#1 Posted by Ohgawd (18 posts) -

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.

#2 Posted by Ravenlight (8057 posts) -

I think 20/20 specials are doing more damage to society than height-based discrimination.

#3 Posted by matthias2437 (992 posts) -

Wow you really thought this through.

But no I do not believe it is even close to comparable with racism or sexism. Yes men that are small are looked down on (zing!) and people may do a double take if they see someone either very small or very tall but trying to compare it to racism, sexism, or homophobia is a little ridiculous.

#4 Posted by Mesoian (1618 posts) -

No. Though I am tired of people walking up to me and asking me if I play basketball because I'm tall.

#5 Posted by crusader8463 (14744 posts) -

In the spirit of all the idiotic comments in the thread you are copying from, I for one hate all tall people. Hopefully the constant public shaming of them will make them realize being born a certain way that's not considered "normal" will make them strive to not be that way.

#6 Posted by fRAWRst (244 posts) -

You realize kaos was trolling, right?

#7 Posted by TMThomsen (2072 posts) -

@Mesoian said:

No. Though I am tired of people walking up to me and asking me if I play basketball because I'm tall.

Yeah, fuck that.

#8 Posted by Ohgawd (18 posts) -

@fRAWRst said:

You realize kaos was trolling, right?

While that may be true, it inspired a serious question on my part.

#9 Posted by Brodehouse (10540 posts) -

I thought that said heightstim and suddenly I thought there was drugs to make you tall.  Future drugs.

#10 Posted by BirdkeeperDan (411 posts) -

I'm suprised saying the short man was very successful didn't have an impact, I'd need to some evidence to believe that. But I've heard this before being tall helps make a good first impression. While it may not be ideal in some peoples mind physical appearance is still important and always will be. I want a thread on Uglyism next.

I'm relatively tall but the odd thing is that people always overestimate my height, so double advantage for me.

#11 Posted by Brodehouse (10540 posts) -

I'm gonna get loaded up on heightstim and watch some uglysims tonight in the mirrorshades cyberfuture.

#12 Posted by eroticfishcake (7856 posts) -

@TMThomsen said:

@Mesoian said:

No. Though I am tired of people walking up to me and asking me if I play basketball because I'm tall.

Yeah, fuck that.

"How's the weather up there?! HUEHUEHUEHUEHUE"

#13 Edited by Metzo_Paino (350 posts) -

I was always tall, but my growth spurt years have left scars along my back where my skin wasn't growing as quick as the rest of me. The Hidden Scars Of A Tall Person: The Autobiography.

I can see the how the tallness factor could be an advantage for tall people and a disadvantage for short people on first impression, but I believe a with a decent human being it should quickly not matter except in cases of extreme tallness/shortness.

Also, fun fact of the day: Napoleon is short by our standards today, but at the time was of average height.

#14 Posted by LikeaMetaphor (54 posts) -

Growing up as a short kid, height was correlated with age, so I was often mistaken for being far younger than what I was. Even today, I am asked for identification when other, more taller male friends (who are frequently younger than myself) often are not.

It's interesting, but it certainly doesn't bother me. Just means I get to be a constant surprise to people!

#15 Posted by NMC2008 (1248 posts) -

I'm 5'8' and I don't want to be any taller or shorter, I am the perfect height as 5'5 - 5'9' are the perfect heights for humans. Does this make me a heightist or a helghast?

#16 Posted by Oldirtybearon (5211 posts) -

I'm about 6'2" myself. Never had the problem you speak of in the OP, but I've seen it before most definitely.

Little guys tend to be more aggressive because they have to fight twice as hard to get half the respect. That shit sounds super familiar, doesn't it?

Discrimination against short men exists because they are seen as weaker and less fit than their taller brethren. Keep it mind it's not a conscious prejudice. It exists on a biological level. It's nature's way of protecting a woman's womb from shitty genes. That's why women won't date short guys, well, most won't. It's biology saying "Hey listen up, that dude has shit genes and your offspring don't need no shit genes, go for Alexander Skaarsgaard over there." It's less a conscious decision and more of a woman's body telling her to save her precious womb-space for someone with better genes. Or bluntly, more worthy.

P.S. 5'10" is average height for men.

#17 Posted by BigChickenDinner (787 posts) -
#18 Posted by pyromagnestir (4384 posts) -

Once, they wouldn't let me on a roller coaster because they said I wasn't tall enough. The bigoted assholes.

#19 Posted by Metzo_Paino (350 posts) -

Wow, this dude Robert Wadlow was 8'9!

#20 Posted by clumsyninja1 (848 posts) -

I always thought 5' 10'' was average not short, and this comes from being 6' 2''...

#21 Posted by Silvergun (298 posts) -

I'm 6'8 and victimized by having to order my shirts out of a magazine!

On the plus side, I can win arguments with the 'I'm bigger than you!' clause.

#22 Posted by haffy (681 posts) -
This guy deals with it.
#23 Posted by DonutFever (3824 posts) -

How tall were the tallest men?

#24 Posted by Oldirtybearon (5211 posts) -

@Silvergun said:

I'm 6'8 and victimized by having to order my shirts out of a magazine!

On the plus side, I can win arguments with the 'I'm bigger than you!' clause.

I read that as "plus size."

Just though you should know.

#25 Posted by fix8ed (27 posts) -

@Mesoian: Respond the way I do, "No, are you a jockey?" when asked that.

#26 Edited by Kill (339 posts) -

5'4". I've been pretty lucky with girls so far in my life. Height is only an issue if you or others make it an issue.

Still, it would be nice to be able to keep walking pace with someone of 'normal' or tall height!

