This was inspired by the Is Fat Shaming A Problem in America? thread...
Now before anyone says anything, I'm 5'10 (178cm) so I'm not a "bitter short man". This is just an observation coming from a guy who perceives a strange quirk about society.
Anyway, I had seen a 20/20 special on how height is a very important factor for men in modern society. They lined up guys of various heights, one being very tall, the others being average, and one man being 5'0 in height. Then from behind a screen they had women select a partner based on first impressions from the appearances of the men. Most girls chose the tallest one or the second tallest one (who was a bit better looking), but when asked about whether they would date the 5'0 tall guy, most all would laugh and say "No! He's too short!", even the ugly women who made surprisingly high demands given their appearance. The conductor of the interview tried to see what would get the women to date the 5'0 guy, elevating his status first by saying he was a best-selling author, then even going so far as saying he was a millionaire, but nothing worked. Finally, when asked what it would take for one of them to choose to date the 5'0 guy out of the other men, the women said that the other guys would have to be psychotic or child molesters.
It really amazed me that people on live television would say that the other guys had to be the worst kind of criminals imaginable (a child toucher) in order to date a guy who happened to draw the short genes. I can't imagine anyone that who really disliked someone of a different race or even fat people would say the same thing on live television. Then you have twitter feeds of women trying to elevate their femininity by tweeting things like "short men should all be shot and burned alive", etc. It just shows how ingrained heightism is in our society, and probably a lot of other societies in general.
The heightism thing does not merely take place in the dating realm. A study showed that an inch of height is worth $789 a year in salary. In other words, the salary disparity between you and your coworker is roughly equivalent to your height difference in inches multiplied by $789. This means that the wage gap in height is greater than wage gaps based on race or gender. Another study correlated height with intelligence and tried to justify the pay difference on "taller people are just smarter", at least that's what the media said - the study actually said that those who reach their full potential height are typically smarter than those who don't reach their full potential height, which would happen to things like malnutrition, not that a taller person is automatically smarter than a shorter person.
I also read an article where in a WWI or WWII (I forget which) parade, troops below a certain height were told to take the day off and not join the parade of the taller soldiers because it would be less aesthetically appealing or something. Maybe I can find the link sometime later and post it in this thread.
But I have shorter male friends who have given me insight onto what life is like for shorter males compared to average height and tall males, and from what I gather from them as well as observations from my own perspective, they go through a ton of crap that other groups wouldn't really tolerate. It sucks too, because they even get pitted with something called "Short Man Syndrome" a.k.a. "Napoleon Complex".
I really don't understand how that term was coined. People act like SMS is something that short guys are born with, when if a shorter guy has to act more aggressive to get an ounce of respect, he seems to act that way because of social conditioning, because people throughout life typically treat him like less of a person than average height or taller people. Basically, Short Man Syndrome doesn't exist and is just a term that is used to demean shorter males. Yet it is used commonly as if it is a scientific fact that short guys all have a "complex".
Short men have a rather unique case in modern days - It's a case of the discriminators blaming the discriminated for their discrimination. Many act like a short guy is short due to his own fault and treat him with a lack of respect accordingly. I mean if one were to tell a homosexual that it's his fault for being discriminated against for being gay and "oh well that's life", that'd be ridiculous right? But when it comes to short dudes, it's like "Oh, you're short, deal with it. You should have been tall."
I see this height obsession as worse of a problem than "fat shaming" considering weight is something that is most often under the control of the person, and if a fat person is being discriminated against because of weight they can do something about it. Personally, I feel making fun of someone for factors outside their control (race, sexuality, height, etc) is total bullshit. Height is something that nobody has to work for, yet taller people are given this social privilege as if they've demonstrated some great feat stemming from their own personal ability, and short men are often treated as if they are personally to blame.
What is your perspective on the height issue in modern society?
P.S. And before anyone tries to say so, I'm not making a value judgment here and arguing that height discrimination is comparable in degree to racism, sexism, or homophobia. Just making an observation that heightism is very real and wondering why society values height so much.