I just saw your BBC interview. You did well. Too bad they didn't give you more time to speak. They gave that other guy more time than you.
I just read your article on height discrimination and it really hit home. I'm a 5'5" high school teacher who is amused when taller students try to intimidate me. I quickly put them in their place and gain their respect. Been doing it for 20 years without a problem after the initial "let's get this out of the way now." My students learn they cannot intimidate me and there is an understanding
But administrators have been another problem over the years. I had one principal who constantly tried to intimidate and bully me. I know it was because of my height by sublte the language he used. Eventually I resigned. To this day he still interferes with my career.
I have also been my state's coach of the year for cross country as well as taking a team to the state finals 6 out of 8 years. When I started coaching at a new school the AD made so many comments about my height that I decided to stop coaching at the end of the school year. I finally had a sit down with him (he is 6'6" and black) and told him I was fed up with his derogatory comments about my height and reminded him that if I said anything about his race I could and should be fired. His response was "I was just kidding, that's how I am. I was just trying to lighten the mood." It seems like all I can do is walk away from the problems. The principal at the time (who has retired since) said "well, that's our Willie." I still teach at that school and enjoy it. Fortunately a few years after that I started coaching at a different school which appreciates what I do. I often wonder why the administrators at the school where I teach haven't asked me why I coach at a different school, especially with my qualifications. You'd think they'd want a former coach of the year.
Your explanation for why other short men would get offended when I bring up heightism makes sense. I just thought that other people might take solace in knowing that they are not alone in facing discrimination. Regarding my professor, yes he most definitely revealed that he is a heightist yesterday. It was quite a shock to me, too, because he described himself as being very liberal and often talks about social justice so I did not think he would be a heightist.
In answer to your question, I am partially Scandinavian. I am also part Welsh, which is where I am told my short stature comes from. My Welsh great-grandfather was 5'3 and as a result my mother is at 5'0. My father is 5'10 and that mixture with my mom's height gave me an even 5'5. It's usually very awkward when I visit my half-siblings who all range between 5'10 and 6'4 (their mother was 5'10 also), and I usually get one of their friends asking me "What happened to you? Why are you so small when your siblings are normal sized?" when they see me :/
I attend a small private university called St. Olaf College. The first experience I had with heightism over here happened during a dance that took place in our dorm during my freshman year. The dance was very formal and everyone was required to dress their best, meaning most came in a tuxedo or a suit. Because our dorm had a ratio of 2 girls for every 1 guy and the coordinators of the dance wanted everyone to go, they placed a card in each of our mailboxes listing the names of both of the girls we were supposed to escort to the dance. I made myself look as well groomed as possible, as per the requirements and walked down to the dorm where my dates were supposed to greet me. Just as I get to the door I hear one of the girls saying to her roommate in a distressed voice "There's no way in hell I'm going with a guy that little, I'm staying in here. Just tell him I'm sick or something." I went back upstairs for a bit and almost didn't go but I decided to go back and knock on their door since the other girl didn't seem to have any objection. Anyway, the one girl who answered was dressed up and she lied and said her friend was sick and couldn't go. We then get in line in the main hallway behind the other pairs of dates (where I notice all the other guys have both girls at their arms) and progress down the hall as the dates were announced by a loudspeaker. After being announced each group would have their photo taken by a professional photographer, and as soon as the girl and I are announced she says that she doesn't want to have her picture taken because it would look awkward that we're the same height in the picture. Then as soon as we get on the dance floor she sees a guy that she apparently knew and ditched me. Not long after I saw her getting a picture taken with the other guy.
That was probably the most humiliating experience of heightism that I have faced at this school. But of course there are the regular quips about my height. One that particularly stung the other day was when I was in the gym on campus lifting weights and a guy casually says to me "trying to compensate, huh?" I mean, why can't a short guy go to the gym just to be healthy? Why must I be compensating for lack of height by trying to be fit? It's like I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't.
