Tall Girl Feminism at Rosie’s Gap Year

(Cross-posted from Rosie’s Gap Year)

I recently read an article by Ann Friedman called “What It’s Like To Be A Woman Who’s 6’2″” (brought to my attention by all the angsty tall girl blogs I follow). Being a smidge over 6’1″ myself, I sank my teeth into her article faster than it takes for a 5’5″ guy to give me a weird look while I’m nervously browsing the heels in Topshop.
I have been this height since I was around 15, and I’ve always been very self conscious of it. It took me around 4 years to figure out why.
As Friedman wonderfully put it:”Height is associated with masculinity, and women are meant to be petite, if not a lot smaller than men are.”

I think this can be traced back to male dominance and female submission. This hierarchy of power is present everywhere we look. Men are paid more than women, diet culture is a gendered problem, sexual violence is a gendered crime.
But when a woman (particularly a confident woman) is around 5 inches taller than a man, they lose physical power over them, and we are therefore frequently seen as off-putting or intimidating.
Naturally, this is something I have plenty of experience with, and it’s something I come across near enough on a weekly basis.
For example, on the occasion I was brave enough to go out with 3 inch heels on, I receive comments such as…

“Why are you wearing heels when you’re already so tall?”- good question. I bought these heels specifically so guys like you would ask me patronising questions when they realised they weren’t attracted to me.

“You know, wearing those things can really scare guys who might be into you.”- I had no idea. Wait right there while I change into my flats and censor myself to make you feel more comfortable. I want to have sex with you, I promise!

“How are you so tall?”- Well, I have this theory called genetics. I’m not sure if it’ll ever catch on, though.

“You’re so tall, do you wanna be a boy or something?”- Yes, random man. My height, which is completely unrelated to my gender identity, means that I want to be a boy. We have known each other for less than 3 minutes, my gender is really none of your business anyway.

A few weeks later, I stumbled upon @meninistphrases (“phrases” meaning gross dudes whining with the odd rape joke thrown in) who published a “Girl Height Chart” which is as follows:

Short Girl- to 5’4
Normal Girl- 5’5 to 5’7
Male Girl- 5’8 and up

According to this, international supermodels such as Karlie Kloss (6’1) and global superstars such as Rihanna (5’9) are in fact not females at all, despite being hailed for their talent and owning their womanhood in male dominated spaces, not to mention making a load of money from it.
Nevertheless, this tweet was favourited over 1’000 times, which may seem like a passive joke to most people, but to for me, to see so many people enjoying a joke based on a prominent insecurity of mine is disheartening to say the least.
Being 6’1 and a half does not make me any less of a woman, and if men feel emasculated because of that, attacking my supposedly ‘masculine’ physical features is no way to react.

Maybe we should start looking at why men feel the need to react in this way, and begin challenging it. For example, we may be able to look to hyper masculinity (the exaggeration of stereotypical male behaviour) with emphasis on strength, sexuality and dominance.
I don’t mean to be a feminist bitch about this (just kidding, I totally do), but behaviour like this is a direct product of the patriarchal and toxic roles set upon the male species.
This kind of degrading activity towards the female form (particularly the acceptance of it) is to keep women compliant in the face of male superiority, and it’s difficult to assert yourself in such a way when a woman is already much taller than you, wearing 4 inch heels and loving herself because of it.

Rosie’s Gap Year: I write about inequality and society from the perspective of an 18 year old feminist in hopes to educate both myself and others.