I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I heard the headline the other day that ‘heightism’ was being compared to racism…seriously?! This deserved to be put under the spotlight!
This is after John Bercow was described as a “sanctimonious dwarf” during a parliamentary debate. He compared this comment to mocking somebody for their disability or race.
I’m the shortest in my family and am often called names referring to my height. Admittedly it did affect me whilst growing up because I soon realised I wasn’t going to stretch beyond 5’2” and there was nothing I could do about it – apart from where towering heels, which didn’t help when taller girls would add on the inches with platforms too!
Now I’ve learnt to embrace it. I crack a joke about how short I am and more often than not people will actually comment and say I don’t ‘look’ that short because of how I carry myself. I think that’s the key – it’s all about your attitude, which reflects in your posture.
But I’m an enemy of my own kind – I really don’t like short men. In fact my ONLY physical requirement for a partner is that he is tall – knowing my luck I’ll end up with a Tom Cruise when I crave a Boris Kodjoe!
So if I discriminate against a physical attribute that I share – what does that make me?
But on a serious note – have we become so sensitive that we’re offended or hurt by virtually every joke or comment in jest?
There are some prejudices that I appreciate can be unbearable to experience and should be unacceptable – relating to colour, ethnicity, faith, disability, sexual orientation or gender. These prejudices affect day-to-day living. They impact how people are treated in work and public settings, and possibly even how they choose to live their life. Does height prejudice have the same impact?
I know there’s the age-old argument of what affects one person may not affect another – I get that. But surely we need to lighten up and rise above it (if I could tip-toe that high!)
We’re all different, and its human nature to ridicule/dislike/taunt differences. I think this says a lot about us as insecure species than anything else. But if we allow for any negative comment to affect us how can you even enjoy life?
Today its height, tomorrow it will be receding hairlines or size of hands/feet – oh hold on, men already get caught up about these!
We’re constantly evolving as a society with changing boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable, what is or isn’t politically correct. I’m from an age where we said blackboard and not chalk board, and white board not marker board. We quite happily sang “Baa Baa Black Sheep”.
I’m not saying change isn’t good. Of course it’s needed in many situations – otherwise we’d still be living in an openly segregated society. But where do you draw the line?
Embrace your differences. Once you’re confident with yourself, nonsense from another couldn’t affect you.
And in true Raj style: “just get over it!”