Washington hands Bob Schieffer at CBS and David Gregory at NBC, better.

    The Sunday morning show was much stronger in the ratings behind Stephanopoulos, who was host from 2002 to 2010. ABC moved him to New York and “Good Morning America,” which has done well in the ratings by teaming him with Robin Roberts.

    Amanpour said she was looking forward to getting back out to do more international reporting and speaking to a worldwide audience on CNN, where she worked for more than two decades.

    "Christiane Amanpour has been synonymous with international repo8rting and with CNN for many years," said Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide. "We could not be happier that through this unique arrangement with ABC News her experience and global perspective are returning to a nightly news broadcast for our international audience."

    Amanpour will be making occasional appearances on CNN’s U.S. channel, spokeswoman Christa Robinson said.

    Amanpour replaced Stephanopoulos at “This Week” starting in August 2010.

    Gregory’s “Meet the Press” is averaging 2.92 million viewers this season on Sundays, but that’s down 5 percent from last year. Schieffer’s “Face the Nation,” at 2.86 million viewers, is up 6 percent, the Nielsen Co. said. “This Week” is averaging 2.26 million viewers this season.

    CBS announced Sunday that “Face the Nation” would expand to one hour next spring from its current half-hour format. Both “Meet the Press” and “This Week” air for one hour.

    TSC: God Dammit.

  • November 9, 2011 9:57 pm

    A short guy stands up for himself and does the right thing…then goes psycho at the end of the video.  I still say that there is no such thing as a “napoleon complex”, but this guy makes me smh

    Also, this is why I believe that we need better gun control in this country.  I don’t want to be walking around town, enjoying life, when this guy decides to finally explode.

    Now don’t get me wrong.  This guy probably experiences a ton of height bigotry in his daily life.  And he is justified in feeling angry at society generally.  But I’m just afraid that he might go off and start firing rounds into random crowds. 

    Plus, by doing so, he’d have about a 20% chance of hitting a fellow short man…statistically speaking.  Not cool, bro. 

  • October 31, 2011 12:47 am

    The Craziest Thing I’ve Read Today

    TSC: I’ve read some powerfully stupid articles on…but this one?…sweet Jesus, this one…

    Short Men Dating Tips:

    4 Dating Tips From Short Men

    By Rachel Khona 

    TSC: Now, don’t adjust your computer screens, folks.  You are reading the title correctly.  This is not an article purporting to give dating advice to short men.  Oh no.  This is a first of its kind.  The title says “Tips FROM Short Men”.  This is actually an article written by a middle aged woman, pretending to know what its like to date as a short man, giving advice to tall men, based on what she’s learned as an imaginary romantically successful short man.

    TSC: Now, I want to be clear about this because I had to read the article a few times in order to understand what was going here.  This article was written to give advice to tall men on how to attract women whom short men apparently have no business attracting.  I just said it, but it bears repeating.  The author is giving advice to tall men on how to act like short men in order to attract women that (we are to assume) would rather be with the taller men anyway… if only they could learn to “act short”.  I have never read anything quite like this until now.

    Here is an excerpt of the full article:

    In the words of Kermit the Frog, “It ain’t easy being green.” But if he was dating someone besides a pig, he might find that it ain’t easy being short either. Maybe it’s just a matter of biology, but there’s little doubt that many women prefer tall men. Whether it’s accurate or just perception, taller men suggest power, strength, masculinity, and the ability to protect women. 

    Because of this, shorter men have to work extra hard to impress the ladies. And many of them do it with aplomb. For example, Pete Wentz, Nicolas Sarkozy and Tom Cruise may be slight, but they’re all adept at reeling in the ladies. 

    But it’s just the rich and famous men who can sidestep the height issue. Case in point, one of my girlfriends, we’ll call her Carly, actually lowered her normal height requirement of at least 5’10 to go out with a guy who was 5’7. “His body was ripped,” she remembers. “When he wrapped his arms around me, I felt just as feminine as I would have with a taller guy.” 

    The moral of the story? Taller guys could take a cue from their shorter brethren. If you’ve ever wondered why dream girl is talking to someone half your height, it’s time to get a clue.

    Just because you’re tall, doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels. So what can taller men learn from the shorties? Read on and find out. 

    TSC: Rest on your laurels?  Usually, laurel wreaths are given out for accomplishing something.  Being tall isn’t something you earned and it doesn’t grant you a laurel. 

    You can click on the link for the full article, but it only gets dumber from here.  Also, she uses the line “rest on your laurels” in reference to tall men TWICE in the same article.

    Read more: