Posts Tagged ‘short men’

Short Men Shortchanged

July 11, 2009

Females biologically programmed to prefer tall guys, documentary says

For a long time I was married to a short man.

This presented no logistical problem because I myself am not quite five feet tall.

My ex-husband was almost exactly the same height as Howard Goldberg, the Montreal-based writer/director of S&M: Short and Male, a film screening Thursday and Sunday at the Hot Docs Festival and set for broadcast on CTV on May 24.

When Howard Goldberg takes off his elevator shoes, which hike him an additional two inches, he’s 5-foot-3 1/2, he says.

My former husband claimed to be 5-foot-4.

In short, he and I were a perfect match – or would have been if we’d been, say, salt and pepper shakers.

But as human beings, our matching stature only fooled us into thinking we were made for each other.

Growing up, but not up enough, I was warned by my mother, herself not quite five feet tall and therefore in the know, that being short would be a problem. “Tall and pretty” were what was wanted, I was warned – tall being not only a preference but taking precedence.

For example, celeb chef Gordon Ramsay was asked recently which celebrity he’d want to cook for. Cameron Diaz, he replied. “She’s tall, she’s beautiful and she loves pink meat.”

Even with all her other attractions, including a fondness for flesh, tallness comes first.

But I was not destined to be tall, far from it, and therefore, I was advised, I would have to, er, lower my expectations.

Which brings me (and brought me) to the short man.

I always suspected it was even worse for a man to get the short end of the stick. And I was right, according to Goldberg. “It’s natural for a man to feel inadequate if he’s shorter than the woman. Or for the woman to feel as if she’s going out with a child if the man is shorter than she is.”

In his film, there’s a scene with a lineup of eligible men. Two women behind a one-way glass pick which man they’d like to date. It’s always the tall man with the most masculine features – even when he has only modest credentials and the short, nerdy-looking guy is said to be a pediatrician and an adventurer.

Goldberg, who says his wife is 1 1/2 inches shorter than he is (half-inches mean a lot to us short people), understands and forgives this penchant for tallness.

“It’s just a biological thing,” he says, “with origins in the evolutionary process.”

The filmmaker recalls, when he was dating, having to “end up being friends” with many women “because they were frank enough to tell me, straight up, `Look, you’re just too short, so don’t even go there.'”

It’s not just the dating scene that shortchanges short men.

“You reach a certain age, for me it was 47, you feel like you’ve been around, you know the ropes and you deserve some respect,” explains Goldberg, who is 50. “And you begin to notice that you’re not getting the respect you deserve …”

With both humour and gravity, the film makes it clear that height discrimination is pervasive and painful. Indeed, the prejudice against short men is so pervasive that even I was guilty of it.

I used to think my ex-husband’s way of being in the world, and therefore with me, was to a large extent shaped by his, well, shape.

But I was wrong in attributing some of his behaviour to a so-called Napoleon complex.

Goldberg says, according to a renowned psychologist he interviewed, “There’s no evidence a Napoleon complex exists, no evidence short men are disproportionately aggressive. Aggression is equal among all heights.”

We just notice it more when it’s coming from a short person, he says, just as we notice little dogs in the park yapping and pestering bigger dogs.

“There’s something incongruous about loud, aggressive behaviour coming from a short, compact package,” he says, “whereas you expect aggression and pushiness from a larger, more dominating person. When a shorter man, who does not in your subconscious equal dominant, begins to behave dominantly, it’s comical, memorable – and repulsive.”

Does that mean people are being unfair in attributing a Napoleon complex to French president Nicolas Sarkozy (like Napoleon, an estimated 5-foot-5)?

“They probably are,” he replies. “Sarkozy is feisty …” Goldberg stops himself mid-sentence.

“Feisty: that’s a terrible word. I just used a bad word. That’s a politically incorrect word in the circle of short male activists. Sarkozy is a fighter, how’s that? See, I myself have absorbed these stereotypes.”

Goldberg says making Short and Male has helped him reflect on and process what he’s been dealing with his whole life. He’s convinced that, in the end, height doesn’t matter. Because when two people are right for each other, both grow in love.

His evidence is a study correlating men’s height and libidinal stimulation in women’s brains. Although the women were instantly more attracted to taller men, when some of them later fell in love with shorter men and were shown pictures of their mates, the same stimulation was provoked.

