I’m a tiny guy; I was the shortest kid in my eighth grade class and I have hands and feet that resemble that of a Cabbage Patch Doll. I have learned that, like my most things, there are pros and cons that come with being on the smaller side. For pros, I can still fit into kids jeans, which are far cheaper than adult pants, so instead of spending all of my money on denim I can waste my money on things like soft serve ice cream makers. I can also more easily avoid getting my ass kicked because I’m small and helpless looking, which is great because I’ve definitely deserved to get my ass kicked on more than one occasion. And for cons, well it’s nearly impossible for me to find any professional attire in my size. Every suit I buy has to be dramatically taken in, and even after it’s been altered I generally still look like a 16 year old boy on his way to prom. The other major con: having my masculinity constantly invalidated because of my size and being treated like a kid just because I’m closer in height to one.
What I’ve found about being small is that there is a lot of stigma and misogyny surrounding height, especially internalized misogyny when it comes to men. It’s no big surprise that small men are seen as inferior to taller ones. Women rarely date men smaller than them and studies have shown that taller men actually make more money than their smaller counterparts. To be tall is to be commanding and authoritative while being small is indicative of being weak and juvenile. It’s the type of misogyny that hurts both men and women and yet it is perpetuated by both parties. Women dismiss short men, which results in short men developing Napoleonic complexes, and in turn, tall women are perceived to be as threatening to the masculinity of short men and undesirable as romantic partners. So everyone ends up pissy and self-conscious because of something as arbitrary as height, which is so stupid. I mean it’s not like we live in the Prehistoric Age where we need our men to be big and strong so they can fight off dinosaurs and bear sized rodents. Height is basically irrelevant now and yet we still make a big deal out of it.
Tiny women aren’t much luckier than short men. They are constantly infantilized and preyed upon by men who are desperate to have their masculinity reinforced. The issue is that some men will chase after smaller women simply because they have a preconceived notion that being short is synonymous with being submissive. Because they are not threatened by smaller women, they think they can be possessive of them and assert their dominance over them, which is some patriarchal bullshit. And if a short woman rejects the advances of one of these men, she’ll either be threatened with physical violence or have her womanhood dismissed and be called a “kid” or “baby”. It’s truly upsetting that there is just no winning when it comes to the height game. Women who are small are infantilized, patronized, and fetishized and taller women are fetishized and demonized. To an extent, the same thing happens to gay men. Short gay men are expected, almost required, to be more feminine and passive in their relationships, and taller men are presumed to be more masculine and “straight acting”. In simpler terms, short is synonymous with bottom and tall is synonymous with top, which only goes to show how deeply ingrained heterosexual norms are in LGBTQ+ culture.
While height may seem like something silly to get upset over, the reality is that it can be difficult to be on either end of the spectrum. For a while I convinced myself I was more infantile and juvenile than others because that is how I was treated, and I know others who have developed self esteem issues because of their size. The truth is that your height does not determine the size of your character. A four foot tall man deserves to be treated with same dignity and respect as a six foot seven woman, and neither should be made to feel inferior because of something as arbitrary as genetics. People are hard enough on themselves when it comes to their size, so we definitely don’t need any outsider fuckheads making things any more difficult for them. People should embrace their size, especially those who are on the far ends of the spectrum. We will always need short and tall people. We will need the short people to fit into the small places and get the stuff out of the scary parts of the cellar, and we will always need the tall people to get the chips out of arm’s reach so we can’t binge eat them.