Monday, July 16, 2012

A little known -ism.

I was going to call this post, An -ism you've probably never heard of, but I have mentioned it here.

It is also true that you look at and read other things besides this blog, and so it is possible that you learned about it somewhere else. It's helpful for me to remember that my readers aren't as fascinated with my blog as I am. You're not sitting in front of your computers frantically hitting refresh yelling, "WHEN IS MYBLACKFRIENDSAYS.COM GOING TO PUT UP ANOTHER POST??!!?!"

Well, maybe you are--but you shouldn't be.

Ok, on to the video. It is pretty self-explanatory, so just go ahead and watch it below. And resist the temptation to skip over it and keep reading, because it is a really good video that you should watch. And you know I wouldn't say that if it weren't true.



I originally saw this video on this blog. The first time I saw it, I almost started to cry. I share that with you not to influence your perception of my level of commitment to the cause, but in the hopes that since I shared my reaction, you might be more willing to share yours.


Just a couple more things. One, I think about the fact that if these tweeters were talking about almost any other group of people, there would be outrage. That is not to say that someone couldn't put together a video of a bunch of derogatory tweets about black people or gay people or intellectually disabled people or overweight people. But I think even if you did find a bunch of tweets like that, such a large portion of the tweets would not be related to said targeted group killing themselves or ceasing to exist.

On a related (and probably more important) note, if the average person was following a tweeter who said something racist or homophobic etc. they might be more taken aback/likely to say something than if you saw a tweet talking about how the tweeter doesn't like short guys. It's like, heightism is way more ingrained in our culture. I mean, I have a degree in this stuff and I had never even heard the word heightism before a couple of months ago. When I type it, my computer gives me the red squiggly line under it that tells me it is a word that it doesn't recognize. It doesn't do that when I type racism. Or homophobia.

Which leads me to my final point. The only reason that my computer recognizes the words racism and homophobia is because some people a long time ago that had to deal with racism and homophobia were like, "You know what? This is a bunch of bullmess. I'm tired of this and even more tired of being told that any problems I have to deal with because of this are my problems. These are your problems too, you racist/homophobic dumbass."

[I'm sorry for the salty language, but my people from a long time ago were really mad.]

Similarly, the only reason I heard this word and saw this video is because the guy who runs that blog decided to start a blog to tell people more about heightism. Once again , it all comes back to people taking action to try and help create the world they want to see. It really is that simple (and that hard.)

So, what was your reaction to the video? What do you think about heightism? How have you perpetuated it? Have you ever experienced it yourself? I'd love to hear your answers to these questions or anything else you might like to share in the comments section.




61 comments:

  1. although it started off by saying it was real, i thought, 'people don't really write stuff like this publicly. this can't be real.' and i waited for the punch line somewhere. anywhere. turns out there wasn't one.
    i'll admit to be naive sometimes, but i'm completely aware of homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and the fear/hatred/derogatory terms used when speaking of someone with special needs.
    but this actually shocks me. our culture has issues with men who are 'short.' because....i'm so lost. why do these people not like men who are short? one poster said it's a fact that they are abusers? what?
    i guess after watching it, and trying to wrap my head around it, i'm still just thoroughly confused as to what just happened there. but then, that probably shouldn't surprise me, you know, since i don't understand why we are so afraid of gays, blacks, and people with disabilities either. thanks for bringing light to this.
    andrea

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  2. Chunk Hotzumomo4:41 PM

    I was aware of it, but not as "heightism" per-say. We always called it "short-mans-sydrome," in regard to how short men may often be characterized as having something to prove --probably similar to the "angry-black-man" syndrome.

    In any case, is it necessary to name another "ism"? Can we instead just use the golden rule? If we do decide to name the ism, what if we miss another one? Is this a slippery slope that will one day end with an ism for everyone? I am not trying to minimize heightism, rather I am trying to extol the virtues of the golden rule. It seems to be a deeper level value than being anti-isms.

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    1. Anonymous3:37 AM

      Social issues still need to be individually realized before they can be dealt with. It is very necessary to name another "ism," since when it comes to heightism, most people are unaware of it.

      Delete
  3. Chunk Hotzumomo4:47 PM

    I mean, when I was first exposed to the concept of "short man's syndrome" in the past, I knew it was wrong, because I did not want anyone to attribute my actions to any physical characteristic of mine. I had no education on this particular ism, but was easily able to dismiss the idea because of the golden rule.

