TSC: A very interesting video about height from the perspective of a person who went from a short female (5’0”) to a very short male (5’0”). Unfortunately, he sort of attributes these ideas to the “trans community” when it’s really a deep social problem which affects everyone. Also, because he was just giving advice and not really talking about heightism, he chose to concluded with some of that “feel good” naivete about “positive energy”.
And not the scientific “positive energy” as in protons. But, the bullshit metaphysical or cliched kind.
TSC: So, VICE (which normal does pretty interesting articles and very excellent foreign journalism) posted an article about a dwarf German Shepard named “Tiger”. But that alone isn’t interesting enough for me to talk about it here. What makes it interesting is the human height shaming the author gratuitously inserted into an otherwise informative piece about dogs and dwarfism.
Cuteness aside, German Shepherd dwarves come with various health issues. They face infertility, a shortened life span, and problems with growing skin, teeth and adult fur. They can also become overtly anxious or aggressive. It’s pretty hard to sell a puppy destined for health issues and small man syndrome, so most breeders just euthanize the dwarves a few weeks after birth. This is the fate that Darien Northcote’s vet recommended after her pedigree dog gave birth to six puppies in 2011.
TSC: Small man syndrome? I thought we were talking about dogs? Did the author really need to use a gendered body-shaming slur against humans to describe the dog’s temperament? And here is the kicker (as pointed out by a fellow /r/short subscriber or reddit)
JohnGM: [I] Just read the link within that article that talked about the various health issues and no where in that list of health issues does it say anything about the dogs being overtly anxious or more aggressive like they claimed in the article. Not saying they were wrong btw, I don’t know I’m not a vet, just pointing out that the link they used for the possible health issues didn’t include those two issues.
Is there a modern prejudice in our society that is as widely celebrated as heightism? And I don’t just mean “accepted”. I mean, celebrated.
TSC: This episode address short stature but it’s in no way “anti-heightist”. The episode acknowledges that short people are “made fun of” in school, but never addresses height discrimination. They don’t even bother to substantively address slurs or stigma against short people by fellow adults as it happens in real time during the episode. Short people (read: short men) are pretty much insulted and humiliated throughout the episode.
However, the show did have a few redeeming messages which implied that George should be comfortable with his body. Of course, the basis for that message doesn’t seem to be that height bigotry is wrong, but that height bigotry is unimportant. In other words, “it’s no big deal, so you should be comfortable with being short”.
No great message for challenging heightism. But, it could have been much worse.
Boy, 13, commits suicide ‘after he was bullied for years for being small’
Johnathon Short-Scaff was found hanged in his bedroom last week
Just the day earlier, he had become upset when bullies at school told him to ‘go kill yourself’, his best friend said
His mom said he told the principal about the bullies but nothing changed
An investigation is now underway into his death
Family: The bullies reportedly targeted Johnathon, pictured with his mother and sisters, for being small
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.