Being a short dude, heightism is a thing that I have become acquainted with. It seems to me that heightism is the one unchallenged prejudice remaining in our modern society. In fact, the word “heightism,” although coined in 1971 by Saul Feldman, an American sociologist, in his study The presentation of shortness in everyday life—height and heightism in American society: Toward a sociology of stature, does not exist in my copy of the Oxford Dictionary of Current English nor is it in MS Word’s onboard lexicon, so it’s underlined in red each time I write it. It is so pervasive that it has gone largely unnoticed and many people either have never heard of it or think it’s a joke.
Well, it is not a joke. Twitter and YouTube have an uncanny knack for drawing out people’s deepest idiocy. Check out the Exposing Heightism Twitter feed and you’ll see what I mean. They take the liberty of retweeting heightist tweets for all the world to see, and there are a shocking amount of them. Here’s a few that popped up in the last 24 hours (the embedded tweets weren’t working for some reason, so I cut and pasted them):
(@StephanieNoLess) Short guys make me so sad what a waste of sperm
(@RocksMyLocs) Short men are not men they’re children. GROW UP you childish assholes
(@iM_Neshun) Death to short men
(@Liberienne94) Short men are useless. Just breathing up precious air for nothing
Yikes. And that’s just a handful that I cherrypicked just now. The list goes on and on. It’s perhaps even more shocking when other men hate on short men.
(@Sammm_30) Fuck all short guys
(@_Njay3) If you a grown man shorter than 5’6 and u wear smaller than size 9 shoes.. Deactivate your life
What’s with all this hostility? It seems outrageous to think that someone could harbour so much hate towards someone for something they have no control over changing, and especially considering they had never done anything to them in the first place.
Hmm… It’s all very similar to that other form of prejudice that we have worked so hard to battle against throughout modern history. Try changing the word “short” in any of the above tweets to “black” or “fat” or “Jewish” and you’d be lynched. It would just be a matter of time until you were convicted of hate speech and swift justice meted out. How can such heinous hatred even exist today? It’s unfathomable that people could feel this way and even be so confident that these thoughts are acceptable that they put them on the internet for everyone to see.
Go to YouTube and peoples self righteous disposition emerges in other ways. Comments on this website exhibit some astounding levels of idiocy. While watching videos about heightism, I found comments from short guys complaining about how rough they have it, and I have also found comments from tall guys bragging about being tall. Things like “6’3” master race here! You short guys suck” and other obnoxious bullshit such as this can be found.
On one hand, I want to believe that the anonymity of the internet and the ability to hide behind a computer screen enable these retards to say things like this without filter. “Forgive them father, for they know not what they do”, as Jesus once said. But really, this stuff doesn’t come from out of nowhere. These thoughts and feelings are in there somewhere and social media just allows an easy pathway for these atrocious statements to become known. Heightism is real, and it lives in the hearts and minds of people everywhere.
This is perpetuated and accepted by the media and Hollywood. Short characters are often portrayed as being evil, scheming, uncouth, vindictive, perverted, dirty, and mean. In commercials we can often see short people portrayed in a negative light as well. Check out this compilation of heightist commercials.
It’s no secret that women prefer men to be taller than them in matters of romance, and it’s still considered taboo for a taller woman to date a shorter man. They offer no flexibility in their height preference either, and this makes dating extremely problematic. Online dating involves a penchant for masochism for us shorties as height is one of the first things that a woman will look at when she views your profile, and dating sites allow you to screen for a certain height preference.
There seems to be no solution to this dilemma. You might simply advise short dudes to go after shorter women, but I have often found that short chicks are often the most height obsessed out of anyone. Think of the 5’0” girl who demands that she won’t date anyone under 6’0” and won’t even give a short bro a slim chance. Such entitlement. This is not uncommon, especially in the online dating market where many women specifically state in their profile that only men of a certain height need apply.
But this is all old news. Science has verified it. According to science, tall men also make more money and are more likely to succeed in the workplace. I have managed to extricate myself from this circumstance by becoming a freelance writer. I work from home, and no one tells me what to do. I have no boss and deal with no office politics. But for most people who do not enjoy this lifestyle, heightism in the workplace is a real obstacle. Do employers consciously deny short applicants jobs and raises? I am not one to say, but science has the answer to that and it says yes.
