Friday, April 15, 2011

Height Bigotry?

It's a fact that women generally prefer to date men taller than them. This blog post goes so far as to call this a form of bigotry, which I suppose it could be--after all, height is a natural part of a person that they cannot control, like race, and if an office manager told the HR team to "only hire people over 6 feet" for any job that doesn't involve stocking high shelves, we'd call that bigotry. Is a woman who says she can only date men taller than her any different than a woman who says she'll only date a man with lighter skin than her, or someone with less Asian ancestry than her? This gets us into a sticky area--first, is bigotry really defined more by whether the trait being discriminated against is one that can be changed? For example, height can't be really changed, but someone could gain or lose weight--and surely, preferring large or petite women doesn't make one a bigot, does it? On the other side of the coin, while no one would defend bigotry on the basis of religion at the workplace (e.g., not hiring Muslims at your business), we tend to tolerate that in dating (e.g., only dating someone who shares your religious values), and religion is something that can be changed at any time. I suppose the bigotry is really best measured by whether the discrimination can be rationalized--that is, arguably a person's religion can make a difference when you are considering a long term mate, but their race shouldn't matter. So where does height fit in?


  1. I think in any other area this may be bigotry, but it comes to dating I don't. Basically, bigotry or discrimination would be anything that does not affect your "performance" (in whatever measure you want to use for it) but you are discriminated against because of it. When it comes to height (or race, or eye color, or hair color or amount of hair in your head or whatever) in dating, it is all a function of what the other person is attracted to. Plain and simple, if you are not attracted to someone with certain physical characteristics, then the "dating performance" probably will not be too high, uniquely because of the lack of attraction. People are attracted to what they are attracted, period, and not choosing what you are not attracted to is not bigotry, it is just preferring to be with someone you are attracted to.

  2. It all comes down to biology Brando... we are attracted to the person that is most likely to let us breed. Period. Where the "dating" part comes in is the pheromone and cognitive factor. When you "date" people, you have already been attracted to them biologically, ie-you see them as fit to mate with. Dating allows you to see who makes your pheromones exude in full force, and that usually happens with like to like cognitively.

    If a woman doesn't get wet in the pants by a short guy, she's not going to be as successful breeding with him.

    Also, this is why men are attracted to women with a high waist to hip ratio because this means they are more fertile.

    The other office crap you're talking about is just what happens when you put an ape in suit and try to ask them to ignore their animal nature.

  3. Titania and Freckle Face--I agree with your points, that ultimately it comes down to an inborn nature. However, understanding what accounts for these preferences--skin color, height, body shape--could also shed light on where prejudices come from that affect the non-dating scenario. Height is often associated with strength, which may account for the advantages the tall have even in office environments, and perhaps women's attractiveness towards strength explains why they (often) prefer taller men. Conversely, could the fact that men tend to be taller than women have an effect on the wage gap? I think there's a lot to explore here.