There's a store specifically dedicated to short guys in Brooklyn; short men can include Prince (5'2") among their ranks; and blackbear's "Short Kings Anthem" is a certified bop.
It seems that, perhaps even within capitalism, the stigma against short men is fading.
Blackbear & TMG - Short Kings Anthem (OFFICIAL VIDEO) www.youtube.com
But is it? In general, most of the kinder, more respectful people that I know try to avoid being cruel to others (at least in disrespectful or non-nuanced ways). Yet somehow jokes about short people—particularly short men—are still acceptable and popular even in "woke" spheres. Isn't this a bit hypocritical? This past summer was officially Tall Girl Summer, and the body positivity and body neutrality movements are still in full swing. Collectively, at least most of the people I know understand that it's not great to make fun of bodies, appearances, and gender presentation. Yet short men often aren't included under this umbrella of (often performative) respect and compassion.
So is it time to stop making fun of short men? Personally, I think it absolutely is.
In general, if we hope to live in a remotely compassionate way, we're going to want to move away from restrictive gender roles, and we need to deconstruct the systems that value some types of bodies above others and that sell us self-hatred.
We also need to stop promoting straight white women's self-love as the epitome of feminism, and we need to create a more holistic, diverse, less exclusionary form of body positivity and acceptance. While every definition of feminism is different, in my book, feminism means fighting systemic oppressions that give certain people advantages that others do not have and that critique certain bodies on the basis of their appearance or other constructs. This means fighting the gender binary that locks people into feeling that they have to behave a certain way or perform a certain gender or sexuality; and this means working to erase the ideas, constructs, and structures that make us naturally favor tall, loud men over, well, everybody else.
If we're going to practice what we preach as feminists, it's vitally important to treat others the way we want to be treated—which includes not using other people's unchangeable and neutral characteristics as punchlines, which includes shifting the way we think about things like height and stereotypical illusions of masculinity.
Now, it's important to remember that all this does not mean that every woman is obligated to be attracted to a particular short man. It also doesn't legitimize short men who compensate for height insecurity with aggression and cruelty. The fact that this so-called Napoleon Complex is scientifically proven to be real should, if anything, prove that we need to change the way we treat male height.
It is saying that if we want to start seeing the changes that feminism and social justice work claim to advocate for, we need to start applying our version of openness and kindness to all types of people, seeing everyone as a fully complex human being and advocating for the dissolution of gender roles, rather than excluding members of one gender based on arbitrary coincidences (which really, then, only serves to perpetuate the gender binary).
Men also deserve the chance to discuss their own fears and insecurities and to work on practicing self-love and compassion for others. Toxic masculinity is an incredibly pervasive problem, and everyone can play a part in reinforcing it or deconstructing it.
The truth is that every man that I've gotten to know on a deep personal level has been just as sensitive and vulnerable as every woman I've known, and to continue glorifying the unreal archetype of the hyper-masculine, destructive patriarch is simply damaging to every aspect of our bodies and minds.
So, let's dismantle the patriarchy, especially the patriarchy that glorifies tall and aggressively masculine white men. More importantly, let's dismantle the capitalist system that profits off our insecurities and self-loathing and promotes vicious, arbitrary standards and hierarchies.
Overall, people who claim to be feminists should be wary of stereotyping and critiquing others for their appearances or characteristics beyond their control. Wasn't that the point of feminism anyway?