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    1. Anonymous12:36 PM

      Congratulations. You think about what you say before it offends others. But just YOU think you treat short people fairly, YOU think that heightism should be dismissed? Sounds like you live in a fantasy land where you are the king, because a lot of people, especially shown by the video, are complete assholes.

      Delete
  4. anonymous7:17 PM

    Ahh Twitter. It seem like yesterday you were the primary weapon of ideolistic young men and women fighting oppression in the middle east. Now you are the tool of grammar challenged women to strike out at short people. The balance is restored.

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  5. This is all Randy Newman's fault.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. This is horrible. I don't think that heightism was really on my radar before, but now it is, so thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    Why did the guy who made the Youtube video use such a weird computer voice for the voiceover? Does he not want to use his own voice?

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    1. Anonymous3:24 PM

      Because he doesn't have a microphone, and thought the 'weird' computer voice was clear enough to get the point across.

      Delete
  8. i wrote an entire rant - this tall woman got too emotional so i'll just say this: using the word "heightism" and then defining it solely as a prejudice against short men is short-sighted.

    i'd be willing to bet that many of those women were/are influenced by the prejudice against tall women or fat women or both. i'm not saying that makes it right; just that to have someone talk about "heightism" as if it is confined to short men is just the salt pouring on. ya know?

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    1. I hear what you're saying but I don't think that height deviation from gender norms or any measure of normality are mutually exclusive.

      When we discuss racism in America, speaking for myself I have to admit that the image of African American struggles and the civil rights movement come to mind. However, most of us are aware that racism can take many forms and while my own heritage doesn't trace back to Africa I have and will likely continue to be a victim of racism.

      Pointing out that people not only believe but suggest I should "kill myself" because I am short doesn't mean my demographic has exclusive rights to feelings of persecution. If your height has been a issue for you in your life than I would call that "heightism" without a moments hesitation.

      As one short man to one tall woman, as one person to another; I hope you accept my acknowledgement.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous3:41 AM

      Yes, heightism affects both men and women, but I highly disagree with your bet in terms of prejudice against tall women. We have tall women models. But I can see influence from prejudice against fat women.

      Delete
    3. 0972 etc. - i apologize if my emotions made me unclear. i never meant to suggest that because it happens to me as a tall woman that means it is less or doesn't count or is "okay" for anyone else.

      i only object to "heightism" being defined as exclusively against short people, men in particular is wrong.

      frankly i might even wonder if this is a gender-ism for both but regardless of what you call it; i apologize if i negated anyone else's experience.

      i might even say that in some of my younger/weaker moments i said things like "what would i do? put him in my pocket?" - it was a defense mechanism and i never ever said it to the male in question but nonetheless it was ingrained..

      @anonymous - that last paragraph of mine speaks directly to your doubt of my bet. i've had men tell me right to my face i was "too big" and i'm not fati've had women make fun of me. i've had women point out how big i was to men to woo them away from me. i've had men tell me they've gone with someone else because it didn't feel like i "needed" them because i was too strong in body and spirit. that's just the dating aspect. you know what happens when you're the tallest in a room? of either gender? people with something to prove target you.

      models "make up" for their height by being anorexically thin. also, they are on a screen, page, stage - if your argument held water then let me retort with - we have short male actors.

      back to 0972ac etc - thank you. and again i apologize for the seeming negation. and offer my own acknowledgement.

      Delete
  9. Anonymous9:07 PM

    I have seen this on twitter before. And blogs. And in the comments to articles. But the ones I see are usually about fat women, both because they are targeted relentlessly, and also because "sizeism" (there's another one for us) is one of my personal interests. I have been told and seen other women of size be told that we deserve to die, deserve to be raped, deserve to be cheated on, etc for the size or shape of our bodies.

    The internet has lost its power to surprise me with its awfulness. I am still pleasantly surprised by some of the wonderful things that come out of it though, and that's nice.

