Yeah, yeah. We see it. Mary Kate Olsen stepped out with her boyfriend, Not-Nicolas Sarkozy (Olivier is the ex-French president’s brother), and his young daughter. And given that MK is just a touch above five feet tall, the kid happens to be approximately the same height as the designer and former child star. Jokes about playdates and straight up “eww”ing ensued in the comments of any blog that picked up a pic. But really, what do you want from her? A growth spurt at age 26? For her to take a walk in five-inch heels? She isn’t tall. And that’s that. (And quit acting like her height is some illustration of their age gap; she’d still be that short if he was 30 instead of 42.) Unfortunately, people do judge women by their height, and some of the assumptions they draw from size are shocking.
What won’t surprise you is that it seems that tall or short, ladies can’t win either way. “Overall, tall women were rated as more intelligent, affluent, assertive and ambitious than shorter women,” in a 2005 study. And yet, shorter women are more successful with men: A British study found that women 4’11” to 5’3″ were more likely to be married than their taller counterparts. Perhaps that’s related to a finding in another British study, in which men judged shorter women to be more nurturing and better potential mothers than tall women. In that same study, tall ladies took home the titles of attractive, intelligent, flirtatious, and healthy. (And who would want to procreate with that? Am I right, fellas?) And I was actually shocked to read that in the 1950s, estrogen was used to halt the growth of healthy young girls who were in “danger” of becoming so tall they’d be unmarriageable. For serious?!
For every tall girl who felt like an unfeminine giant in high school (and beyond), there’s a little lady who felt like a permanent kid with no sex appeal or like she’d been squished down from a normal-size woman. We can try to change society’s perceptions of women based on height for the future, but there’s not much we can do about an existing adult’s height now. So let’s just freakin’ lay off Olsen.
And for anyone who’s ready to chime in with “Well, why doesn’t she just date short guys?” Here’s my take: You can’t only date people who are a certain height; it would be far too limiting. I’ve heard friends say they wouldn’t date any guy who isn’t 6′. More often than not it means they’re not dating any guys. Of course, there are some real drawbacks to a great height disparity in a relationship: I’ve dated guys from 5’6″ to 6’5″ and preferred the former as a dance partner. But why my dancing in the armpit of the 6’5″ guy would matter to an outsider, I honestly don’t know. And a little armpit dancing wouldn’t keep me from dating a tall guy again if he were cool.
Do you think you’re judged for your height? Does it impact who you date at all?
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