By the way, that 'Short and Male' documentary you took part in (while having some parts in it I didn't like such as the comedy routine with the guy insulting his own short stature) resonated with me quite well. In particular, the section about the Chinese man who won a lawsuit against the company that discriminated against him based on height. I was in Shanghai last year as part of my university's 'Term in China' program and I worked under the table as a host at a club for a few days. But they then decided that my stature was a problem and fired me on the spot, telling me quite plainly that my short stature gave a bad impression of the place to the customers. I couldn't sue or anything since I'm not a Chinese citizen, but it really woke me up in realizing that heightism is a serious problem.
I have just recently discovered your website and have so far listened to all of your podcasts. I am still working my way through all of the articles posted, but I think I will have all of them read soon.
I have tried to bring heightism awareness to others in my university, because I face discrimination due to my height on most days. Yet it does not seem like I get any positive reception or serious consideration by doing so. Other short men like myself get offended when I suggest that there is a heightism problem in society, and people who do not have short stature look at me like I'm an idiot for suggesting that heightism is morally abhorrent. My college campus is in Minnesota where much of the students have Scandinavian backgrounds, and as such the concentration of tall people is rather large.
As an example of heightism, today in my philosophy course we were on the subject of oppression. Our professor asked the question "What gives people power? How do we decide who is powerful or not?" Then he proceeded to give an example. "How is it that Kim Jong Il, and now his son, Kim Jong Un, both short, napoleonic, weasels of men...how are they able to command power from others?" A girl in the class shouted out "He has short man syndrome!" and then a lot of students started laughing. Then the girl looked over at me and said "Oh, no offense Erik!" which was followed by another round of laughter. I responded that I did not find any of it funny and since we were talking about oppression, discrimination and social justice, I asked why is it that whenever we talk about these subjects in modern society we always talk about sexism or racism but not heightism? And of course students got upset with me for trying to suggest heightist discrimination is a serious issue comparable with discrimination based on gender or race.
This is just one example of heightism that I faced. It feels absolutely awful, and it pains me to know that so many others face the same pain due to something that is not controllable. I sometimes feel like giving up in trying to defend myself over this issue because of how many people tell me it is all in my head, but your website really encourages me to keep fighting. After all, so many great men in history were told that they were crazy or couldn't do something or other, but they fought for what they believed in. The progress we have made in social justice would not have been made if people had just given up when supporters of the status quo told them to. I hope more people follow your example and join the fight in heightism awareness.
From Tom Samaras:
Enjoyed talking with you. I wish more people understood the dangers inherent in promoting taller and heavier bodies.
Incidentally, I have an article here that I just googled. The url is -
It appears that the deification of tall men continues. It seems that some Harvard researchers are claiming that Tall men have less chance of developing heart disease than short or shorter men. I was wondering what your opinion on this article is.
Very strange. I just sent this response to the site and they responded that they are no longer taking anymore comments. When I submitted it, there was no such statement.
Based on over 3 decades of research, I disagree with the findings in the study based on the following facts:
1. Many short, non-developed populations have little to no coronary heart disease (CHD) or stroke.
2. In all of Papua New Guinea (PNG), no CHD or stroke was found among its short population.
3. According to the U.S. Government's publication, Health, United States, 2001, the lowest mortality from CHD was found among Asians. Latinos and Native Americans were taller than Asians and had higher CHD. Blacks and Whites were the tallest ethnic groups and had the highest CHD mortality. This study involved over 8 million deaths.
