In days gone by, the media has portrayed height as an attractive quality in a woman. Bond girls are always leggy. In the movies, taller woman are portrayed as powerful and intimidating in a sexy way – Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man, Angelina Jolie in everything – whilst the more petite actresses tend to play cute and silly roles. Natalie Portman was cast as the playful, unstable, needy but a bit adorable waif in Closer, and although she was portrayed as sexy in a cute way, it was the statuesque Julia Roberts who took the opposing dominating, self-sufficient temptress role. In the fashion world, catwalk models are required to be between 5’8 and 6ft, with rare exceptions. This may be because height makes for a better clothes horse, but the message is still the same – tall is attractive.
Apparently Hollywood now digitally stretches actresses, to give them more length (sorry boys, Margot Robbie’s legs in Wolf of Wall Street are not actually that long). So is it any wonder we mini mortals don heels for a night out. We have learnt that height is sexier and although in reality men and women find all sorts of shapes and sizes attractive, the media has taught me and my kind that there is something inherently less sexy about being squat.
I am not that small, so I am not writing from Elfin Camp here, but I am the upper end of ‘short’ – coming in at a fairly spherical 5’3 my perceived shortness tends to be in the eye of the beholder. I definitely do look miniature when stood amongst my 5’8 friends and I was always sat at the front for class photos, but I still qualify for most rides at Disneyland so it can’t be that extreme.
Although I have been called short-ass at school, I have to bring the chair right up to the steering wheel to drive, and people literally look down on me; being my height has never troubled me. Except so say that I do feel less sexy than most of my taller friends and I do find people somehow take you less seriously when you are little. I look a bit like the cat from Shrek when I wear knee-high boots, which sort of says it all.
This said, in recent years petite icons – Kylie, Eve Longoria, Hayden Panetteier, Kim Kardashian – have made short (and curvy) sexy, so it sort of feels okay to walk around the petite section proudly now, instead of shopping at 8pm for fear of the tall section mocking us and our undersized phalanges, as they lounge about gracefully in maxi dresses. As well as this, I have always looked on the bright side of being short and I think I enjoy it, because it really does have its own compensations and sometimes it’s awesome.
What do you love about your height?
20 Reasons Why We Love Being Short
1. People just assume we are cute, and when we put our hair in bunches they are putty in our tiny hands.
2. We tend to look younger. Smallness is associated with youth, so it isn’t uncommon for us to still get given the crayons in Pizza Hut. Score!
3. We can curl up in train seats, aeroplane chairs, boxes . Leg room? Not. A. Problem.
4. Finding a seat. I am a great person to catch a train with because I wangle a seat every time, even in rush hour. We just queue politely, look small, then nip between the gaps like a terrier and be the first to a window, table, plug socket seat FACING FORWARDS.
5. Tall men are easy to find, even if it does strain our necks. For some women, we prefer our partners to be taller than us – it makes us feel feminine, protected and, well, cute. Obviously the shorter a lady you are, the greater the selection of taller-than-you men. Sorry not sorry, tall girls.
6. We get sent to the front of gigs. There is this random short-person etiquette at shows that doesn’t exist anywhere else. “Excuuuuse me, make a gap, short-ass coming through”, and the next thing you know you’re crowd surfing your way towards The Lumineers. Hey-ho!
7. Our limbs are a party trick. Yes we can’t reach the cocktails but look at our teeny hands! And who wants to be the first to pack me into an Ikea bag?
8. Kids clothes. Topshop’s petite section is left sweating in its over-priced knitwear when we head over to New Look and discover that we can buy the same clothes in kid’s sizes. For HALF THE PRICE.
9. CHEAP SHOES. If you are short and your feet are in proportion then you should be able to pick up a kids shoe for equal the style and half the price. They go up to size 5 don’t you know! (If your feet are still large despite your shorter frame, this a great tool for the prevention of falling over).
10. Limbo? Bring it on. We win every time.
11. We also rock at Hide & Seek.
12. Bed space. If like me you need your space to sleep, then sharing a bed is not a problem. Even when we are splayed out like a starfish we are still miles away from our partner.
13. You get to sit in the middle. Why small people are traditionally packed into the middle of a busy car I don’t know, but I have had hours of fun playing milk bottles.
14. We get our own step. This is used for reaching the cupboards and other domestic duties like dusting the top of the TV. It may have been designed for kids to use in the bathroom, but I love my special step.
15. We are exactly eye level with cakes in shop windows – all the better to ogle them.
16. Pick me, pick me! We all love getting picked up, and we get picked up a LOT.
17. Our heads aren’t cut off in mirrors and photos.
18. Every walk is a workout. Most of my friends are taller than me, so a trip to town, a walk round the shops and the stretch between bars gets out heart rate up as we amble to keep up with you. It may be tiring, but calories = burnt.
19. It’s arguably okay to crawl up the stairs, even when you aren’t drunk/hungover. Our legs just find them difficult okay?!
20. We enjoy it when you take our food and make us reach for it, or pretend you can’t see us as you look over our heads. You’ve been doing it for years but we still giggle uncontrollably every time.