I spend a lot of time wishing that I was not black or a woman or ugly, but the one thing I think about most is not being short. I’m 5’0.5” or if you count my hair 5’1” – I think that shortness is one of the most debilitating social deformities a person can have (Well, with the exception of being hunchbacked, or strikingly asymmetric.) The trouble with shortness is that few people recognize or care about the trauma that years and years of teasing can cause. It’s also hard to make the case that someone has treated you unfairly due to height, in fact, it’s hard to even know why you were treated unfairly, let alone put together enough of a case to defend yourself.

Where did the bias against short people come from? Cross-cultural research has found that it is nearly universal. While some cultures do not place as much emphasis on height nearly all favor taller people for positions of leadership, marriage, friendship, and social advancement or promotion.

Social Darwinism might suggest that shorter people have had poor reproductive rates—this is true in the extreme, it is also true that people who are extremely tall may have other health complications. It would seem, then, that the preferred height would be average ( in the USA that’d be 5’4.5” for women, 5’8” for men.) Instead according to 9 out of 10 women I questioned in the deli at lunch today the ideal man is 6’0”—the mannequins in banana republic of women are 5’10”

I would love to be 5’10” for just one day. In fact, if I could be 5’10” for just one day I think I could lie down after that and be happy and die.

oh to be tall
To walk down the street and be able to see where I was going. To be able to see my face in the mirror in the women’s room without standing on tip toe. To look good in pants. To have “high-waters” To be able to look men in the eye (there are men as short as me but I hardly ever see them.) To have long legs. To put on high heels and, in fact, be high. To be treated like an adult. To be carded less often. To have my feet reach the floor when I sit in a chair. To feel like I belong.