    Ashley

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  10. I think you must have spelled heightism wrong when you put it in Google -- my search returned 30 pages of entries and a list of 8 related searches.
    Related is the observation that CEO's, Senators and Presidents are above 6 feet on average.
    One observer said that it is related to sexism, shortness is considered feminine, tallness masculine. That makes sense, but at some height even women receive negative bias for being too short, and I don't mean those who have dwarfism.
    I notice that I tend to express dismissive attitudes toward short people, think of them as cute but not serious, feel uncomfortable talking to them, or feel more confident in what I am saying.

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  11. With the exception of Yao Ming and Jeremy Lin, most of my peeps are short. I can't say that I've ever perpetuated heightism or experienced it myself, despite being 5'3". Of course, it's different because I'm a woman.

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  12. I guess the most shocking thing about the video is the hatred. Maybe, this is indicative of the culture of our youth. My generation might have said "I don't date short men." These young women have taken it to a very scary extreme. Do they really feel this way, or do they have to use terms of hatred and violence to get attention? Certainly something to think about.

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  13. I am a nurse and have worked with a lot of MDs who were short and had pretty bad personalities. We said they had the "short man syndrome." Yes they feel they have to blast out to be heard maybe. I cannot believe folks would put something like that on a public place. I do not do twitter and maybe that is why.
    QMM

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    1. my two years in and out of a teaching hospital with an "interesting case" (read - saw every single doc in there) almost all doctors had "short man syndrome" . .. whether they were short or not. :)

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    2. Anonymous8:11 AM

      And so, any Tall doctor who was a jerk got a free pass right? No "Tall Man Syndrome" huh? I had a handful of black female cashiers at the local supermarket where I normally shop. Should I consider them to have "ABWS - Angry Black Woman Syndrome"? You know black women have to deal with the stereotype of having attitudes right? So I should walk through life asserting that this stereotype holds true?

      Delete
  14. This was truly shocking. I find tall men more attractive (my husband is 6'3"), but certainly don't hate short men and would never insult them. Some are handsome and have nice personalities.

    There is no denying if you have been around it that short man syndrome exists in some short men. My husband once worked for a short man who was typical of the type, hell on wheels every day. If he could have just gotten it through his head that people didn't care how tall he was, they hated him because he acted like an ass all the time.

    As a woman 4'11" tall, I have never been treated rudely because of it, but people feel free to comment on my lack of height. I've never felt uncomfortable about being short, but I am sometimes uncomfortable about being overweight. I think THAT is the last "acceptable" prejudice.

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    1. "If he could have just gotten it through his head that people didn't care how tall he was..."

      But people do care. People care pretty deeply about height (male height especially, it seems - see: gender norms). So much so that people make hiring decisions, dating decisions, and snap judgments based entirely on other people's height.

      Just look at some of the replies on this very post.

      Additionally, attacking people for their weight is not at all acceptable in our society. But attacking people or discriminating against them because of their height is totally acceptable. Additionally, weight can be changed and so it doesn't align with other immutable physical traits like race or gender.

      Take it from a guy who was overweight for nearly a decade and then managed to lose 70 pounds over the course of a year. I do understand there is weight bias. But (imho) it's nothing compared to heightism. Just as a small aside: I never had anyone say anything bad about my weight to my face when I was fat. I've had plenty of people say awful things about my height to my face though. Which prejudice is more acceptable?

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    2. Anonymous3:24 PM

      There is no such thing as "short man syndrome". Just because some short men have bad attitudes doesn't mean anything.

      Plenty of tall men have bad attitudes, and no label ever gets attached to them.

      Delete
  15. Anonymous12:42 PM

    My stepfather shaped my opinion of short people in a negative way.  He was always angry, enjoyed being a tyrant, and was in others ways despicable  He was shorter than everybody in the house and wanted to let us all know he was in charge.  So I decided i was not going to date or marry a short guy.

    In my profession, I had an opportunity to appoint a short guy to a leadership role.  I didn't.  I thought I might have problems with him wielding his power unfairly, or the people would not take him seriously enough to obey his orders.  I have thought about that occasionally and I realize I didn't give him a fair shake.

    I could see the hopeful look in his eyes as I interviewed him for the position.  He seemed to meet all the criteria, except that he was short.  I didn't think it would look right for a guy that was maybe 5' 1" to be leading a group of 40-50 young military men. 

    So I hired another guy and gave him a position that would put him at the front of the marching formation instead (flag bearer).  It gave him a bit of prestige, but not nearly as much as the position he wanted.  

