Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Won't somebody think of the little people?

Considering occasional complaints about the domination of high-income jobs and political jobs by males, perhaps it is worth looking at the income gap between two other groups: the tall and the short.

We've know about this for some time, in 1995 Jonathan Rauch wrote on life-long discrimination against the short:

Give 100 mothers photographs of two 19-month-old boys who resemble each other closely, except that one is made to look taller than the other. Then ask the mothers which boy is more competent and able. The mothers consistently pick the "taller" one....

A survey in 1980 found that more than half the chief executives of America's Fortune 500 companies stood six feet tall or more.... Other surveys suggest that about 90% of chief executives are of above-average height.

Another American study argued that heightism is very real and has a significant impact on incomes:

Data suggest that every additional inch in height is associated with a 1.8 to 2.2 percent increase in wages — or roughly $789 per inch, per year. Moreover, the tallest 25 percent of the population gets a 13 percent boost in median income compared with the shortest 25 percent.

In the US, taller presidential candidates usually win; They haven't had a president under 5'9 since William McKinley in 1900.

So it seems that short men are fucked, but not literally. Statistical analysis by the bloggers at OkCupid, an online dating site, found that taller men and short-average women both attract the most unsolicited contacts from other members. The most popular men were from around 6' to 6'5" while the most popular women were between 5' and 5'5". The OkCupid team note that men appear to be aware of this and many are probably exaggerating their height by as much as two inches.

With all this towering discrimination against the little fellas, where are the smallist campaigners demanding interventions to increase their wealth and power? It seems arbitrary that discrimination against race, religion, sex and sexuality is denounced and legislated against when it is ignored offhand against the short.


  1. "Towering Discrimination", Nice.

    I feel better already at 6ft 4in (with the usual exaggeration of course), now where are the hot babes?

  2. Very pleasant read, Shane. An unsusal topic...at least for me! Though looks do not matter in the long run, initial concerns are focused on looks to an extent.

    IMHO, in terms of relationships, while height is a relative concern from culure to culture( and everyone is taller or shorter than somebody!) generally tall guys prefer tall girls and tall girls look for tall guys; coversely short girls tend to be more comfortable with guys not towering over them and shorter guys may find very all girls intimidating! Many couples tend to prefer similar heights. In short, bar intellectual capabilities and social skills, no one is particularly better off or worse off than anyone else!

  3. Thanks Tahera! I was amused earlier today to see a TV documentary about an ancient Iron Age preserved corpse discovered in Ireland. The hair of the corpse was preserved too, and it appeared to have been wedged up on top of the head using some kind of primitive "gel"... possibly to make this man (who was only 5'2") appear taller. Even then tallness was associated with status! :D


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.