“So love builds from complex intellectual and emotional attractions that can only develop over time, that have nothing to do with appearance. It’s just that, to allow those types of deep, meaningful connections to take place, we have to get over our hard-wired inclinations.”

As reported by

Judy Gerstel
TheStar.com
Living Reporter
Apr 21, 2008 04:30 AM

Real Celebrity Heights (or not so much)

December 17, 2008

Ever wonder how tall your favorite celebrities are? We’ll be publishing more of these from time to time.

Tom Cruise 5′ 7 ”

Robin Williams 5′ 7 ”

Dustin Hoffman 5 ‘ 6 ”

Al Pacino 5′ 5 1/2 ”

Seth Green 5 ‘ 4 ”

Dudley Moore 5 ‘ 2 1/2 ”

Danny DeVito 5 ‘ 0 ”

———————-

Drew Barrymore 5 ‘ 4 ”

Mena Suvari 5 ‘ 4 ”

Jodie Foster 5 ‘ 3 1/2 ”

Reese Witherspoon 5 ‘ 2 ”

Kristin Chenoweth 4 ‘ 11 ”

What Happened to America’s Height Advantage?

December 11, 2008

What happened to America’s height advantage?
Posted 7/15/2007 12:31 PM

By Matt Crenson, Associated Press
NEW YORK — America used to be the tallest country in the world.

From the days of the founding fathers right on through the industrial revolution and two world wars, Americans literally towered over other nations. In a land of boundless open spaces and limitless natural abundance, the young nation transformed its increasing wealth into human growth.

But just as it has in so many other arenas, America’s predominance in height has faded. Americans reached a height plateau after World War II, gradually falling behind the rest of the world as it continued growing taller.

By the time the baby boomers reached adulthood in the 1960s, most northern and western European countries had caught up with and surpassed the United States. Young adults in Japan and other prosperous Asian countries now stand nearly as tall as Americans do.

Even residents of the formerly communist East Germany are taller than Americans today. In Holland, the tallest country in the world, the typical man now measures 6 feet, a good two inches more than his average American counterpart.

Compare that to 1850, when the situation was reversed. Not just the Dutch but all the nations of western Europe stood 2½ inches shorter than their American brethren.

Does it really matter? Does being taller give the Dutch any advantage over say, the Chinese (men 5 feet, 4.9 inches; women 5 feet, 0.8 inches) or the Brazilians (men 5 feet, 6.5 inches; women 5 feet, 3 inches)?

Many economists would argue that it does matter, because height is correlated with numerous measures of a population’s well-being. Tall people are healthier, wealthier and live longer than short people. Some researchers have even suggested that tall people are more intelligent.

It’s not that being tall actually makes you smarter, richer or healthier. It’s that the same things that make you tall — a nutritious diet, good prenatal care and a healthy childhood — also benefit you in those other ways.

That makes height a good indicator for economists who are interested in measuring how well a nation provides for its citizens during their prime growing years. With one simple, easily collected statistic, economists can essentially measure how well a society prepares its children for life.

“This is the part of the society that usually eludes economists, because economists are usually thinking about income. And this is the part of the society that doesn’t earn an income,” said John Komlos, an economic historian at the University of Munich who was born in Hungary, grew up in Chicago, and has spent the last quarter century compiling data on the heights of nations.

Height tells you about a segment of the population that is invisible to traditional economic statistics. Children don’t have jobs or own houses. They don’t buy durable goods, or invest in the stock market. But obviously, investments in their well-being are critical to a nation’s economic future.

For several years now, Komlos and other researchers have been trying to figure out exactly why the United States fell behind. How could the wealthiest country in the world, during the most robust economic expansion in its history, simply stop growing?

“It’s absolutely fascinating,” said Eileen Crimmins, a demographer at the University of Southern California. “Maybe we’ve reached the point where we’re going to go backwards in height.”

Like many human traits, an individual’s height is determined by a mix of genes and environment. Some experts put the contribution of genes at 40%, some at 70%, some even higher. But they all agree that aside from African pygmies and a few similar exceptions, most populations have about the same genetic potential for height.

That leaves environment to determine the differences in height between populations around the world, specifically the environment children experience from the moment of conception through adolescence. Any deficiency along the way, from poor prenatal care to early childhood disease or malnutrition, can prevent a person from reaching his or her full genetic height potential.

