Author: has written 5265 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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133 Responses

  1. ACG
    ACG November 23, 2010 at 2:35 pm |

    Pretentious, insecure asshole.

    Oh, wait, sorry, that was short.

  2. Jadey
    Jadey November 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm |

    Okay, that’s pretty good, but it doesn’t top The Feminization of the Medal of Honor for sheer bloody thoughtlessness on the Interwebz (the comments on that article, incidentally, are marvel of the unifying power of hatred).

  3. prairielily
    prairielily November 23, 2010 at 2:41 pm |

    Just like him, ACG?

    /is also short

  4. Caroline
    Caroline November 23, 2010 at 3:17 pm |

    This is just. . .why would she be surprised by her own height??

  5. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla November 23, 2010 at 3:22 pm |

    Well, I tried to comment over there, but the comment disappeared into the ether. ‘Twas:

    Oh, you poor man-child! I feel for you, honey, oh poor baby.

    Not!

    Well, look at it this way: You have time to learn how to write readable sentences, not to mention growing up and valuing women for more than how much they warm up your nether regions.

  6. Chuck
    Chuck November 23, 2010 at 3:30 pm |

    What is so objectionable about this man’s post? Besides it being poorly placed on the op-ed page.

    It’s a very true experience about something that shorter men are faced with all the time. You all like to toss around the phrase “men’s privilege”; why can’t this be an instance of “women’s privilege” – not having to worry that you won’t be too short for a person you find attractive since women tend to value height in their partner more than men do.

  7. Jadey
    Jadey November 23, 2010 at 3:33 pm |

    Also, with the whole height thing and men being shorter than women being somehow unattractive and romantically/sexually debilitating for one or both of them… Okay, sure, if this is your preference, I am not all that interested in policing it, but could you consider tempering your preferences with some thoughts along the lines of, “But why do I like what I like?” Some of the most heart-and-soul-thrillingly attractive people I know have very little chance of fitting into this “man-tall/woman-short!” image because they happen to be short (for dudes) or tall (for ladies), and it boggles me that I know of times when they have been turned down or rejected based on height alone. Binarist gendered norms for the lose.

  8. David
    David November 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm |

    this is newsworthy?

  9. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin November 23, 2010 at 3:38 pm |

    This is just to say

    I have read
    the op-ed
    that is woefully misplaced

    and which
    was probably
    not
    well-thought out

    Forgive me
    for saying that
    it was a waste of time
    so precious
    and so ridiculous

  10. Heather
    Heather November 23, 2010 at 3:40 pm |

    The thing that makes it awkward to date someone shorter than me(as a tallish woman) is how awkward that person makes it. It isn’t weird for me to be taller than someone; I’m taller than lots of people. It is weird for a guy to “ask” me not to wear heels or constantly compare our heights to see who is taller that day. Also, don’t insult my height, i.e. “Heather is freakishly tall,” because now you’re being insecure and an asshole.

  11. Jeff
    Jeff November 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm |

    Galling Gala

    I don’t think the post said anything about sex. The guys aspirations were all for a “real” relationship. Dating, meeting parents, ect., but then the woman shot him down simply because he was shorter than she was. He was the one rejected, not the one rejecting.

    As a shorter guy myself I can sympathize. I’ve got no problem with taller women, but I know a few women friends who have explicitly told me they would not date somebody shorter than them. I also know guys who won’t date women taller or buffer than them, unfortunately.

    I mean, whatever floats your boat I guess. A person has every right to be discrinimitory in choosing their dates, but it leaves tall women and short men out in the cold.

    The run on sentence was a bit much, though. I think he was trying to be ironic with it, but it really didn’t work. It just made the thing unreadable.

  12. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla November 23, 2010 at 3:48 pm |

    Chuck: What is so objectionable about this man’s post?Besides it being poorly placed on the op-ed page.It’s a very true experience about something that shorter men are faced with all the time.You all like to toss around the phrase “men’s privilege”; why can’t this be an instance of “women’s privilege” – not having to worry that you won’t be too short for a person you find attractive since women tend to value height in their partner more than men do.  

    Because he was attracted to her because, oh look, she’s so *pretty* and I’ve always wanted to get into a French girl’s pants, and if I do, I get coolness points and … how DARE she be taller than me? Do you see? Complete objectification. He didn’t give a shit about her as a person.

    @_@. Dude, this is 101-level stuff.

  13. Jadey
    Jadey November 23, 2010 at 3:49 pm |

    Chuck: What is so objectionable about this man’s post?Besides it being poorly placed on the op-ed page.It’s a very true experience about something that shorter men are faced with all the time.You all like to toss around the phrase “men’s privilege”; why can’t this be an instance of “women’s privilege” – not having to worry that you won’t be too short for a person you find attractive since women tend to value height in their partner more than men do.  