    I figured I did a good and right thing.  But watching this video made me feel a lot of things:  surprise, disgust, sadness, guilt, empathy.  There are really some insensitive people in this world, and I wonder if I am guilty of being insensitive to the needs of someone not like me for no real reason other than I prejudged him.

    For people to suggest that they should kill themselves, or that they are worthless is insane!  They must have self-worth/esteem issues that bother them, so they mock someone else to make them feel superior.  Not a good look, people.  Maturity is in short supply on social media, obviously.

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    1. This is one of the worst things I've ever read, and that's saying something because I've been an anti-heightist activist for the better part of a decade. It's interesting that short men are regarded as a group, even though we don't see ourselves as a group.

      I have never heard a person who had a physically or sexually abusive tall father hold a bias against tall men. It seems that only the actions of individual men who happen to be short are attached to all short men. Tall men can be horrible people and their actions are only thought to be reflections on that individual person.

      And what you did goes beyond subconscious prejudice and into outright bigotry, imho. You purposely and knowingly rejected a person otherwise qualified for a job because of his height. You even rationalized heightism by saying that other people are heightist and therefore wouldn't respect him.

      While we know that this happens in real life often (look at the height/wage gap statistics - which are equal in magnitude to those of the gender/wage gap, by the way), seeing a first-person account of it makes me more emotional than usual.

      This is truly disgusting.

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    2. Anonymous3:52 PM

      This is one of the most frustrating aspects of heightism. When a person has a bad experience with a short man, they condemn all short men.

      When a person has a bad experience with a tall man, they condemn that one person. They don't condemn all tall men.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous3:51 AM

      I hope that you did learn to regret what you've done to the shorter man in that instance by making him a flag bearer. I appreciate you bringing it up though. It must be a bit hard.

      However, what you've done should be considered illegal, though whether or not it is depends on where you are.

      Part of being an adult is be able to admit mistakes and feel regret. Another part is to be able to let go of those mistakes and move on. I hope that will happen for you. But it is very important to notice how easy it was to rationalize what you did, when the reality is that if it wasn't heightism, but racism or sexism, it'd be a completely different story.

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  16. Anonymous12:45 PM

    Let me clarify paragraph 4 (above): I hired a tall guy for the leadership position the short guy wanted, and made the short guy the flag bearer.

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  17. This reminds me of an aunt who had a large formal wedding when I was little. She was apparently one of those people who thought all the attendants should be about the same height for the photos to look good enough. Two of her very best friends were assigned to the guest book table instead of being at the altar. One was short and fat, the other was strikingly beautiful, but very tall. My mother and I have often talked about how awful that was, how insulting to her friends.

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  18. What the hell is wrong with people?

    Seriously, though, kudos to Anonymous above for admitting what he(?) thought/did. We are all susceptible to "isms."

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  19. First of all, you crack me up with talking about refreshing the page waiting for a new post...you know we are!! ;)

    Second, I really shouldn't be surprised by anything in this crazy world we live in, but wow. So incredibly sad. You always post the most interesting things.

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  20. Anonymous9:52 PM

    The amount of HEIGHTISM in the response comments amaze me. Anyone wonder why "some" short men have "rotten personalities"? Not because they are that way inherintly, but bythe way they are treated. Look at all of the generalizations in these response comments:

    1. "I didn't give the position to the short guy, but the tall guy, even though the short guy met all of the qualifications". If this had been "I didn't give the black guy the position even though he met all of the qualifications, I gave it to the white guy instead because I didn't feel right having a Black guy lead 50 white men", the roof would be blown off of this dump.

    2. "I don't date short men because they are bitter and have rotten personalities". Can I say "I don't date dark skinned women because they have rotten personalities"?

    3. "I am usually dismissive toward shorter people and don't take them seriously".


    Heightism is the LAST accepted prejudice. The overweight have Weight Watchers, The Big Loser, Gyms and Personal Trainers on their side. Short MEN generally have no one.

    Short women get to evade heightism mostly because women are sought after by been for sex or companionship and shortness is seen as a feminine trait. Not the same thing.

    Shorter Men get compared to dictators like Napoleon who lived 200 years ago and was average height, and NEVER get compared to good short men like Martin Luther King Jr (5'6), Winston Churchill (5'7), Manny Pacquiao (5'6), Singer D'Angelo (5'6), Spike Lee (5'5), Michael Bloomberg (5'6).