“We know environment can affect heights by three, four, five inches,” said Richard H. Steckel, an Ohio State University economist who has also done research on height trends in the United States during the 19th century.

The earliest stages of life are the most important to the human growth machine; at age 2 there is already about a 70% correlation between a child’s height and his or her eventual adult stature.

All of this means a population’s average height is a very sensitive indicator of its most vulnerable members’ welfare.

Not surprisingly, rich countries tend to be taller simply because they have more resources to spend on feeding and caring for their children. But wealth doesn’t necessarily guarantee that a society will give its children what they need to thrive.

In the Czech Republic, per capita income is barely half of what it is in the United States. Even so, Czechs are taller than Americans. So are Belgians, who collect 84% as much income as Americans.

And those height differences translate into real benefits. A number of studies have shown that disease and malnutrition early in life — the same things that limit a person’s height — increase a person’s chances of developing heart disease and other life-shortening conditions later on. Though tall people are more likely to get cancer, they suffer less mortality overall than short people.

International statistics bear it out. Life expectancy in the Netherlands is 79.11 years; in Sweden it’s 80.63. America’s life expectancy of 78.00 years puts it in somewhat shorter company, just above Cyprus and a few notches below Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“Obviously America is not doing badly. It’s not at the level of developing nations,” Komlos said. “But it’s also not doing as well as it could.”

His latest research paper, published in the June issue of Social Science Quarterly, suggests the blame may lie with America’s poor diet and its expensive, inequitable health care system.

“American children might consume more meals prepared outside of the home, more fast food rich in fat, high in energy density and low in essential micronutrients,” wrote Komlos and co-author Benjamin E. Lauderdale of Princeton University. “Furthermore, the European welfare states provide a more comprehensive social safety net including universal health care coverage.”

In the United States, by comparison, an estimated 9 million children have no health insurance.

Komlos’ most recent data indicate a small uptick in the heights of white Americans born between 1975 and 1983, a suggestion that the gap may finally be closing. But there has been no similar increase among blacks, a suggestion that inequality may indeed play a significant role in the height gap.

In another recent paper, Komlos and Lauderdale also found height inequality between American urbanites and residents of suburbs and rural areas. In Kansas, for example, white males are about as tall as their European peers; it’s big cities like New York, where men are about 1.75 inches shorter than that, that drag America’s average down.

Now Komlos has started comparing the heights of children to determine at what age Americans begin falling behind their peers across the Atlantic. Not surprisingly, he sees a difference from birth, an observation that suggests prenatal care may be significant contributor factor to the height gap.

But it is unlikely that Komlos will ever find one simple factor to explain why Americans have fallen behind other rich countries in height. In all likelihood it is caused by a combination of things — a little bit health care, some diet, a sprinkling of economic inequality.

“In some ways it gets to the fundamentals of the American society, namely what is the ideology of the American society and what are the shortcomings of that ideology,” Komlos said. “I would argue that to take good care of its children is not part of that ideology.”

Whether that’s true is debatable; the height gap doesn’t measure how much Americans love their children. But at a minimum it does indicate — in raw feet and inches — whether the nation is giving its youngsters what they need to reach their full biological potential, or selling them short.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Natural Height? Stretch it out!

December 9, 2008

This video shows you simple exercises that will help you naturally increase your height by standing up straighter! Another safe and effective way to grow taller.

The Height of Success

December 5, 2008

By SCOTT STOSSEL
Published: November 5, 2006

SIZE MATTERS

How Height Affects the Health,

Happiness, and Success of Boys —

and the Men They Become.

By Stephen S. Hall.

388 pp. Houghton Mifflin. $26.

To the many indignities visited upon shorter than average males — lower incomes, disadvantage in mate selection, cut rates for their deposits at the local sperm bank, long odds of making the N.B.A. — has now been added this one: short people are stupider than tall people. That’s the finding of a recent study by two Princeton economists who conclude, painfully for those of us who are south of 5 feet 9 inches, that the reason taller people make more money is that they are smarter.