4. Okinawans are shorter than mainland Japanese but have much lower CHD mortality.
5. Small dogs have much lower death rates from heart disease compared to big dogs.
For additional information, see www.humanbodysize.com
I just read your article and was satisfied to see some awareness, that my thoughts and feelings on height discrimination truly are an issue in our society.. I am personally 24 years old, and I am in great shape. I have modeled before (print work) Ive also been on a tv show. I consider myself a 9.5 out of 10 as far as looks go - definitely much better looking than the average woman. But there's an issue: (I am only 4'11). All of my girlfriends rank just as high on the looks department, but fortunately for them most of them are at least 5'6 and up. I am definitely the much shorter one of the crew. We go out in New York City and generally club promoters and venues would want us in their events. However, there is a particular club in the Meatpacking District of NYC called Provocateur, known for their super-model crowd. My friends frequent this place, and I have avoided even attempting to go "specifically" because of my height. Women who are 5'6 or so are considered short amongst the other club guests. Last night, me and 4 of my beautiful girlfriends went out to dinner at a restaurant in which we had dinner with the owner. Soon after, we had plans to head over to Provocateur, and the restaurant owner specifically said, she is beautiful and all but she's too short to get in. We tried anyway, I was dressed in a fancy Herve Ledger dress with my highest heels with which I'm still considered short in this tall NYC society, roughly about 5'3 with them on. My girlfriend even personally knew the girl at the door, and she went inside to privately speak to her, and the girl said that I was too short for this place regardless of appearance. Everyone on line was at least 5'8. I cannot describe how it made me feel. I was able to rationalize that i cannot take this personally because it is absolutely absurd, but how can I help it.. I woke up this morning unable to get over the fact that I was discriminated against last night, yet there is no way to defend myself or point fingers with some sort of back up. I would certainly greatly appreciate any other information or opinions on my personal experience regarding my height. Thanks so much for your article as well as the information provided in it.
I just wanted you to know that I've read over some of your materials on your page claiming to advocate short men. I am thoroughly disgusted. Not because you have misrepresented short men in any fashion, but that you are attempting to represent them in any fashion to begin with. Natural Selection is a crucial part of evolution and the betterment f the human race. To give short men the impression they are of equal worth as other human beings is simply laughable and worse detrimental to the progression of the human condition. One fine day medical science will find a method to eradicate the short gene or at the very least a viable procedure or treatment to ensure all men grow to well over 6'0" as they properly should be. On that day humanity can rejoice that all children born will achieve a respectable stature. Hopefully society will come to it's good sense to deal with the remaining short men dispassionately and swiftly by rounding them up into camps and exterminating them. We can only hope. And before your label me a heightist hate mongering person know that I am a man who stands 5'5". I merely am a man of science, knowledge and truth. If the day I have illustrated does come to fruition in my lifetime I would gladly give my worthless life for the betterment of the human race and condition. As any person who is truly selfless would do.
Please stop your foolish crusade, no one cares about the plight of short men. Nor should they. What a laughable notion.
As a 5'4" actor, I'm used to people not seeing me at auditions, in both the literal and the figurative sense. I know it's definitely colored my career, even stalled it. Some of that can be chalked up to the nature of the business with so many people destined to not succeed because of the numbers alone. But, I've witnessed enough to know that heightism is as pervasive in that industry as any other. I can only speak from experience as a stage actor, but I know from auditioning for film and tv work that, even if you are considered for roles (and from my experience of just watching tv and movies), you're either in the deep background, or relegated to some extremely minor bit and/or comic figure that's either the butt of jokes, or to be pitied or feared for some reason (ala Jackie Earle Haley, the child molester in "Little Children").
I've gotten enough decent work that I know that I'm a decent actor aside from my own self-affirmation, but it's definitely rare for me to be even called back for a role. Or, when I am, to ever be considered for the same types of roles mentioned above - comic buffoon alongside a taller actor who's smarter/more powerful, etc., pathetic character, or "the messenger" role in any number of Shakespearean or period plays. Hey, you're short, so you don't experience life in the same way as us normal people, and your life isn't as valid or interesting because you're so short. Can't tell you how many times I've played the messenger. Usually called "Balthasar" - I think I've listed that as the last 5 roles on my resume. That's the only reasoning I can figure out on that one. Your life can't be representative of a romantic lead, or somebody who could be seen as even moderately interesting. That's the only reasoning I can figure out on that one. I do occasionally get a villain role in Shakespeare, but those are the fun ones anyhow. But usually, if it's moderately interesting or larger than a handful of lines, it's not something that goes to a short guy.
This guy obviously thinks that everyone in the world, especially women think short men are so inferior that they have to compensate for their height. Yes, there is a major bias against short men but he said that every time you see a short man with a good looking woman he has money. This is simply not true.