    Taller men were also Dictators, MOST of them were tall. Fidel Castro (6'1), Saddam Hussein (6'3), Osama Bin Laden (6'5), Slobodan Milosevic (6'1), Joseph Kony (6'), but all of these guys get a free pass because they are tall.

    People are allowed to have their dating preferences, but since a THIRD OF MEN are below AVERAGE (which is 5'9 1/2) and MOST C.E.O's are 6' and up (which represents only 14% of men), that should indicate that there is a DEEP PREJUDICE against short men.

    WOMEN give birth to short men. They do not appear out of thin air. My parents are taller than me (5'10, 6ft respectively) and I still topped out at 5'7.

    Think about that................

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  21. Replies
    1. I'm sorry. What makes him sensitive? What part of his statement do you disagree with or believe to be false? Does challenging bigotry make one sensitive in all cases, or only certain cases?

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  22. Anonymous4:17 AM

    You would be "sensitive much" if people went in on your RACE as much and as often as they did a short person's height........ esp if people on the other side saw it socially acceptable to joke on your race, or not take you seriously because you are black (and there was a time when this was commonplace. and some people STILL won't take you seriously because you are black).

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    1. For starters, I am white. Furthermore, I am under five feet tall and overweight. I know I am judged, but I have never dwelt on it as much as you seem to.

      If I am ever not taken seriously, I change that in pretty short order. I know there is a belief that overweight people are lazy. I have always had the means to fix that. Every job I've ever had, I soon had the reputation of being the hardest worker, while some of the thinner, more fit people proved to be the lazy ones. They DID sometimes have to buy me a step stool, but found out it was a good investment.

      I never failed to find work, despite being short and overweight. No, it was when I was out of work as I approached age sixty that I just couldn't get anything.

      I apologize if you found my admittedly flip remark offensive. It just seemed that you felt you were extremely persecuted.

      It should have been obvious from my original remarks that I don't believe it is okay to insult people because of their appearance and don't do it myself. I also believe it is better to just know in your own mind who you are and not dwell on what idiots think.

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    2. I don't want to speak for "Anonymous", but I will say that you're missing the issue. The issue isn't "people are mean" or "insults are bad". The insults don't matter. The problem is the systemic and socially acceptable prejudice known as heightism.

      Your last statement implies that it would be O.K. if heightism were left intact but people were just more polite.

      Additionally, heightism is a prejudice which is based (in part) on gender norms and so a 5'0" tall woman will not experience anywhere near as much social stigma and bigotry as a 5'0" man.

      It's nice that you have managed to overcome instances where you have been initially judged by your physical appearance, but that too is irrelevant. Height bigotry or heightism or height discrimination is wrong in all of its forms. As a prejudice, we must focus on those who practice it and not those who are affected by it. In this way, heightism is like racism, sexism, and other types of discrimination which we have challenged throughout our history. The key to challenging racism is to focus on the individuals and institutions which perpetuate it. The same logic applies to heightism. Implying that a short person can prove height bigots wrong is unhelpful (and isn't that the genesis of the supposed "napoleon complex"? - a short man overachieving in order to "prove height bigots wrong"). That's a strategy which is doomed to fail and it does nothing to improve our society.

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  23. Since my comments are irrelevant and my way of dealing with prejudice does nothing to improve society, please, all continue to vie for the award for being the type of person most discriminated against. Either that, or just show some maturity and get over yourselves.

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    1. Anonymous9:09 PM

      Don't think anyone is looking for any "award" for being the most discriminated against. Discriminating sucks PERIOD. What this post was trying to do was bring to light a type of Discrimination that goes UNCHECKED and can have a real impact on a person's life. A type of prejudice that is inescapable and one where there is no "safe haven".

      A fat person can go to the gym, weight watchers, a counselor or to the many support groups the world over. A black person can associate with other blacks. Lots of short women REFUSE to date short men, and the few short support groups that exist don't hold much steam, so what is a short person supposed to do?

      Heightism DOES affect Taller Women, but in a different way. The wage gap between taller women and shorter women isn't as great as Taller men and shorter men. Taller women get to be seen as models, and even in dating, while men tend to prefer shorter women, there is nothing stopping Tall women from dating SHORT(ER) men, but they choose not to due to preferences and to avoid the social stigma of being with a shorter guy.