    No. It is a feature of sexist and binarist gender norms, but it does not constitute a privilege for women. Also, see the comments above – “too” tall women are also shamed. You have no grounds on which to compare the trends with any accuracy.

    Saying “you all” and suggesting we “toss around” the idea of male privilege does nothing to suggest your good faith in commenting on this thread.

  14. Alise
    Alise November 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm |

    Being way above the average height of most ladies (6’2″), I will echo what Heather said. It’s only as awkward as you make it. I married a man a good two inches shorter than me, and we’ve never had a real problem. Though, I do like it when he stand a couple of stairs above me occaisionally for a kiss. I’ve never kissed anyone taller than me. :)

  15. GallingGalla
    GallingGalla November 23, 2010 at 3:54 pm |

    Jeff @10: Your being short? Doesn’t erase your male privilege, dude.

    The guys aspirations were all for a “real” relationship. Dating, meeting parents, ect., but then the woman shot him down simply because he was shorter than she was.

    No it wasn’t. He didn’t want a relationship. He wanted cool points, and meeting her parents would add to the cool points. It’s so obvious in the language of his post.

    He was the one rejected, not the one rejecting.

    Do you think it might, perhaps, be that she rejected him because she saw through him, and not because of his height?

    Aww, you short guys have it *tough*.

  16. David
    David November 23, 2010 at 3:57 pm |

    “then she awkwardly, pre-emptively says that it was nice meeting you, and you smile and agree, but before you’re even done agreeing, she is turning away and walking out of the coffee shop on her own?”

    This doesn’t even remotely read like a “how dare she be taller than me!”. It’s more like a “oh, damn, I hate how society makes it so that taller men have to date shorter women”.

  17. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles November 23, 2010 at 4:00 pm |

    What bothers me about this article is that it is downright creepy. He’s always wanted his very own cute little french girl! He talks about the girl as if she is a puppy or a trophy, just something to be obtained. I didn’t read the end as his being rejected, I read it as him being disappointed that she is tall, so now she doesn’t fit into his tiny-cute-french fantasy. He doesn’t say “Don’t you hate it when you get rejected for your height?” but, essentially, “Don’t you just hate it when your fantasy girl is taller than you?”

  18. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar November 23, 2010 at 4:02 pm |

    Kevin, I’ve read a lot of riffs on Williams, but that one was actually good.

  19. Chuck
    Chuck November 23, 2010 at 4:02 pm |

    Jadey:

    OK. I’ll refrain from that type of language. I’m just curious what exactly is wrong with what that man wrote.

    Let me just give an example of why I think the condemnation of the op-ed is unfair. Let’s pretend that this was written by a woman who was overweight, and it detailed her online encounter with a man that she really wanted to meet and started having long-term fantasies about. But when the man found out that she was overweight he stopped talking to her. My feeling, based upon other content I’ve read here, is that you would empathize with the woman and blame unfair norms for that. But you don’t seem to extend the same empathy to the man who wrote this op-ed.

  20. Stephanie
    Stephanie November 23, 2010 at 4:05 pm |

    #6:

    Oh, Chuck off. As if there aren’t plenty of guys who care a great deal about height and who insist on dating women shorter than they are. Talk to a woman over 5’9 sometime and then come back and tell us that women are the only ones who have ridiculous height-related preferences.

    Besides, if men want to claim that they’re victims of unrealistic standards, maybe they could stand to be a little more openminded themselves. “No fat chicks” ring a bell? Or how about the dudes who are fine dating women 10-20 (or more!) years younger than they are but won’t even look at anyone their age or older? Please.

    I actually do think that both men and women can be pretty ridiculous about height because it’s so damn irrelevant and yet it’s considered so very important. And it’s something none of us can change, so we should really just get the hell over it. But I’m not going to shed a tear for the poor, poor men until they’re willing to take a good hard look at their own preferences.

  21. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles November 23, 2010 at 4:08 pm |

    @Chuck: Well, if the hypothetical woman in this hypothetical op-ed piece was talking about obtaining the man as if he were a cute stereotype that she’s always wanted, we might have a similar reaction.

  22. David
    David November 23, 2010 at 4:10 pm |

    @outrageandsprinkles

    If you would explain to me why wanting a partner who speaks a language that you’re interested in is wrong, I might be inclined to agree with you.

  23. Tec
    Tec November 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm |

    pretty French girl sitting next you in a hipster coffee shop, who has that delicate French beauty, the Audrey Tautou kind, but not in such overwhelming quantities that she is clearly off-limits for the likes of you”

    Well, cynically, I’d say, if you’re only going for pretty girls that are in your “league”, then I’m not going to feel sorry for you since you don’t fit into her beauty norm.

    In fact, it’s not even clear whether she was very tall or he was very short anyways but I’m guessing, just based on his writings, it was the latter.

