What’s So Great About Being Tall?

In PC circles, no one would breathe a detrimental word about race
or creed. But bring around a short male, and tongues slip. If a
petite guy throws a typical male temper tantrum, the tall men all
mutter about his ‘Napoleon complex.’ White women who brag about
dating non-white men play the ‘let’s just be friends’ card if a
guy’s short. This syndrome, of course, extends to the general
female populace: As one post to the
alt.support.short newsgroup notes, a recent poll
showed 93 percent of women told their dating service to screen out
prospects under 5’6′.

Meanwhile, many tall men (and their girlfriends/wives) seem to
believe their tallness to be reflective of excess virility, and
find unending occasion to remark on it. In
alt.support.tall, one 6’0′ giant whines about
using a port-o-potty (which he assumes was designed by
‘tiny-tiny-short people!’), ‘I’ll never attempt to use one of those
things again!’ I feel your pain, Mister.

Height feuds might seem trivial, but America’s cult of tallness
is creating some ugly fallout. Technology watchdogs like Andrew
Kimbrell of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Technology
Assessment warn of the increasing use of genetically engineered
human growth hormones. Once prescribed only for dwarfs and children
lacking natural growth hormones, doctors — encouraged by hormone
makers and anxious parents — are handing out hormones to thousands
of children who simply lack tall genes. ‘It’s pathologizing
shortness,’ says Kimbrell, ‘and it increases the existing prejudice
against short people.’

If anything, we should encourage shortness, charges Thomas
Samaras, author of The Truth About Your Height
(Tecolote, $24.95). As the US population continues its average inch
up per generation, the extra resource consumption and carbon
dioxide created will ensure America’s spot as primo world resource
hog. We should rethink our ‘tall is beautiful’ culture, he suggests
in New Age Journal (May/June 1995), and begin to
celebrate shortness.

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