Webmaster's note: Please refer to KTN video on short men. (Videos page)
Joe - I felt privileged to be part of your 11/27/09 broadcast. Solidarity is important, and I'm very impressed by what you're doing, and enthusiastic about the direction your efforts are taking lately.
Hello, I'm a 23 years old, 5'4" French man old. So please don't blame me about my English.
Five years ago, I was a shit; bad at school, I found myself ugly and though I don't deserve to live. I react myself, nobody help me
Today, I'm in an engineering school.
I've been searching deep inside my personal story to find why I was feeling so bad . . .
And guess what, if I fixed a lot of problem with my parents, I could not lie anymore: I feel bad because I'm short, because the society make me feel bad about my height.
And as you said, it's an horrible problem.
You cannot defend yourself: "oh, is so sensitive".
It's not a problem: "You just have a lack of confidence"
And at last, you can't be agressive, you will be blame for that!
The unconsciouce discrimination is the perfect expression, the one I was searching to explain my problem. Now I know, that if a part of the problem is inside me, another part (the biggest one?) is outside of me . . . Thanks for your essays, now I know that I'm not alone, and I understand that the best thing I can do is to respect myself.
Women is a big issue: It's so hard to be rejected, or just feel that she look at you with contempt, because you're not tall enought to be "a real man"! I think it's not tomorrow that women will change their judgement . . .
I wold like to join you, what can I do to help you?
Now that you mention it, those Nossa videos are scary. If that weirdo is the president of an organization I'd be worried. That guy appears to have some heavy duty problems. It makes me wonder just who would join that club. Did you notice that at the end of one or two of the videos the camere lens winds up being pointed at his groin?
Webmaster's note: Here are links to the videos, that is, they used to be links. Tricky little Matthew S. Campisi has now removed all of them from Youtube. The little snake is now in hiding.
Learn to Drive
Joe man, that Nossa guy is real sinister. As soon as I saw those videos I thought man, this guys' a joke. I wonder who they've got joining them. They're like a fringe group with few members it seems. Their forums are private, you can't see what people are posting. They must be hiding something. You're right.
Hello I'm in grade 8 and im doing a public speech on 'height discrimination' i was just wondering if you happened to have any tips for me. if so you can just reply this email, and if not than thanks anyways, and i LOVE your intro to your essay, i may steal a few ideas and quotes from you
thanks a bunch,
So enjoy your informative website. As a female 4' 6", I can relate to smart assed remarks, stares, jeers, what have you! Well, I am in the corporate world and in this world I most definitely am respected and am not short "so to speak". And I do agree whole-heartedly with you on each and every subject. ALL SHORT PEOPLE MUST BAND TOGETHER AND FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS.
Yes, you can be black, white, eleven feet tall, weigh 600 lbs. and you get by BUT.....just be below average and watch out brother, you are really in for it.
We are not handicapped just because we are below average. Other than reach the high shelf at the supermarket I can do anything that anybody else can do AND SO CAN YOU.
We all, as shorter than average have to really fight and speak up LOUDER than our taller people out there.
To be heard and to be respected.
It seems that the shorter statured society are gaining some ground in many ways, however there probably, unfortunately will always be that element who will look down on the shorter society as not as good as they are.
Well, all you tall folks out there, there are many people in the business, entertainment world out there who have been quite short and believe me they make a statement and nothing has stood in their way.
I deem it a luxury to go out in public and shop in peace as my taller friends do. No, I am a "celebrity" so to speak with stares, points, etc. And now I SPEAK UP AND SPEAK OUT to them all (mostly little children, brats) as I call them.
Which brings me to the parents who do not coach their kids to keep their damn little mouths shut when they spot someone who does not fit into the normal range of their view.
As I said before, you can be 17 feet tall, have one eye and ten hands, but if you are short, baby you are gonna pay.
LET US ALL BAND TOGETHER AND STICK UP FOR OUR RIGHTS, IN EACH AND EVERY SITUATION THAT SEEMS TO STAND IN OUR WAY.