    @Chuck – yeah like Jadey said, girls have to worry about being too tall. Not to mention, being too fat, too ugly, too thin, too old, too “flat”, etc. And that’s just the physical!

    I have no idea where you get that it’s a type of “female privilege” because it’s a social norm defined by, well, the Patriarchy(TM) similar to the “privilege” of being able to reject men who aren’t wealthy.

  24. me and not you
    me and not you November 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm |

    I am not tall. I am exactly average for an adult female in the US (5’6″). I also have a deep love heels. “Real heels”, three inches on average.

    I have men be uncomfortable that I might *approach* their height. Not that I am taller than they, not we are the same height, but that we are almost on eye level. And these are not short guys, they have been 6ft or nearly so. They ask me not to wear heels. They make faces. They project the awkwardness they are feeling out. It’s pretty damn obvious. If I stood up, and boy-o there said “O my you are too tall” with his eyes, I would have walked away.

    Not to mention “you’re thinking to yourself how wonderful it will be to date your own auburn-haired Audrey Tautou ” and “as the scoreboard is up in flames from the baseball you’ve hit into it and you are rounding third base, savoring each stride, with only a few short steps separating you from the glory of your destiny” pretty clearly indicate that he’s interested in her as a score, for the coolness, and not for her. He’s fetishizing, objectifying her.

  25. David
    David November 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm |

    Stephanie:
    #6:
    Oh, Chuck off. As if there aren’t plenty of guys who care a great deal about height and who insist on dating women shorter than they are. Talk to a woman over 5′9 sometime and then come back and tell us that women are the only ones who have ridiculous height-related preferences.
    Besides, if men want to claim that they’re victims of unrealistic standards, maybe they could stand to be a little more openminded themselves. “No fat chicks” ring a bell? Or how about the dudes who are fine dating women 10-20 (or more!) years younger than they are but won’t even look at anyone their age or older? Please.
    I actually do think that both men and women can be pretty ridiculous about height because it’s so damn irrelevant and yet it’s considered so very important. And it’s something none of us can change, so we should really just get the hell over it. But I’m not going to shed a tear for the poor, poor men until they’re willing to take a good hard look at their own preferences.  

    Clever. Is “Chuck off” an attempt to try and turn his name into an insult? Are you talking about “the poor poor men” as an entire group that you can talk about as an objective whole, because, you know, you know so much about them?

  26. Donna L
    Donna L November 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm |

    GallingGalla, the sentence of ridiculously Proustian length aside, I get the distinct impression that he was the one being rejected, *not* that she was rejecting him. The surprise was mutual — his that she was taller, hers that he was shorter — and they both knew that their going out was impossible because of it.

    At least that’s how I read it.

    Long ago and in another incarnation, when I was living my life presenting as a 5′ 2″ man and was always the shortest guy in every school I ever attended and every job I ever had, I had the experience more than once of meeting women who were taller than I was, in contexts (such as at work) where dating was the furthest thing from my mind, who saw fit to inform me within several minutes of meeting me that they didn’t date short men! I felt like saying, “who’s asking?” But I guess the very thought that I might think of them in those terms was so horrifying that they decided to make sure I didn’t get the wrong idea. Oy.

    Since my transition five years ago, I’ve been quite happy to go from being considered freakishly short to being an almost average height, as if by magic. It’s far easier to buy clothing, too — I’ve explained to people that I never did wear men’s clothing, since I spent my adult life shopping in the boys’ department.

    Of course, the benefits of being a 5′ 2″ trans women insofar as blending in is concerned don’t necessarily make up for decades of trying to live at that height as a guy, which created problems that went far beyond romantic issues. Like in employment. (There is a fairly well-known statistic that average male income declines by a substantial amount — I forget by how many thousands of dollars — for each inch of height below average.)

    Is it because the shorter a man is, the less he’s generally perceived as a “real” man? I don’t know.

    I wouldn’t suggest for a moment that the treatment one receives in society as an extremely short man is comparable to the way women are treated. Having lived as both, however, there’s no question that my experiences as the former made my experiences as the latter somewhat easier to get used to. There was unquestionably a little bit less “male” privilege to lose.

  27. Donna L
    Donna L November 23, 2010 at 4:17 pm |

    By the way, if the guy who wrote this really did feel disappointment because *he* didn’t want the woman to be taller, as others have read the piece, well, I withdraw whatever empathy I had for him!

  28. NonBiker
    NonBiker November 23, 2010 at 4:18 pm |

    My initial reaction to the ire directed at this piece sided along with Chuck et al. I do think that height is an area where men are heavily discriminated against. And not just in dating; in job promotions, politics, and all sorts of social situations. I recall seeing studies backing this up. So, to the people dismissing this as a short guy’s insecurity, I think you ought to examine the social realities a little more closely.