      This is completely different from the life of a shorter man.

      Watch this video clip on Short Men from 20/20

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LwRe6tyqY8

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    2. Anonymous10:04 PM

      This is how heightism gets ignored. People excuse their prejudice by blaming the recipients of that prejudice.

      "You think you're discriminated against because you're short? Get over yourself."

      "It's okay for me to have a shitty attitude towards short men, because I had a mean short manager once."

      "I shoved that short guy at the bar out of my way, and he got all pissed off at me. Why are short men so angry?"

      Delete
  24. Anonymous8:50 PM

    Paula, this was an article about heightism. You have your problems too and that's fine, that doesn't discount this one. If people had to just suck it up and ignore it because everyone has problems we'd still have segregated bathrooms and water fountains. No one is forcing you to be in on this discussion, if you don't like it you're free to leave any time.

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  25. Anonymous9:27 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing this video, and thank you Geoffrey for creating it.

    I'm a 5'7'', marginally attractive man and my life has been hell since I came of age, almost exclusively due to heightism. I won't bore anyone with details, but trust me... being a short man in this society puts you at an almost subhuman level as far as how others treat you.

    But there's an even better way to explain it. When I was younger I simply couldn't fathom how things like the Holocaust or slavery could ever have happened; I couldn't understand how entire societies of otherwise good people could have descended into such evil, inhumane behavior towards others. But then I matured, and started experiencing the heightism that would forever define my existence. And then, I could see how such horrors could have come about, through simple, everyday, acceptable prejudice that is never addressed or challenged.

    I'm getting older now, and I fear that I will never feel the satisfaction or joy that being alive should bring. I feel that I deserved better than this, than I am more capable and decent than the world gives me credit for, that the many opportunities that have slipped away were in fact stolen from me, and unfairly. I also believe I know why, and I fear that the prejudice will not be erased within my lifetime. One day, heightism will likely be a forgotten disgrace in the history books, but not in time for me to be rescued from it.

    In this way I feel a kinship with all those marginalized victims from the pages of history, who perhaps had the very same thoughts as they faced the harsh reality of prejudice in world that wasn't yet as good as it could be. Not by a longshot.

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    1. Anonymous9:33 PM

      Final words:

      And now I realize why this is such an important issue to fight for. Prejudice destroys entire generations, entire lifetimes. At the individual level, it is often better to just "go along with it" and try to get the best that you can get out of this life, however unfair your station in it appears to be.

      But prejudice is never defeated that way; it always falls upon the forsaken to give up what little ground they may already have in order to advance the good fight, so that future generations will be spared from the madness.

      It may be too late for me, for "us", but it isn't too late for those who will come after. It is still worth it to try and put an end to this devastating, shameful tragedy that is heightism. For god's sake, this needs to end.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous9:52 PM

      Final-final words:

      As for me, I'll try my best not to view myself in accordance with how the current world treats me, but instead how the better world of the future - without heightism - would treat me.

      I will remember that I am a good and worthwhile person, and that I deserve everything and anything that taller or more socially acceptable people deserve, all else being equal.

      I will maintain the highest spirit possible, not in reaction to this current world which despises me, but for the world of the future which will honor for us for staying true and persevering.

      And I will never forget that this better, future world free of heightism is NOT a fantasy, but something that can and will come to pass. It is NOT a dream, but a reality: that we WILL one day be judged not by the height of our bodies but by the content of our character.

      Perhaps it must get worse before it gets better. The prejudice against us is crippling and tragic, but it is more insidious and less overt than prejudices of earlier generations. Nevertheless, it significantly impacts the quality of life for the individuals it affects, and therefore it must be done away with.

      History has shown us that when a particular group of people is reduced to a sufficiently low level of social standing, then terrible things can and probably will start happening to that group. It sounds almost like a joke, but only until it starts happening. Let's not allow it to get to that point before change starts to happen.

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    3. Wow. A powerful testament indeed. I agree with you 100%. No form of bigotry was taken seriously until those affected by it stood up and challenged it.

      But, for the record, I did not create that video and I can't take credit for it. It was created by a different anti-heightism activist.

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    4. Anonymous10:17 PM

      Thanks Geoffrey. I wanted you to know that what you're doing is REALLY, REALLY brave and important to me, and probably countless others.

