The Social Complex

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


Recent comments

  • February 23, 2014 11:16 am

    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..  

  • February 15, 2014 8:27 am

    Sex Positions For Tall Women... With Short Guys

  • February 8, 2014 6:19 pm

    23 Things Only Model-Tall Girls Can Relate To

    TSC: Oh, Good Lord.  Check out the first five points.  They’re not even about being tall.  They’re just shitting on short men. 

    (Also, height is not an accomplishment.  It’s not “impressive”.  Getting into Harvard is “impressive”.  Being a tall girl is just genetics.)

  • February 2, 2014 1:59 pm

    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.

  • February 1, 2014 2:21 pm

    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.)

  • February 1, 2014 1:57 am

    How I learnt to love short men - Telegraph

    TSC: Note to readers.  There is no such thing as a “short man syndrome”.  There are also parts of this article that are misleading, but at least it has good intentions. 

    It hasn’t been a good week for gentlemen of small stature. New research has shown that being short can increase feelings of inferiority and incompetence. Other findings show that shorter people earn less, and perhaps most significantly, it is thought that tall men have an easier time of it when they’re looking for love.

    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.

    (Read the rest at the Telegraph)

  • January 29, 2014 10:02 pm



    I thought you may be interested in this for your Social Complex blog:

    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 arent, 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”. 


  • January 15, 2014 7:17 pm

    Mens Health: Size Matters in Online Dating Is Your Height Hurting Your Love Life?

    (click on the Men’s Health logo to read the article)

    TSC: In an amazing display of nonsense and doubletalk, Men’s Health gives pointers to short men who are having trouble in online dating.  Just remember not to smile in your profile picture, but pose with a guitar because it will make you seem friendlier.  The only thing that was interesting in the entire article was the following statistic:

    Looks like size really does matter: Men who are 6’2’’ and up are 17 percent more likely to be contacted for a date than guys who are average height (5’8”), according to a survey from, an online dating site.

    What’s more, for fellas on the shorter side—those below 5’5’’—the odds of drawing interest from a prospective match dropped by 55 percent compared to the tall guys.

    TSC: That’s not a particular surprising statistic for those of us who are familiar with issues surrounding heightism (though I actually thought the difference would be greater).  However, it does provide further evidence to the fact that the social privilege which attaches to being tall is much weaker than the social stigma which attaches to short stature. 

  • January 12, 2014 8:39 pm

    7 Reasons Short Guys Are Great ...

    TSC:  Mildly insulting, but well intentioned. 

  • January 12, 2014 11:11 am

    Does anoyone know where this is from?


    TSC: So, apparently there is this video clip making its rounds on the internet which depicts a young man struggling with being bullied because of his height.  But, the video is not posted for sympathy… it’s posted for laughs.  Essentially, this video clip is being used to make fun of short men (via the increasingly popular slur, “manlets”) who speak out against heightism. 

    In this clip, a short boy appears to be paraded in front of his entire school during an assembly so that he can confront his bullies and others who have harassed him.  The results are quite sad….

    TSC:  And check out the comment section of this video. It’s mostly adults and young adults laughing at a child’s greif from being harrassed in school.

    This shows just how acceptable heightism is in our soceity.  There’s this notion that height bigotry is “not that bad” and that his pain is attributed to “being short” (as if simply being short generated negative emotions without the social stigma that comes with it).  There is also this popular perception that anxiety or grief caused by heightism is the same sorts of anxiety generated by more benign body issues like having a big nose or having acne.  It’s considered something that children should “get over”. 

    Such notions demonstrate that our society is a long ways away from acknowledging the true nature of heightism in terms of both depth and severity.

    Finally, does anyone know the source for this clip?  Can you imagine the outrage that would be generated if people were laughing at this kid on the internet because he broke down after admitting that he is harassed for being gay? 

    Why is this O.K.?