    In the dating realm, it’s not even about relative heights in my experience….I have friends who are good looking, successful, and girls who ware *shorter* than the guy turn them down because they insist on a guy who is 6′ or taller.

    I agree the piece does not belong in an op-ed, but that is the fault of the Tribune, not the guy writing it. He was being honest about his frustrations in dating. There may be some problematic objectification going on, but the overall sentiment was that he wanted a date and a relationship with a pretty, interesting girl. Nothing wrong with that. Throwing around terms like “Napoleon complex” when there’s not even evidence of such is pretty insensitive in my opinion.

  29. Donna L
    Donna L November 23, 2010 at 4:19 pm |

    And in my first post, I meant, of course, “not that he was rejecting her.” Sorry, I’ve been misspeaking all day.

  30. Stephanie
    Stephanie November 23, 2010 at 4:19 pm |

    And for the record: my boyfriend’s a pretty short dude. Three inches shorter than I am, in fact. (I’m about average-height for a woman.) I know he gets shit for it, and I actually am generally quite sympathetic to men who face height-related discrimination, because I know it exists. But I have no patience for short guys who wage “women are shallow superficial bitchez” campaigns, because it shows a remarkable lack of self-awareness. Sure does suck to be judged primarily on your appearance, huh? Damn, it’s almost like being female!

  31. Random Process
    Random Process November 23, 2010 at 4:21 pm |

    It seems clear that he was disappointed that she was taller than he was, and quite probably he wouldn’t have pursued things – but she rejected him first.

    They’re both shallow.

    Although, sometimes the things that are important to us are shallow, and won’t become unimportant just because we don’t like being shallow.

  32. David
    David November 23, 2010 at 4:21 pm |

    Stephanie:
    And for the record: my boyfriend’s a pretty short dude. Three inches shorter than I am, in fact. (I’m about average-height for a woman.) I know he gets shit for it, and I actually am generally quite sympathetic to men who face height-related discrimination, because I know it exists. But I have no patience for short guys who wage “women are shallow superficial bitchez” campaigns, because it shows a remarkable lack of self-awareness. Sure does suck to be judged primarily on your appearance, huh? Damn, it’s almost like being female!  

    Oh hoh, because men aren’t judged on their appearances at all. That couldn’t possibly happen.

  33. Chuck
    Chuck November 23, 2010 at 4:31 pm |

    And a man can’t fantasize about this woman because he finds her attractive? What else would you have him be drawn to? I’m sorry, but appearances matter to men and to women. And it is obvious here that the French woman wasn’t attracted to the author because he was short.

    You all foist some sort of double-standard mentality on the author, but I don’t see that at all. I see that he is lamenting the hard truths of life. Something he could feel boiling up during his conversation with the woman. But he’s not saying that he *deserves* her or that she’s a jerk for not reciprocating his desires. He may very likely sympathize with women who face the same litmus test, but he’s not talking about that side of the coin; he’s only talking about his subjective experience as a short man because that’s all he knows.

  34. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles November 23, 2010 at 4:31 pm |

    @Chuck

    Um, all I got from that piece was “Pretty! French! French girls are cute! Audrey Tatou!”. I didn’t get so much “She has similar interests as me and we will have so much to talk about!”. So much emphasis is put on her being french, not so much on what a fabulous mind and personality she has.

  35. Stephanie
    Stephanie November 23, 2010 at 4:35 pm |

    Me: “Sure does suck to be judged primarily on your appearance, huh?”

    David: “Oh hoh, because men aren’t judged on their appearances at all.”

    You left out a word! It rhymes with “primarily.” I understand, though. That word was kind of an important part of the point I was making. You couldn’t very well leave it in!

  36. NonBiker
    NonBiker November 23, 2010 at 4:35 pm |

    Stephanie: And for the record: my boyfriend’s a pretty short dude. Three inches shorter than I am, in fact. (I’m about average-height for a woman.) I know he gets shit for it, and I actually am generally quite sympathetic to men who face height-related discrimination, because I know it exists. But I have no patience for short guys who wage “women are shallow superficial bitchez” campaigns, because it shows a remarkable lack of self-awareness. Sure does suck to be judged primarily on your appearance, huh? Damn, it’s almost like being female!  (Quote this comment?)

    Well, right, but I don’t think the author of this piece was waging that sort of a campaign.

  37. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles November 23, 2010 at 4:37 pm |

    @me and not you

    You have perfectly summed up my feelings about this piece. I completely forgot to mention the obnoxious and creepy sports cliche.