      If you ever get to feeling like your efforts are in vain, or that it would be better to give up, REMEMBER ME and my words, friend. You are fighting for the future, and in a very eloquent and honorable manner. If there were more people like you, willing and unafraid to stand up for what is right, then this world would be a much better place.

      This isn't some trivial matter that can brushed off for any longer. We can save lives here, both literally and figuratively. This is very, very important. Thank you.

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    5. Anonymous10:25 PM

      Again, thank you. I am just so very glad that there are people like you, and MyBlackFriend, out there to even recognize and acknowledge folks like me, or others who suffer from social prejudice. Both of you are very significant.

      Just think of all the tired, forsaken men ready to throw in the towel in the game of life, feeling that it is hopelessly and horribly rigged against them. Think of all the many men that DO give up, to slip away alone and forgotten, without ceremony or recognition at all, but tragic nonetheless.

      Think of how much of this could be avoided, how many could be saved by seemingly powerless discussion on internet message boards. It isn't powerless, because EVERYONE can find and read these words, from behind screens of anonymity and thus without the distortion of face-to-face prejudices.

      Perhaps the internet is the one method of communication that could deliver us from prejudice, for it removes those factors that cause it in the first place.

      We need people like you two, people courageous enough to speak against injustice whenever they recognize it.

      Lord, thank you both so much.

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    6. Anonymous10:35 PM

      10 years ago, you could say completely insulting things about gay people and nobody would call you out on it. Not so much today.

      Nothing is impossible.

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    7. Anonymous10:44 PM

      Very true.

      What needs to happen (and what has already happened for minorities and gays) is that any incidents of individual suicides or bullying caused by societal prejudice are treated as TRAGEDIES instead of just "oh that's how it is when you're *one of them*".

      A life thrown away due to prejudice is a TRAGEDY no matter what race, orientation, or height. It is no less a tragedy when a short man, pushed into a corner and marginalized in life (socially, sexually, and in career) commits suicide in the face of seemingly hopeless conditions.

      And studies have shown that short men, given the extent of the prejudice and limited opportunities they deal with, are at greater risk of suicide, mental health problems, and generally lowered quality of life (understatement). This is SCIENTIFICALLY ACCEPTED, and yet we, as a group, are still treated as no more than a joke; our problems trivialized, or worse, outright denied despite mountains of evidance.

      If we can get this anti-heightism movement the attention it deserves, then some of the more influential media personalities or organizations might finally step in and initiate campaigns in our favor. THEN we would see some real change.

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    8. Anonymous8:42 AM

      Agreed, Agreed, Agreed. There was that kid who committed suicide in NYC a month ago. He was targeted because of "diminuitive" size. Was teased with short jokes, beat up and the like.

      In every corporate job I've worked in, I've short(er), more competent men get passed over for a Taller, not-as-competent men.

      People sweep this stuff under the rug like it doesn't exist. Any ambitious short guy can tell you that it DOES, and it's NOT to play victim, but to wake people up to that reality.

      A lot of women love to bash short men, but I always wonder how they will deal with it when THEY give birth to a short son.

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    9. Anonymous10:45 AM

      I agree BIG TIME with your observations of shorter men in the corporate world. I've seen the same things and suffered the same unfair treatment and it is honestly the worst part about heightism in my adult life (attracting women has always been hard, but less so than gaining respect and career mobility).

      I'm highly educated, intelligent, and capable, and yet every time I go in for an interview it is impossible to overlook the hard truth: career success in the corporate world seems to depend primarily on height and physical attractiveness. All else is negotiable. It's simply devastating to walk my short, relatively unattractive self into a nice establishment only to feel like i'm back in high school again, surrounded only by tall, good looking guys and very attractive, petite young women.

      Tall and attractive people cruise through life on easy mode, god help us short/ugly folks when they actually feel like TRYING. Between the heightism/lookism that I face, and the current state of the economy, it's looking like I may not be able to jump-start my adult life any time soon.

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    10. Anonymous1:00 PM

      The way around this is pull yourself together and try to start your own business. This is what I did. I got tired of seeing this in the corporate world in my 20s. I was twice as educated, competent as most of my peers and I watched taller guys get promoted over me. I've noticed that many local business owners tend to be on the shorter side. I wonder if this has anything to do with it.

