Is Height The New Weight?

Lately we’ve been talking a lot about height. Ali has written two pieces in the last few days, about how to amplify your height (if you’re on the shorter side) and the height issues that can come up in relationships. We also posted part of an essay from a woman about being tall and how it impacts her dating life. Many of your comments on these posts had to do with your own insecurities about your height, whether you’re “tall” or “short.” Meanwhile, Meryl Streep, who plays Julia Child in the upcoming film “Julie and Julia,” says about the famous chef’s 6’2 height, “I mean, it’s like having club foot … it was a handicap of sorts, certainly in the world where she was born.” Over at Double X, guest blogger Arianne Cohen, who wrote a whole book about being tall, called The Tall Book: A Celebration of Life From On High, writes that Child’s height was not a handicap and that many of the messages society sends about tall women are negative — that they’re manly and unattractive (think of “Saturday Night Live”‘s Janet Reno impression) — and that there are few tall female role models. Tall celebrities like Blake Lively and Brooke Shields seem uncomfortable about their height, which Shields saying part of the reason she waited to have sex until she was 22 was because she felt uncomfortable in her 5’10 frame, while Likely says she feels like a “tranny a lot of the time.” All of this talk about height, from celebrities to authors to commenters in the blogosphere has got me wondering: is height the new weight?

The fact that Cohen was able to pen an entire book about being a tall woman bugs my friend Lindsay, who is 6’1. She says, “Seriously, it makes me feel dumb for not writing it myself, but then if I had written it, I’d feel like a loser. I don’t think tall women like to sit around and talk about being tall.”

I’ve always been a bit envious of Lindsay’s height. I’m 5’6, which I know is not short, but I have this ridiculous fantasy about a modeling scout approaching me on the street and saying I could be the next Claudia Schiffer and that my current height is the only thing standing in the way. I don’t actually want to be a model, but Lindsay’s height is beautiful to me. Of her own height, Lindsay says, “I liked it when I see tall models, but if I had a choice, I would be 5’9, so I could wear all the shoes that I love. If I wear them now, I feel like a tranny. And tall women often hunch, which sucks.”

Height, unlike weight, truly is something that is almost impossible to control. Shorter women can add height by wearing high heels, but tall women can’t do much to appear shorter, save having their legs sawed, which is barbaric. I find it sort of absurd that there is a whole book written on the subject of being tall and that anyone — even the divine Meryl Streep — would ever consider being tall a handicap. Have you noticed other women obsessing about their height or expressing insecurity about how tall they are? Is height the new weight?

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