That finding was published too late to make it into Stephen Hall’s provocative book, but it’s in keeping with the litany of obstacles arrayed against short men that he documents in ”Size Matters.” Consider the very word ”stature.” Its primary definition refers to physical height, but it can also connote everything from presence and charisma to virtue and importance; on a metaphorical level, height and worthiness of esteem are linked in the human mind. ”Nobility of soul accompanies tallness of body,” wrote one 18th-century German physician, reflecting the conventional wisdom of the time. Repeated studies in the modern era have shown that people unconsciously ascribe positive qualities to the tall: in addition to being deemed more intelligent, tall people are automatically considered more likable, more dependable and more commanding. It seems that benefits accrue to the tall beginning almost from birth, and then keep accruing, leading to what is, generally speaking, a society where the tall lead and the short follow — an ”altocracy,” as Hall puts it. Only 3 of 43 American presidents — James Madison, Benjamin Harrison and Martin Van Buren — have been under 5 feet 7 inches, and it is well known that the taller of two presidential candidates usually wins the election.

The association of height with cultural desirability and even existential value has deep historical roots. The Roman historian Tacitus, writing in the first century A.D., associated height with both strength and moral virtue. Drawing on Tacitus and his successors, King Frederick William of Prussia became obsessed with recruiting — and breeding — an army of behemoths in the early 1700’s. His so-called Potsdam Giants regiment was led by a man reported to be over 7 feet tall, and included at least one mercenary well over 8 feet; none of the Giants were under 6 feet. (James Tanner, the dean of human growth studies, has observed that this was probably the tallest group of men assembled before the advent of professional basketball in America.) Other militaries emulated Frederick (taller soldiers had longer strides, could thrust their bayonets farther, and had an easier time reloading their long rifles) and Hall argues that it was at this point in history — when tall soldiers were more coveted than shorter ones — that the market (and moral) value of height first became institutionalized.

As a man of a mere 5 feet 5 and three-quarters inches himself, Hall is on something of a quest, seeking not just to understand the science and culture of stature but also to come to terms with what the cartoonist Garry Trudeau has called his ”inner shrimp” — that distinctive ”I’m smaller than the rest of the world so I hope I don’t get beaten up” outlook that is imprinted at an early age and never dispelled, no matter what our final adult heights. Mixing traditional science reporting with personal anecdote, Hall ranges widely across popular culture and the scientific literature to explore such issues as what the average height of a population can reveal about culture and society (Why are the Dutch so tall? And why are Americans becoming relatively shorter?), and how the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of human growth hormone as a ”treatment” for undersize children in 2003 changed the politics and science of height. Here’s an interesting philosophical question: If what matters psychologically is relative height, by treating short children with growth hormone, aren’t we creating a whole new class of undersize ”victims,” the untreated kids they surpass in height? Have we launched an arms race of avoiding shortness? If so, it’s not hard to understand why. As Hall puts it, height matters because ”it clearly has an impact on social perceptions, romantic interactions, workplace hierarchies and our self-perception long after we’ve stopped growing.”

Article continues here: NY Times

Height Matters, Wikipedia says so

December 4, 2008

According to Wikipedia, height makes a difference in determining a woman’s level of attractiveness in males.

Height

Female’s sexual attraction towards a male can be partly determined by the height of the man.[7] Women seem more receptive to an erect posture than men, though both prefer it as an element of beauty; this fact appears correlated to the preference for males who demonstrate confidence, physical strength, and a powerful bearing. This preference can be explained by evolutionary psychology as the fact that ancestral women who were attracted to tall, physically powerful men benefited from better protection and therefore gained evolutionary fitness.[8] Additionally, height in men is associated with status in many cultures, which is beneficial to women romantically involved with them. This preference was passed on genetically. As a corollary, short men are viewed as unattractive for both casual and intended long-term relationships. Studies of women’s personal ads support the existence of this preference; in one study of ads requesting height in a mate, 80 percent requested a height of 6 feet or taller. However, this percentage only was of ads specifying height in the first place, and therefore possibly self-selected and/or biased by a third factor such as female height.[8]

Recent research has found that women are statistically more likely to be attracted to men of average height when looking for long-term commitment, while the opposite is true when a short-term relationship is intended.[9] Cosmopolitan Magazine published an article stating that women are most attracted to men who are 1.1 times their own height. In addition, it was found that women have these different preferences for height depending on the phase of their menstrual cycle at the time. While women usually desire men that are at least the same height as themselves or taller, other factors also determine male attractiveness.[9] To read the entire Wiki on Attractiveness click here…