The New Stereotype: Heightism

Now, everyone knows of racism, sexism, classism, and idiocy-ism. However, recent studies have shown that there is perhaps one more disabling stereotype in America and around the world: heightism.

The first time I heard this phrase was about two years ago in my freshmen pyschology class. We had to do our final paper; and I wanted to do something different. After looking around for a bit ( a LONG bit) I started finding literature on this so called "heightism." It's pretty interesting to me, seeing as I'm 5'6, and have been passed up many times for sports [and other things] because of my heighth. So I figured I'd read on it and write a report.

Some facts about "heightism:"

Wikipedia said:
A survey of Fortune 500 CEO height in 2005 revealed that they were on average 6 feet (183 cm) tall, which is approximately 2-3 inches (7.5 cm) taller than the average American man. Fully 30% of these CEOs were 6 foot 2 inches (188 cm) tall or more; in comparison only 3.9% of the overall United States population is of this height.[6] Similar surveys have uncovered that less than 3% of CEOs were below 5′7″ in (170 cm) height or taller than 6'2" in height. Ninety percent of CEOs are of above average height.[7]
Wiki said:
Heightism is cited as one of the underlying causes of the Rwandan Genocide, in which approximately one million people were killed. It is believed that one of the reasons that political power was conferred to the minority Tutsis by the exiting Belgians was because they were taller and therefore (in the eyes of the Belgians) considered superior and more suited to governance.[15]

wiki said:
Currently, there is one state in the United States of America, Michigan, that prohibits height discrimination.[24] There is pending legislation introduced by Massachusetts Representative Byron Rushing which would add Massachusetts to the list.[25] Two municipalities currently prohibit height discrimination: Santa Cruz, California[26] and San Francisco, California.[27] The District of Columbia prohibits discrimination based on personal appearance.[28] Ontario, Canada prohibits height discrimination under the human rights code.[29] Victoria, Australia prohibits discrimination based on physical features under the Equal Opportunity Act of 1995.[30]
Examples of successful legal battles pursued against height discrimination in the workplace include a 2002 case involving highly qualified applicants being turned down for jobs at a bank because they were considered too short;[31] a 2005 Swedish case involving an unfair height requirement for employment implemented by Volvo car company;[32] and a 1999 case involving a Kohler Company informal practice not to consider women who applied for jobs unless they were at least 5 feet 4 inches (162 cm) tall.[33] Height requirements for employment which are not a bona fide occupational requirement are becoming more and more uncommon.
Now I do have more, but i just wanted to give you guys a little bit to look at. All in once source format to make it even easier.

Anyway: My question to you. Do you believe Heightism is a true concern in American [and other countries]? Is there a true discrimination or are the statistics just simple coincidence. Maybe the PR world is getting a head of itself?

What do you think? (I'll respond later with my own thoughts.)


Certified Shitlord
It's not a concern, it's just a biological and social phenomena. As animals, we look for strong, tough, tall, or reliable mates. That translates into all sorts of things once our animal side runs through our human (social) side. Some people will like guys with big muscles, fast cars, high paying jobs, or tall guys. Just like guys will like women with big hips, big breasts, or who are shorter. A lot of reasons are both biological as well as social. I'm personally getting sick of all the "isms" in this country. It's like we need something to be angry about all the time.


Son of Liberty
Ive seen it also. I'm 5'10" and I've been passed up or sized up by coaches in the past because of my height rather than my ability. So yeah I can definitely see how that can lead to an obvious form of prejudice.

I'm not going to say its a serious pandemic, but I will say that more often than not when you look at sports, you wont see to many guys shorter than 5'11". I mean honestly, I can only think of a select few, and the funniest thing is now that I think about it. Announcers will always bring up things like "the Five foot Eight Martin St. Louis is playing like a big man tonight!"

hahaha seriously though... think about if an announcer said something like "wow, look at labron james, he's gone ape shit out there" :hah: The media would have his testicles in a vice so fast!


Son of Liberty
I've read about it and seen it also, I'm 6'0" and sometimes feel I get an unfair advantage because of it, not that I'm complaining:p

I think people do favor taller people and discriminate against shorter people, but as Cons said, it's a biological phenomena.


e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑
Just because we're prone as a society to advantage taller men due to some unconscious primitive impulse, doesn't mean it's not a good idea to point out such biases, so that they can be consciously countered. For something to be natural and/or the status quo, does not make it good or a non-issue.


not a plastic bag
The Rwanda thing is amazing.

I've often wondered what it would be like being not as tall. I am 6-1. I guess it would be no big deal day to day and would be compatible to some of my physical qualities that are flawed. Not that being shorter is a flaw - its just that I never even think about some things about me that others might notice.


/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
Interesting reads. I checked the wiki page and also got a Time article about it. I used to think the whole advantage given to tall people was linked to racism, the tall white man being the favored (superior) image. So that's what I had in mind when I heard about the Rwanda genocide. Then there's also the colonial mentality. In the land of short tan people (hello barbie) when they're colonised by tall white people, a certain level of inferior-superior complex was established until it has been implanted that tall (and white) is better.

However, it won't explain why in a place where everyone is white there's still a discrepancy between treatment of people according to height. For example, the studies about the relationship between bullying and height. Then a sociologist is also exploring the heightism subject mentions how it's highly present so much that it's ignored. Questions like "how tall are you?" instead of "what is your height" or negative connotations with the term short (I don't buy the implication of the latter that much).

Anyway, personally, you know I felt the whole issue about heightism in employment. It sucks. I can imagine when a specific height requirement was necessary to be operational or for safety reasons, but other than that, it just leaves me asking "why?".


Registered Member
Being 6' 4" has actually been an advantage when it comes to women as they're immediately drawn to my height. I asked my wife Patricia what was the first thing she noticed about me and she said; "You were TALL!" The intelligence and charm came later:lol:

But it's a drawback as well because I've gotten into fights with men around five feet who wanted to fight me for no other reason than I was taller than them. And I also dislike the fact that simply because I'm 6'4" and black people assume I'm great at basketball. I'm probably the worst basketball player you'll ever meet but I'll royally kick yer ass at tennis and handball/racketball.