  38. Jadey
    Jadey November 23, 2010 at 4:38 pm |

    Chuck: Jadey:OK.I’ll refrain from that type of language.I’m just curious what exactly is wrong with what that man wrote.Let me just give an example of why I think the condemnation of the op-ed is unfair.Let’s pretend that this was written by a woman who was overweight, and it detailed her online encounter with a man that she really wanted to meet and started having long-term fantasies about.But when the man found out that she was overweight he stopped talking to her.My feeling, based upon other content I’ve read here, is that you would empathize with the woman and blame unfair norms for that.But you don’t seem to extend the same empathy to the man who wrote this op-ed.  

    The problem with your comparison is that we don’t know that this man is short. All we know is that he is shorter than this particular woman, who could very well be extraordinarily tall. A three-inch difference could put them anywhere in the distribution, really – they could both be quite tall, or quite short, or she could be 5’11 and he 5’9. A very short man will experience discrimination in a sexist (and ableist, if he is very, very short) society, as, yes, a fat woman will experience discrimination in a fat-phobic and misogynistic society, but there is no basis for that particular comparison here.

    If you want to know what people don’t like about the piece, read the comments here. People are being quite detailed. He talked about her in a way that was gross and entitled and it was a silly thing to be published as an op-ed given its quality.

  39. Tec
    Tec November 23, 2010 at 4:40 pm |

    I never even got the impression that she rejected him. I thought she was waiting for him to ask her out at the end, but left when he didn’t. Which is also a fucked up social norm that men do the asking but hey it’s not like she got up and said “OMFG you’re short?!?! How dare you speak to me?!?!” which some of the other posters seem to be implying. We’re just supposed to assume that she was “saddened”. We don’t have her POV, and given what an entitled, narcissistic douchebag the writer is, I wouldn’t put much stock into his assessment…

    @David – you’re comments are full of such trollogic. Yes, men get judged based on appearance. And???? As Stephanie pointed out – yeah it sucks to be treated like a woman. After choosing her specifically because she falls within his beauty norms (and treating her like a trophy/object), it’s hypocritical for him to be hurt that he doesn’t fall within hers, and no one has sympathy for shallow guys who get their same standards applied to them only to, um, come up “short.”

  40. Stephanie
    Stephanie November 23, 2010 at 4:40 pm |

    I made no claims about the author’s intent, NonBiker. My first comment was directed at Chuck, and my second was directed at guys who do wage those campaigns, because I think they have their defenders in this thread.

  41. Jadey
    Jadey November 23, 2010 at 4:44 pm |

    Actually, given how surprised he was that she was taller than him, I am guessing that he is not used to being the shorter one, and that he is probably at least of average height for his demographic.

    This guy is not talking about discrimination against short men. He is very likely not a short man at all.

    Again, there’s a discussion to be had about binarist gendered norms and things like heights prescriptions that impact everyone, but that discussion does not start with, “Women are so privileged when it comes to height!”

  42. Tec
    Tec November 23, 2010 at 4:44 pm |

    Oh sorry, was directed at Chuck, not David. :)

  43. Chuck
    Chuck November 23, 2010 at 4:51 pm |

    Jadey:

    He seems to intone that this occurred because he is short rather than because she is taller than average. Either way, if he is of average height and she just happens to be extremely tall for a woman, her leaving the scene because he is “only” average speaks worse about her.

    But that is not the scene here. The author “hates it when this happens” which indicates that it happens a lot because he is a short man.

    But beyond that, what is wrong with this man being attracted to the girl sitting next to him? He developed an instinctual physiccal attraction to her. Why should he ignore that just to suit your gender-neutral agenda? How can you determine what he should find of value in the woman? She obviously determined what was of value to her.

  44. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe November 23, 2010 at 4:51 pm |

    To get the full scale of the ridiculousness of this piece, you had to see the version in the dead-tree Tribune. The type was arranged around an enormous graphic of a tape measure tied in a knot, which was supposed to represent…the author’s heart? His dick? Who knows. It was part of the Tribune’s ongoing use of huge, inane graphics to hide the fact that they’re fired half their writers.

    Anyway, if a three-inch height difference was that much of a turnoff to Audrey Tatou, either she’s absurdly shallow or she didn’t like him as much as he thought he did.

  45. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles November 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm |

    @Chuck

    I think it’s already been established that there is nothing wrong with being attracted to someone and wanting to talk to them because they are attractive. What the commenters here have said over and over and over is that he is fetishizing her, viewing her as a prize, a neat little token because she is french, and he’s always wanted his very own french girl! IT IS CREEPY.

  46. Jadey
    Jadey November 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm |

    I’m done with you now, Chuck. There is a level of educating going on in this thread that I’m not interested in providing. I have one more comment in moderation that is addressed more generally to the thread, but I am not interested in talking this out with you. Either you will figure it out or you won’t.

  47. LC
    LC November 23, 2010 at 5:04 pm |

    As a short guy, I will be super-sympathetic to others who are pointing out how society really does have a height bias.

