Take it away Randy Newman
This song pissed some people off when it first came out. They didn’t understand that Randy Newman was commenting on how ridiculous our prejudices are. It’s not like short people are actually discriminated against. Right?
Here is a link to a study that finds that tall people not only earn more on average than short people, but it also claims that tall people are smarter. (Short End)
Apparently, for every inch gained in height a person earns an average of 2% more.
Here is a link to a study that claims that tall people are happier on average. (Why Tall People Are Happier Than Short People)
It seems even nature has it out for short people. This study finds that short people are at an increased risk for heart attacks. (Short People 50% higher risk of heart attacks)
And here is another one that once again says taller people earn more, and also get more respect. (Workplace Rewards Tall People)
I found another source that reported the #1 complaints of short men and women. For women, it was a lack of respect in the workplace. For men, it was difficulty finding a romantic partner.
So what am I getting at? I’m not the shortest person in the world, but I’m certainly not the tallest. On a good day I’m 5′ 6″ and most of these studies consider short to be 5′ 3″ or less. That being said, I still deal with being short, or at least shorter than the average 5’9″ male. So here are some thoughts and observations I have regarding short people.
The first thing I’d like to address is the issue of the Napoleon Complex. This basically says that short men try to compensate for their inadequacy by being overly aggressive. Little Man’s Disease applies to the same concept. So when a short guy gets all red in the face you can chalk it up as some deep seeded insecurity about his stature. Like the Native American belief that inside a corn kernel is a tiny man who gets super pissed when you heat him up until he eventually explodes (I heard this once a long time ago, so I can’t verify that Indians actually believed this).
Anyway, what this implies is that if a short person (especially a man) were to express frustration at being short and discriminated against, he would not be taken seriously. Even now, as I’m writing this, I’m thinking, will people draw the conclusion from all this that I’m simply insecure about my height and therefore cannot be taken seriously? Hmm.
The truth is, I’m usually perfectly content with my stature. It’s not something I think about often. But, when my shortness is called out by someone, or when I have to accept that I’m not tall enough to accomplish a task that a taller person could, I do have to deal with insecurities.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that some women seem especially insensitive to how a man views his own stature. For instance, when a woman comments on how she is attracted to a tall man (the classic tall dark and handsome type) it’s the gender equivalent of a man telling a woman with small breasts that he prefers a woman with large breasts. In my own experience I’ve dealt with many unintentional slights.
With the findings from these studies and my own experience I want to give a voice to my vertically challenged brethren. Victims of discrimination on all fronts, yet afraid to speak out and be labeled a little Napoleon. Caught in a cultural Catch-22.