Saturday, February 20, 2010


I've read over and over again that tall people have an advantage on short people, not just physically, but in relationship and monitarily as well.

In articles such as the following:

They speak of how tall people earn more money, are more likely to get married and have children and overall more successful. But all the articles I've found, not just this one, only talk about the height advantage of men. Perhaps taller men do earn more money. Why? Does society trust a taller man more then his shorter colleague? Is he the alpha-male in the room due to his genetics alone? There have been studies that show taller men make more money per inch, on average. But I don't think it's necessarily because he is being paid for his height, even subconsciously. It's hard to deny that a tall person demands attention and commands a presence when they walk into the room. It's possible that, due to the effect of being looked at as a leader, they may take on the role and act like a leader. But this does not necessarily apply to women.

When women are expected to be petite and feminime, standing shoulder to shoulder with men can damage the chances of them thinking of you as a woman. Personally, I've found that being taller then the men I date has weeded out the insecure men, because it takes confidence to reach up and put your arm around your amazonian girlfriend. But I know many tall women who have preferences for men taller then themselves and, whatever their reasons for those preferences, they are in for a long search.

In Canada the average height for women is 5'3. I am 5'9, which is not extraordinarily tall, though obviously above-average. I have noticed I have a higher confidence then most women but I had never considered if this was an effect of being tall. I had assumed that having a parent who was proud of me and was free with compliments was the root. Do people have more success because they're confident? Or are they confident because they have more success?

I was reading another article, found here: The article itself, as well as many of the comments, mention the societal advantage of being tall, while actual tall people in the comment section mentioned the disadvantages.

I am proud of my height. It's a lovely genetic present passed down from my 5'10 mother and my 6'1 father. But I do think that some people assume being tall is merely a gift and that the downside doesn't exist.

Let me tell you, as a tall woman, it exists. My height is more in my torso, then my legs. But clothing orientated towards my height is only ever long in the legs while shirts are always that inch or 2 too short. Infact, it is not uncommon for me to buy a dress and wear it as a shirt instead. Before it was trendy, 8 years ago I was layering my cardigans and hoodies with extra long tank tops, not because I was ahead of the times, but because it was necessary with them being too short for my frame. Speaking of clothes, I don't suggest being a tall child either. Nothing says young and fun like dressing in the adult sections when you're 10 years old and really just want to wear a Sailormoon t-shirt.

I recall my sister and I being moved from the elementry lunch room to the jr high/high school lunch room in one school because our knees wouldn't go under the table like all the other grade 2 students. So, instead we were thrown in with kids our same height but twice our age.

As an avid Halloween lover, I was dismayed to find that by grade 4 I was being refused candy, told I was too old or straight out told I should be "ashamed" for trick-or-treating at my age, because they assumed I was a high school student. I stopped the next year, while my friends continued on trick-or-treating through out elementary school, because I was afraid of being denounced with accusations of being older then I said.

This isn't a contest between whether shorter people or taller people have it harder. I've seen the assumptions made of shorter people. I've known teachers who were mistaken and treated like students, due to their height or the lack there of. I've probably blocked my fair share of shorter people in movie theatres or concerts, unknowingly. I've gone shopping with my shorter friends and seen them get frustrated with sleeves that go well past their hands and pants that need to be hemmed or face being dragged through the mud.

Why I wrote this is to remind people that being tall has it's own disadvantages. Public transportation will never be comfortable. There will never be enough leg room, shoulder room and the head rest will always jut into the back of your neck. Beds will always be a little bit too short. Arm rests are not actually arm rests when your arm is 3 inches above them.

The world is built for average people and I am too wide and too tall to fit. Maybe I enjoy being able to grab items from the top shelf and to look down on people instead of up to them. Maybe the fact that I hold my head a little higher, because it is a little higher, lead to a higher self esteem. But I resent the idea that I won the genetic lottery by being taller and therefore have more societal advantages. Even basketball players need to practice and understand the sport, to succeed at it. Success is not determined by height but instead the combination of will, determination and honed talent. To say otherwise is to discount a person's abilities merely for their genetic presets.

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