    This piece was still pretty terrible, though. It struck me as trying *way* too hard to be “artful” as it goes through the elaborate run-on sentence. Maybe the writer really isn’t that clueless as to how much of a douche he sounds with his sports metaphors and inane chatter about having a pretty French girl, and this was an attempt to make the “twist ending” more shocking. I’m willing to be generous and hope that was the plan.

    Clearly, this failed, since he comes across like an entitled, whiny prat.

  48. Ron O
    Ron O November 23, 2010 at 5:05 pm |

    His “amazing story about the prince of Monaco” is probably not nearly as amazing as he thinks it is. His prose bears this out. There is little in there about what she has to say. My guess is height had little to do with her quick exit.

    I’ve average height and I’ve dated women taller and shorter than me. Some taller women have rejected me for being too short, but others haven’t cared about that more than other good qualities.

  49. Jeff
    Jeff November 23, 2010 at 5:10 pm |

    GG

    I think we’ll have to agree to disagree with how we interpret this text. I don’t see the author trying to own or sexualize the woman, but clearly you’ve reached that conclusion and I’ll respect that.

    I never said anything about how being short erases my privileges as a man, nor did I mean to imply that being a short guy is worse than being a tall woman or a fat woman or a handicapped man or POC or any other “non ideal.” I’m not shooting to enter the Oppression Olympics here. Hell, I’m not even saying the post is all that well written.

    My only 3 points were 1. you’re taking a particularly antagonistic interpretation against the author for reasons I can’t find in the text and that 2. there is privilege in being a tall man that is distinct from the privileges of being a man in general, and 3. the idea of an “ideal body” hurts both women and men.

    I won’t say it hurts them equally, because I think everybody here could agree that it doesn’t, but I bet you that I* probably, probably know more about rejection and shame than you’d give me credit for.

    *short, hirsute, and with a body that could generously be described as mediocre

    If you want to be snide, it’s your choice. I’ll keep my end respectful, and I’d appreciate it if you would do the same, though.

  50. Jeff
    Jeff November 23, 2010 at 5:12 pm |

    Clearly I fail at HTML.

    I meant to quote the “Aww, short guys have it *tough*” and the text that is currently quoted was my intended response.

    My apologies.

  51. ShelbyWoo
    ShelbyWoo November 23, 2010 at 5:13 pm |

    It seems clear that he was disappointed that she was taller than he was, and quite probably he wouldn’t have pursued things – but she rejected him first.
    They’re both shallow.

    Rejected him how? Neither of them asked the other for anything. She simply left after a conversation with a stranger – how is that rejecting him? And since we have absolutely no idea what she was thinking, I do not see how you can call her shallow.

  52. Li
    Li November 23, 2010 at 5:17 pm |

    Yeah, so: “here is this anecdote about this woman in a hipster coffee shop” totes works for a livejournal post, but generally op eds require at least a tiny amount of contextualisation and argumentation. So, like, I get the whole SHORT MEN ARE TEH OPPRESSED vibe some of the commenters here seem to be going with, but like, an anecdote, or anecdata more generally, is not really the best contribution ever. Especially since, as people have pointed out, even if this particular anecdote isn’t a totes-flattering-to-the-anecdouche misrepresentation, it’s still kinda creepy reading.

  53. ShelbyWoo
    ShelbyWoo November 23, 2010 at 5:25 pm |

    Either way, if he is of average height and she just happens to be extremely tall for a woman, her leaving the scene because he is “only” average speaks worse about her.

    You, like the author, have absolutely no idea what this woman was thinking when she left.

  54. Sid
    Sid November 23, 2010 at 5:33 pm |

    Bitter Scribe: To get the full scale of the ridiculousness of this piece, you had to see the version in the dead-tree Tribune. The type was arranged around an enormous graphic of a tape measure tied in a knot, which was supposed to represent…the author’s heart? His dick? Who knows. It was part of the Tribune’s ongoing use of huge, inane graphics to hide the fact that they’re fired half their writers.Anyway, if a three-inch height difference was that much of a turnoff to Audrey Tatou, either she’s absurdly shallow or she didn’t like him as much as he thought he did.  

    I agree its bizarre to have as an op-ed and relatively poorly written, but I think it’s being pretty ungenerously read here. I very much don’t understand where people read his sexualizing her as he never mentions anything about wanting to sleep with her or even that he finds the woman in question sexually as opposed to just plain attractive. He seems to, at least in his eyes, be genuinely connecting to her.

    I think his “objectification” could be reasonably read as his anxiousness at being so close to hitting it off with an archetypal fantasy woman he’s envisioned. As he indicates right after the description, what he meant by auburn-haired Audrey Tautou was “someone elelegant, smart, sophisticated” and his god-awful baseball metaphor could reasonably be read as experiencing the exhiliration of accomplishing a tremendous feat, namely landing a date with the fantasy woman.

