No not that size discussion. If you showed up looking for a discussion on THAT subject, please see this disclaimer. Whew, I feel better now…moving on.
According to Wikipedia, the average American male is 5’10”. Seriously? I am six inches under average. That’s right I am a guy that barely makes the American average for women at 5’4″. So I was wondering, does it really matter? There are your standard stereotypes of prejudice. You know the ones; they are race, religion, and sexual orientation. I call those the big three. However, human beings love to categorize and judge all kinds of things. If someone doesn’t “measure up” they are often ostracized in our society. Male height is one of those areas.
There are many studies that show that shorter men are at a disadvantage in romantic circles. In 2008, the news magazine show 20/20 did an interesting experiment. They put men in a line-up that ranged in height, but had one man in the 5′ to 5’3″ range for each line-up. In that experiment the women were told that the short men were uber-successful, or rich, or athletic. It did not make a bit of difference. On basis of appearance alone, the short men were snubbed heavily because of their height. In my own experience, my dating opportunities were limited in college. I was told numerous times, by women I was interested in, that they simply could not date someone that was shorter than they were. Even shorter women were very often looking for taller men. Cultural bias leans toward couples having the male be taller than the female. It was a painful lesson in prejudice that I did not recognize at the time. Does this cultural bias extend further than romantically though?
Unfortunately, for the shorter men, it does. In the workplace, height can be such a bias. Many studies have been done on this. Taller men are promoted more frequently, and they earn more than their shorter counterparts. In some studies this pay differential has been as much as over $700 per inch annually. In my experience with this, I can say that my main employer of many years did not directly discriminate me based on my height. At least I never felt like it. So on that I feel great. However, there was consistent evidence in my position that I was not taken very seriously in my role by my subordinates, and my customers. I almost always was the shortest manager in the restaurant I led. We all wore business professional attire, and with the exception of name-tags that identified us by color whether we were assistants or general managers, looked pretty much the same. I was a general manager who was in charge of the facility, however, at any time if an assistant manager was on duty (man or woman it didn’t matter) who was taller than I was, they would invariably be approached first by most customers. It didn’t matter that I was the one in charge. If I was working side by side with one of these people, they would be approached first in over 90 percent of the encounters. On my part, I did feel that I had to exert myself that much harder because I was shorter in stature. I frequently felt like my subordinates didn’t take me seriously because of the height difference. It was almost like I had to be overly forceful in getting my points across to them. Eventually that stress pushed me to the breaking point, and I lost the position.
Okay, so yeah I have personally seen how my height has caused some challenges. In doing some research for this post, I have read about other men having issues in love and at work. However, I would not trade my height for anything. You might ask why, given the anecdotal evidence above. Medical science has found a good deal of evidence to suggest the following for shorter human beings:
- They have increased longevity
- They have faster reaction times.
- They have stronger muscles in proportion to body weight.
- They have greater endurance.
- They are less likely to break bones in a fall.
- They have a reduced negative impact on the environment, water needs, and resource consumption.
So take that tall people. We the short of the world are heartier, built to be green, and can last longer than you can (Really? You are still thinking that after my disclaimer at the beginning?). Being smaller isn’t an issue for me, but the short-sighted views of others certainly are.
- In Relationships, Does Height Matter? (abcnews.go.com)
- Tall Order: Does Height Really Matter? (collegecandy.com)
- Are Taller People at Heightened Cancer Risk? (nlm.nih.gov)
- hating my height. (backtoherroots.com)