#27 Posted by RIDEBIRD (1252 posts) -

I just know that I would like never have gotten laid if I wasn't 6'4" (190), simply because I am a bit overweight that thanks to my height spreads quite nicely along my body (I look very big, some girls like that I guess), and also that every single woman I have ever kissed/fucked/dated said that my height was the prime factor to initial attraction. Also, my looks in general are kinda average and my height makes me get away with that a lot.

Short guys have to try a lot harder, I think :( But I think it's just biological and sort of impossible to avoid. I'd say "heightism" is just general evolution and can't be avoided, and that it's an international thing. Human nature and such. Also, yes, napoleon thing - I have been jumped on by super short dudes several times because I think they tried to prove something.

#28 Posted by Hunter5024 (6376 posts) -

Being really tall ain't so great either. I can barely fit in most cars because my legs are so long. Who wants a couple of my height inches?

#29 Posted by Superkenon (1559 posts) -

Men are only as tall as they are DEADLY.

#30 Posted by TMThomsen (2072 posts) -

@eroticfishcake said:

@TMThomsen said:

@Mesoian said:

No. Though I am tired of people walking up to me and asking me if I play basketball because I'm tall.

Yeah, fuck that.

"How's the weather up there?! HUEHUEHUEHUEHUE"

I've also been told countless times that I should apply for the royal life gaurds ("Livgarden" in Danish) since they have some sort of height requirement.

Sure looks like a fun job.
#31 Posted by RockinKemosabe (644 posts) -

I'm 5'7 and I got teased time to time for being short because my high school class was averaging probably close to six feet. But I don't get picked on much because I can grow a bad ass beard.

#32 Posted by S0ndor (2718 posts) -

I feel like I must first congratulate you on writing such an eloquent post.

Now, while it can definitely be a problem for some people, I'm sure, I have never really observed it in my personal environment. I know many short men, and many of them have girlfriends. Granted, they are never the most beautiful women, but quite a few of them are real lookers none the less. Then again, I live in The Netherlands, so I can't speak to the way short men are treated in the US.

#33 Edited by CaLe (4254 posts) -

Baldism is where the real problem lies.

Baldism > Heightism > Fatism > Racism

Small, fat, asian, and bald?

He doesn't give up.

#34 Posted by flindip (547 posts) -

This thread is the greatest troll thread in history of humanity.

#35 Posted by CharlesAlanRatliff (5711 posts) -

@NMC2008 said:

Does this make me a heightist or a helghast?

It depends. Do you look like this?:

#36 Posted by ElectricBoogaloo (487 posts) -

@Hunter5024: Yep. I'm 6"5 and pretty much any sort of travel is a bitch due to a lack of leg room. Plus, there's the whole no where selling shoes that fit and other clothes usually being fairly limited.

#37 Posted by Aetheldod (3914 posts) -

5´7 and fits me just fine :D

#38 Posted by s10129107 (1335 posts) -

A lot of short guys wanna fight me. I dont get it. Maybe theyre trying to prove themselves because i'm big. Its really silly because i'm super nice to everybody.

#39 Posted by mustachioeugene (545 posts) -

@Ravenlight said:

I think 20/20 specials are doing more damage to society than height-based discrimination.

#40 Posted by huntad (2079 posts) -

I'm short, but I hadn't had trouble finding ladies. I didn't settle for girls my height, and they weren't unattractive like that program would have you believe. In short, (pun intended) I don't really give a damn.

#41 Edited by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG (4313 posts) -


#42 Posted by Toxin066 (3385 posts) -

Surprised this didn't turn in to a manlet hate thread.

5'5 here. Hate being short. It's really a bummer. I don't think I'd wish being "short" on my worst enemy. No one's ever said anything to my face, but I'm pretty sure that being a good 4 inches shorter than average makes people uncomfortable. We have no support groups, so it's perfectly okay to discriminate. It's the kind of problem that's shuffled under the rug because it's not a lifestyle choice. We're a very silent minority. Women will always settle for a taller man. Businesses will always pay taller men more money, they will always be hired first.

Yeah, we short folk can succeed with women. But we're not their first choice. Yeah, we can go on to be financially successful. But the odds are far lower. It's an animalistic thing - the tallest is usually (and I hate this term) the "alpha". And since it's such a primal thing, it's deemed perfectly okay to discriminate.

6/10 troll, you got me to respond.

#43 Posted by MightyDuck (1620 posts) -

I got nothing but this...

Loading Video...

On topic, I'm about 5'9.

#44 Posted by MrKlorox (11142 posts) -

Less so than hairism.

#45 Posted by NMC2008 (1248 posts) -


My eyes look like that when i'm in the dark.

#46 Posted by NMC2008 (1248 posts) -

@s10129107 said:

A lot of short guys wanna fight me. I dont get it. Maybe theyre trying to prove themselves because i'm big. Its really silly because i'm super nice to everybody.

Do they approach you on a horse with a sword and a sense of plight? If so you might be a colossus.

#47 Posted by Joeybagad0nutz (1493 posts) -

I'm 5'10 and yet I still think I'm short even though at my job I'm closer to being one of the taller people than to the shorter people.

#48 Posted by Foxtrot0245 (323 posts) -

Why everything and everyone gotta be an "-ism" or "-ist?" Can't we just call people assholes and move on like we did in the old days?

#49 Edited by Im_a_Wizard (58 posts) -

Height and good looks give you a lot of charisma. It's just the way it is. I was made fun of for being short and various other things when I was a youngin'. Now I'm around 5'11, but I'm not sure if my ego/ self-esteem has healed.

#50 Posted by Brendan (8763 posts) -

The common theme I've seen is that most women aren't as attracted to any particular height, they just want their male partner to be taller than them, or at least as tall as them.