  55. Donna L
    Donna L November 23, 2010 at 5:37 pm |

    Enh. Reading what he wrote a second time, I have a much more negative reaction to it than I did at first. I tend to empathize automatically with the problems very short men have, because I used to live as one. And because my son is one (although he isn’t straight, so it’s not really the same situation at all). But, as someone pointed out, among many other things, who knows if this guy was that short in the first place.

    PS re “Napoleon complex”: I thought everyone knew by now that that’s a base canard, just propaganda spread by the British. He was really 5′ 6 1/2″, above average for his time, and “le petit Corporal” had nothing to do with his height. It also has something to do with 5′ 2″ in French measurement not being the same as the British, and actually equaling 5′ 6.5″.

  56. stonebiscuit
    stonebiscuit November 23, 2010 at 5:49 pm |

    I’m way over average height for women (and men, actually). mr. biscuit is four or five inches shorter than me, but so far we haven’t had any problems. Shit like this bores me to death. There is no universal law that women have to be shorter than the men they date, and anyone who says differently is just stupid.

  57. David
    David November 23, 2010 at 5:55 pm |

    Sid: I agree its bizarre to have as an op-ed and relatively poorly written, but I think it’s being pretty ungenerously read here.I very much don’t understand where people read his sexualizing her as he never mentions anything about wanting to sleep with her or even that he finds the woman in question sexually as opposed to just plain attractive.He seems to, at least in his eyes, be genuinely connecting to her.
    I think his “objectification” could be reasonably read as his anxiousness at being so close to hitting it off with an archetypal fantasy woman he’s envisioned.As he indicates right after the description, what he meant by auburn-haired Audrey Tautou was “someone elelegant, smart, sophisticated”and his god-awful baseball metaphor could reasonably be read as experiencing the exhiliration of accomplishing a tremendous feat, namely landing a date with the fantasy woman.  

    Thank you Sid, for putting it so eloquently.

  58. zuzu
    zuzu November 23, 2010 at 6:00 pm |

    Chuck: Jadey:OK.I’ll refrain from that type of language.I’m just curious what exactly is wrong with what that man wrote.Let me just give an example of why I think the condemnation of the op-ed is unfair.Let’s pretend that this was written by a woman who was overweight, and it detailed her online encounter with a man that she really wanted to meet and started having long-term fantasies about.But when the man found out that she was overweight he stopped talking to her.My feeling, based upon other content I’ve read here, is that you would empathize with the woman and blame unfair norms for that.But you don’t seem to extend the same empathy to the man who wrote this op-ed.  

    Chuck, dude, if someone doesn’t disclose salient points in their online profile about appearance, marital status, etc., or actively lies about them, and then shows up and doesn’t actually match description or photo by a wide margin, that person really has to work on either their self-esteem or their sense of entitlement. Because the rejection is more about deception than anything else.

    Also, too, it’s not like shorter men don’t often make it difficult for taller women to forget the height differential. I’ve run across a few of those, and it gets really fucking tiresome. And it really doesn’t matter if it’s due to the dude’s insecurity or his Amazon fetish, it gets old.

  59. zuzu
    zuzu November 23, 2010 at 6:16 pm |

    Sid: I agree its bizarre to have as an op-ed and relatively poorly written, but I think it’s being pretty ungenerously read here. I very much don’t understand where people read his sexualizing her as he never mentions anything about wanting to sleep with her or even that he finds the woman in question sexually as opposed to just plain attractive. He seems to, at least in his eyes, be genuinely connecting to her.

    I think his “objectification” could be reasonably read as his anxiousness at being so close to hitting it off with an archetypal fantasy woman he’s envisioned. As he indicates right after the description, what he meant by auburn-haired Audrey Tautou was “someone elelegant, smart, sophisticated” and his god-awful baseball metaphor could reasonably be read as experiencing the exhiliration of accomplishing a tremendous feat, namely landing a date with the fantasy woman.

    You do know what the baseball metaphor is all about, right?

  60. Paraxeni
    Paraxeni November 23, 2010 at 6:30 pm |

    @Tec – exactly. They met, talked, she went to wherever she was going. Where was the mockery, the rejection, the reason for “BAAAAAAAAAW Women are shallow and eeeevil!”? Was she *really* supposed to what… walk out hand in hand with him? Ask him for his number? Sounds like another deluded guy who thinks that women, especially ~~~exotic~~~ women, are simply enthralled by the likes of Mr Coffee-Shop Coolpoints, and that they ‘owe him’ for enlightening their coffee-break with his witty repartee and dashing charm.

    @Chuck – women’s privilege? Do go on… and by that I mean ‘Stop’. I believe I’ve already laughed so hard that I’m haemorrhaging.

    @David – someone’s judging men? Whooooah noooo, STOP THE PRESSES! Judgement is reserved for use against women only.