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  26. Anonymous10:54 AM

    Thank you for inspiring such an incredible discussion. I was largely unaware of just how painful heightism is for people, and now I have a lot to think about. I was, however, taken aback reading a few dismissive comments about fat people. Being overweight is absolutely not okay socially, and the fact that in some cases weight can be changed (or "fixed") should not diminish the pain or complexity of sizeism. ALL isms need to be acknowledged and fought against; creating a competition between oppressed groups is not helpful. This is about the pain and suffering and mistreatment of human beings. I really appreciate being made more aware of heightism and how awful it can be.

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    1. For the record, I agree with this. We should not engage in a "who has it worse competition". Also, sizeism is also a social problem. I just meant to say that having been both very overweight and short, it seems like heightism is the more pervasive social ill. However, I am male and people tend to be much much harsher on females when it comes to weight. Just like people are much much harsher on males when it comes to height.

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    2. And yes, I see the irony in saying that we should not engage in competition; followed by a statement about which form of discrimination is worse. However, both of those points needed to be made.

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    3. Anonymous10:41 PM

      I think we've got enough anecdotal and scientific evidence to conclude that, although size-ism is a serious issue, heightism unfortunately is the worse prejudice.

      Ultimately it boils down to the fact that sexually, women are the choosers and men the chosen. Short height carries a huge penalty in the arena of sexual politics (for men), and sadly, sexual politics carry over into all other avenues of social existence. Also, size-ism has been recognized and addressed to some degree in our culture, while the plight of short men is still something that is almost totally disregarded or mocked.

      In other words, while overweight women are not percieved as the ideal, they still have more innate sexual currency than short men do (in general), by virtue of being women. And, since there is still somewhat of an unspoken code of chivalry in our culture, women are mostly protected from the kind of abuse that stems from physical inadequacies.

      Meanwhile, men are almost *expected* to endure such torment; the problem is that the "hazing" treatment that short men receive can often be WAY TOO SEVERE and usually won't lead to the kind of acceptance that others take for granted.

      Finally, such extreme, ongoing "hazing" is often perpetuated by other, more attractive/taller men with the goal of appearing to be more dominant in the eyes of women. As we short men are already so disadvantaged in the dating arena, taller guys know that they can use us as quick social step-stools whenever they need a boost with the ladies... just perform one or two easy character assassinations on the closest, easiest target and you're likely to trigger some sort of dominance-attraction centers in your female companions, regardless of how primitive it all is.

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  27. Geoffrey Arnold5:04 AM

    We shouldn't frame heightism in terms of dating or "sexual politics" because it makes the prejudice look trivial. We shouldn't focus on one symptom of the illness when we are dealing with attitudes, beliefs, cultural norms, and discrimatory behaviors which are so widespread. Heightism affects both men AND women in terms of employment opportunities and advancement, social perceptions, romantic opportunities, and familial dynamics. Heightism is no more a function of attraction as racism is a function of attraction, and so let's notreduce the prejudice into such a limiting category.

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  28. Anonymous9:57 AM

    Ahh... you're right Geoffrey, sorry about that. At times it is so tempting to rationalize away all the misery by use of evolutionary psychology, in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

    The truth is, Evo. Psych also tells us that women are biologically conditioned to respond to RESOURCES first and foremost, and that is the main problem that short men suffer when this is all put into practice. Heightist society reduces our ability to acquire resources (both social and financial), and therefore reduces our chances of attracting mates.

    I stand corrected. The root cause is the perception that short men/people are inferior, and thus less capable in every way associated with the acquisition of capital. For short men in particular, this becomes a vicious positive-feedback cycle as the penalties for low financial capital include low social status and minimal/non-existent sexual opportunities, which undermines their inner resolve and human capital, thereby further reducing social status and capability to gain resources.

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  29. Amazing post, great discussion thread! It's funny but as I was reading those twitter feeds, I kept looking for the girl who ditched me at the restaurant that I met from eHarmony since she was disgusted by short men...her being all of 5'6"...in heels.
    This post made me want to write about it myself, so thanks for putting this up! I never would have even thought to look the word up on YouTube.

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  30. This is interesting to me. It reminds me that no matter how awesome and perfect you think you are someone out there hates you for something you probably never even think about. People can be so foul.

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