The stereotypes short people must fight

Graphic courtesy of University of Waterloo.


I am 5 feet, 1 inch tall. For a 19 year old, that is pretty darn short. There are not many overwhelming inconveniences that come with my height. It is a bit difficult putting my luggage in the overhead carrier, and finding clothes that fit can be a struggle, but both of these can be easily fixed; I can ask for help to get my luggage up, and hemming pants is simple.

The only reason I am uber aware of my height is because the people around me make sure of it. I would hardly notice if it weren’t for society deciding to remind me as often as possible. If I had a quarter for every time someone has just out of the blue turned to me and said, “Wow. You are really short,” I would be a millionaire.

Let me give you an example.

In my acting class, we were instructed to stand on stage in the position we feel is the most powerful. I had no idea what that meant, so I went last. Thinking of photography, I stood slightly off center on stage. Rule of thirds, ya know?

By some miracle, my professor really enjoyed my placement. She gushed about me for a bit and proceeded to ask the class what they thought about it, and some jerk decided to raise his hand and say, “I don’t really think she could ever really be powerful on stage. She is too short.”

Needless to say, I was angry and offended. Blows like that hurt. It makes me self conscious about something I have no control over. It is instances like these that lower peoples’ self-esteem and self-confidence.

Society seems to automatically dismiss people of shorter stature. We’re seen as child-like and cute, sometimes even invisible, just based on the fact that we take up less space than others. Others often assume that short people are more passive and less able to lead.

However, these stereotypes are based on what the world has pegged us as without getting to know us individually. It has been proven that over a 30 year period, someone who is 6 feet tall will make almost $200,000 more than someone that is 5 feet, 3 inches.

This is where the issue of lowered self-esteem comes in. Salary at a job often goes hand in hand with how confidently you come off at work. If short people are being put down and patronized, how are they supposed to feel confident at what they are doing?

Self-confidence is fragile. The way you treat people can affect every aspect of their life — this doesn’t just go for people of below average height.


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