Yes. Height is a bodily attribute. Shaming someone because of their height is considered body shaming.
It is often thought that body-shaming is relevant only for the weight of people, but it goes far beyond that. Anything out of the accepted and forced norms can be a cause of body shaming.
Body shaming has become popular in part because we are constantly bombarded with perfection via social media. Anything that doesn’t quite fit that mold, is ridiculed and criticized.
Height is no exception, so whether you are taller than average, or shorter than most, you can be a target for a shaming campaign.
The emotional burden that comes with shaming is enormous, and it often scars people for life, leads to depression, eating disorders, anxiety, or worse.
Let’s take a closer look at the concept.
What is body-shaming?
Body shaming is the action or practice of humiliating someone by mocking or making critical comments about their body shape or size.
We are all delightfully different, but some people have a hard time accepting that difference, so they rush to judge something you can’t even control—like how tall you are.
Judging in silence would be a bad thing on its own, but body-shaming is not silent. It is loud and very direct ridicule, meant to diminish someone and produce negative feelings.
While all bodies were celebrated and accepted throughout history, depicted in art, and worshiped by everyone, we as a modern society have an unhealthy and controversial opinion about it.
As we evolved and social media, press, and photography entered our daily lives we’ve become very competitive and compare everything we experience with a presented version of perfection.
This “perfect” image of the human body, shape, and size is a false advertisement that fuels the consumption economy.
Or simply put, you are meant to feel bad until you spend more money in efforts to feel better.
This can be clothing, make-up, fitness products, foods, etc.
If you don’t live up to these ideals, you risk running into someone who thinks that’s something to turn against you.
This is what can evolve into body shaming—calling you out on your height, weight, color, or anything else bodily.
Types of body-shaming
There are many types of body shaming, and they all revolve around physical looks and pointing out differences as flaws.
Insecure people are not comfortable with divergence and instead of learning how to accept it, they tend to bring it out and make an example of how something is not supposed to be.
Unfortunately, there are many forms of body shaming, but let’s list a few:
- Weight shaming – that can be fat-shaming or thinness shaming
- Height shaming – for being too tall or too short
- Shaming of hairiness – too much or too little
- Hair color – prejudices regarding hair, especially red hair
- Shaming of looks – wide range from medical conditions like psoriasis and cross-eye, to tattoos and piercings.
This is a short version of a very long and “creative” list people use as an excuse to put someone down.
From a very young age, children are forced to believe that beauty and external appearance is a good judge of character, and this is why all the villains in fairytales are depicted as deformed, unattractive, and different.
Are we teaching them from the start that you have to live up to certain expectations when it comes to how you look in order to be loved?
If you get mocked for being too tall or too short, it’s called heightism.
What is Heightism?
Heightism or also known as height discrimination is a prejudice against an individual based on their height.
Essentially any height that is under or over the normal and accepted norms is ridiculed and shamed for.
Both men and women are affected, but it’s more common towards short men and tall women.
But height discrimination comes with a few special details that differentiate it from all other body shaming.
Height is not under our control:
While shaming someone for their appearance, for example, fat-shaming, people often hide behind “good intentions”.
Body shaming began as advice to be healthier and live longer but spread like fire to all that is not considered normal.
Fat-shaming someone into losing weight can be secluded behind the excuse of meaning well because in one way or another they can control it and be considered responsible.
But height is based mainly on genetics and no matter how well-intended the comment is, there is nothing an ashamed person can do to accommodate to those standards.
If you get a tall comment as a tall women, you can’t do anything about it, or to avoid it in the future. You’ll live your whole life with your height.
If you’re a short man, it’s the same. You can work out, grow a beard and buy shoes with heels—but your height will stay the same forever.
There are tips on how to grow taller, but none of them will make a big and lasting difference.
Not one type of body shaming is acceptable, but it looks like those that point out things we have no control over have a bigger impact on our emotional health.
Different views based on age:
Being tall is considered to be an advantage throughout history, as tall people are seen as leaders and dominant individuals.
But age groups treat height differently:
- Infants from just 10 months of age unconsciously associate height with leadership potential, power, strength, and intelligence.
- Being a tall teenager is often represented in movies and media as being awkward and uncomfortable.
- Adults people again appreciate coworkers and partners that are taller than average.
What are the effects of body-shaming?
Body shaming has a negative emotional effect that can lower self-esteem and lead to anxiety and depression.
We are all designed with a distinct desire to be accepted and loved for who we are. With the body-shaming trend going on, this idea of acceptance becomes more and more unreachable.
Body shaming is humiliating and comes with painful and long-term consequences.
Especially if it begins at an early age when individuals are at their most vulnerable and extra susceptible to the opinions of others.
Body shaming can lead to things like:
- Social anxiety
- Eating disorders
- Body dysmorphic disorder
In general, people who have higher body dissatisfaction have an overall poorer quality of life and psychological distress.
How to handle body-shaming?
As harsh and unfair as body-shaming is, there are ways to deal with it in order to not let it impact you long-term.
Also, if you are the one thinking about and even commenting on peoples’ imperfections, there are a few things you need to consider.
There are two sides to every medal and you might find that you are sometimes judging people without knowing it.
Here are a few ways to not body-shame:
- Try not to comment on appearance except if it is a direct complement
- Don’t be gullible and believe everything you see on social media
- Be kind to someone who is being bullied
- Try to educate people around you
If you happen to find yourself on the other side of body shaming and you are the victim, there are still some things you can do as a victim:
- Let the shamer know that they’ve hurt you
- Talk to someone about your feelings
- Be kind to yourself and your body
- Be selective with your social media
What is the body positivity movement?
Body positivity is a new movement that goes directly against body-shaming by promoting all types of bodies as beautiful.
Body positivity is creating a safe space for every body type, shape, size, and appearance. The goal is to introduce diversity as something beautiful and lower the negative impact that body shaming has.
Accepting yourself and others as they are is the key to a happy and fulfilled life. Work on your confidence and self-esteem while helping others.
So, in conclusion, there is no such thing as being too tall. Or too short.
That is just the way your genetic cards were dealt, and this is who you are.
If you’re tall, you’re awesome, remember. Tallsome! Be proud of how you look. And if you’re not, do what you can to get fit, healthy, and dress well as a tall person.
These are not requirements but ways to increase your own self-esteem. If you manage to do that, the body-shaming will ricochet off of you.
Body shaming: https://fairygodboss.com/career-topics/body-shaming
Merriam-webster dictionary: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heightism