So, apparently because I am short I’ll never find love, never be wealthy, and never be respected by my peers. Well, I may as well just kill myself and hope for a few more inches in the next life.
Seriously though, this is all ridiculous. I think the real problem is that short men, by and large, lack confidence. The reason they lack confidence is because all our lives we are made to believe that tall is good and right and beautiful and everything that we should aspire to be when growing up. No one ever wants to be short. Our hegemonic standards of beauty and masculinity dictate that we’re supposed to be tall and powerful, so the short men must therefore be weak and insignificant.
Short men are put down and bullied in school because they make easy targets, and being consistently bullied will take a toll on anyone’s self esteem. Hell, I admit I had rock bottom self esteem well into my twenties.
Because of women’s pervasive preference for tall men, short guys miss out in the love department, and this lands a second devastating blow to their self worth. It’s a one-two punch that results in either a meek and cowardly disposition, or overcompensation by being aggressive and angry. This overcompensation is euphemistically called “short man syndrome.” I hate this moniker. This so-called syndrome is really a product of the hostile environment our own social constructs create.
The way to overcome this is simply to be tough, and find confidence and happiness within you. I’ve endured all the bullshit, but when I look at the way I was in high school and college and compare it to the way I am now, I am a totally different person. I rose above it all. I experienced life, and love, and have grown in ways that are worth more than physical height. I have grown a thick skin and developed a strong sense of who I am, and where I’m going.
I read self-defeating posts by short guys on forums and shake my head. Short men of today are filled with self pity and loathing, some even to the point of being suicidal. My friends, this is no way to live. You get one shot at life, and we are the way we are. You may not be able to slam dunk a basketball, but so fucking what? You have other talents. For me, it’s writing. I may not be much of an athlete, but I like to think I’m pretty good at writing and take great pride in my abilities with it. I’m fine with the fact that I’ll never be a track star or a football player or whatever. We all have our roles to play.
And by the way, there are many pro athletes who are short. Mugsy Bogues is an NBA player standing 5’3”. Look him up.
All this talk about short men being inferior is complete bullshit. If you don’t believe me, here is a list of great short men of history. The list includes actors, artists, musicians, writers, politicians, and leaders both living and dead. (Short is defined as below average height in America, 5’9”)
- Winston Churchill (5’6”)
- Ludwig von Beethoven (5’4”)
- John Stewart (5’6”)
- Lawrence of Arabia (5’5”)
- Ghandi (5’4”)
- Martin Luther King (5’7”)
- Ringo Star (5’8”)
- Bruce Lee (5’6”)
- John Keats (5’1”)
- Norman Mailer (5’6”)
- Robert Downey Jr (5’8”)
- Ben Stiller (5’6”)
- Sammy Davis Jr (5’3”)
- Seth Green (5’3”)
- Daniel Radcliffe (5’5”)
- Woody Allen (5’6”)
- Jason Alexander (5’5”)
- Bob Dylan (5’6”)
- Michael J Fox (5’4”)
- Tom Cruise (5’7”)
- Napoleon Bonaparte (5’6”)
- Pablo Picaso (5’4”)
….just to name a few. I could go on, but you get the picture. It seems entirely apparent to me that short men are every bit as competent as tall men. I don’t know where the idea that short men are inferior and destined for failure and misery came from, but obviously it just isn’t true.
My grandfather was the same height as me (5’5”) and he fought in WW2. He flew in an RAF bomber squad and survived 90 missions. That’s pretty amazing considering the average lifespan in the bombers back then was 13 missions. After the war he married my grandmother and started a successful lumber business. His shortness never stopped him from fighting for his country, raising a family, and operating his own enterprise.
The troubling thing is that people don’t take the issue of heightism seriously. NOSSA, the National Organization of Short Statured Adults, a non-profit organization advocating against heightism, shut its doors in May 2013 due to a lack of support. Now, it’s all we can do to combat heightism by exposing it wherever it shows its ugly face and beating it down with intelligent discourse.
The world needs to get beyond this. Heightism is a form of body shaming and should be regarded as hate speech when people say things like the tweets I listed at the start of this post. Short men of the world, don’t give into the hype and don’t listen to these morons when they impose their own bigotry upon you. We are better than this.