Just read your essay
It is bang on I deal with so much bullshit in my life, I just wish there was something I could do about my height. I assume you have checked out all those hormone drugs as well? I doubt they work which is probably the sad reality... We should all get together and start a riot for out rights , I mean the blacks and gays did it, why can't we?
A pissed off short man
What annoys me is, if we tell anyone about height discrimination, it is dismissed as, all in our heads, trivial, frivolous, insignificant, nonexistent etc. People say: get over it, just deal with it, buck up, etc. Heightism is not taken seriously. Numerous examples of succesful short people are given, but these same people would never blow off racism or sexism, by giving examples of successful blacks, hispanics,etc. Heightism is given short shrift.
I read your article on height discrimination It is excellent and there are very good points in there. The Dos and Don’ts are very good to! hank you for the article.
All the best to you and in whatever you do
I was very impressed with your insights about being short. It’s a tall world out there and we have to live in it. I realized reading your essay that I have surrounded my self with other short people. I don’t think it was a conscious effort either. Then on the other hand I have also had extremely tall friends and have avoided averaged sized people. A strange world we live in huh. I’m sure that being a short man is not always easy. I am a 5’” red haired, left handed, woman. If someone could say it THEY HAVE. You are right we do have to fight for our rights and get left-handed can openers!
Wow!.. my name is amanda.. im 15 and i read ur page.. i love it.. i mean i kno how it is im a person with short statrue.. I have a question .. Can u sue a company for discrimanation because you dont look your age?.. my friends are the same age (maybe a month or two older) and they can get a job.. but when i go there they say "O you have to be 16".. but i think that they believe im like 12 or somthing... but i dont know.. and how can you prove that your being discrimanted for your hight? you cant... i understand everything you said.. and i agree with you.. i've been to the doctor about my hight.. some said i was fine.. and some said that i just have underactive throid hormone..im about 4'7''... i never thought about people calling me "midget,dwaft,little person" ect.. discrimating untill i read ur page!... most people tell me that "is cute" about how tall i am.. but i dont know..well i just want to say thanks for openin my eyes and now i understand more!... Hey by the way I have heard something about people with short staure get disablity like $200 a month or something like that do you know anything about that? well im going to get going, thanxks again! bye!
I agree with you on height issue for men. I'm 46 y/o 5'3", I am intelligent and a lot of women have told me I am very handsome. But those same women refuse to go out on a date. I have heard women say behind my back that's my looks are "such a waste" because I'm a short man. The biggest problem is in the workplace. I have had managers use my work ethics as an example to other employees, yet my pay rate was much lower than even newly hired employees in a lesser position. Your article, in my opinion is accurate and truly reflects society's feelings on height discrimination. Thank you for bringing this issue out in the open.
I'm a man, 5' 3/4" tall. Yes, I've been discriminated against in my lifetime. However, I had the opportunity to talk at length to someone who was 6'9", and the discrimination he suffered was eerily similar to what I suffered. We were both taunted, ridiculed, ostracised, threatened in grade school. We were both ignored when it came to dating. We discussed what it was like growing up, and we concluded that it wasn't because I was too short, or he was too tall. No. It was because we were both different than the perceived "norm." What is the perceived norm? Look at the media. Children are taught to discriminate based on what they see and hear. You are not likely to see that many short people depicted on television. There is discrimination in in the entertainment industry that prevents even the most talented short men from "making it" in Hollywood. Also discriminated against are obese people, elderly people, people with disabilities, and in case you haven't noticed, there aren't that many shows with diversity of race. So, what have we got here? It's the SAME prejudice in all cases. The groups that I've mentioned are all discriminated against, not because they were too short, to tall, too old, too fat, etc, but because they are "different" than the perceived "norm." If the process of discrimination can be better understood, there should be a way to intervene to stop it, and to teach young people how to prevent it. Only then will we be free of it. Haven't you noticed that when one group gains power and discrimation stops against them, another crops up? Odd, isn't it?
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