    Quickly, call the Brolice on whine-one-one.

  61. Maggie Gordon
    Maggie Gordon November 23, 2010 at 6:47 pm |

    You know, sometimes I talk with strangers in cafes and I have no intention of ever talking to them again. And sometimes it can get a bit awkward when you leave because you are wondering if the person you were talking with is going to hit you up for your Facebook/email/cell and how to nicely tell them that you’re not all that interested in anything more than a single chat. This is particularly problematic if you were a woman dealing with a man since any interest is often attributed as flirting rather than simple enjoyment of another person’s company.

    But hey, it totes must have been about height.

  62. Sad Fag Funk
    Sad Fag Funk November 23, 2010 at 6:50 pm |

    @Chuck, etc.: Ugh, I hate this in-fighting.

    But seriously, this op-ed was a joke. He refers to her as his very own “Audrey Tautau,” uses baseball as a metaphor for conversation with a woman (do i need to explain how this is problematic?), and is really only pleased with her insofar as she matches up to his personal fantasy.

    It’s not the fact that he’s attracted to her and disappointed when things don’t work out that is really the problem. It’s the way that he, apparently, thinks about relationships with women.

    None of this is to say that he feels no pain not “measuring up” (har har) to a culturally determined standard, but perhaps that pain could, in the long run, be instructive for him in understanding the systematic cultural IMPERATIVES so many women all over the world have to grapple with every day to claim their own identities (often from people very much like this poor shortie).

  63. David
    David November 23, 2010 at 7:01 pm |

    Paraxeni:
    @David – someone’s judging men?Whooooah noooo, STOP THE PRESSES!Judgement is reserved for use against women only.
    Quickly, call the Brolice on whine-one-one.  

    Oh, I love trolls.

  64. Nahida
    Nahida November 23, 2010 at 7:01 pm |

    Maybe she wasn’t interested in him from the beginning and was just being polite. Or it was awkward toward the end because she wasn’t sure how to close the conversation. Or when she stood up and he was like OH NO SHE’S TALL she SENSED his disappointment and was overly self-conscious. Way for this guy to not give her credit and then insult her later by accusing her–or society–of being shallow. He just did the exact same thing. Like WTF.

  65. Jadey
    Jadey November 23, 2010 at 7:22 pm |

    @ David

    Paraxeni is not a troll. Snark /= troll. Troll = someone deliberating stirring up shit for their own amusement by expressing extreme opinions that they do not actually endorse in communities where those opinions are fodder for outrage. There are many ways to troll a feminist community, but being snarky in the vein of “What about the menz?!” is not really one of them.

  66. jeff
    jeff November 23, 2010 at 7:38 pm |

    someone’s judging men? Whooooah noooo, STOP THE PRESSES! Judgement is reserved for use against women only.

    Quickly, call the Brolice on whine-one-one.

    Hey, Oppression Olympics are awesome, aren’t they? “Your experiences being on the wrong side of privileged is totally unimportant compared with THIS person’s experience, which is SO MUCH WORSE.”

    What if instead of trivializing a guys experience with discrimination, privilege, and shame you said “Yeah, being discriminated or shamed against sucks doesn’t it? Women, Gays, POC and people with disabilities have a lot of similar problems in modern society, but we’ve established a community committed to working together to overcome it. You’re welcome to help!”

    Trolling men who are complaining about man/man discrimination isn’t going to win any converts and it supports this idiotic idea of the “feminazi.” Men can be very valuable to the feminist movement. Men can talk to other men in ways and places women can’t, and a man’s peer group can have a lot of influence on his behavior regarding women. Finding the feminst movement has vastly increased my understanding of my own privelege and I try not to exploit it as best I can, and I try my damnedest to inform my peers about theirs, even when I get shit for it.

    Increasing the number of men who are willing to examine their own privilege is a good thing, isn’t it? What if we built bridges to this community with understanding and respect for their (limited) experiences with discrimination instead of harassing and alienating them?

    Also: Successful troll is successful.

  67. jeff
    jeff November 23, 2010 at 7:39 pm |

    man, I REALLY fail at HTML. Sorry again. I’m going to go throw myself in a fire for my sins against web design. :)

  68. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub November 23, 2010 at 7:43 pm |

    Let me get this straight: It’s somehow shallow and rude of a woman to end a conversation with a stranger and go about her day. How, exactly? Oh, because we don’t get to choose what to do with our own fucking time or lives. A woman’s agency is so very offensive.

    But women have privilege. Fuck right off with that nonsense.

  69. La Lubu
    La Lubu November 23, 2010 at 7:45 pm |

    His description: “pretty French girl sitting next you in a hipster coffee shop, who has that delicate French beauty, the Audrey Tautou kind,”

    Gee, what does he mean by that? delicate French beauty, the Audrey Tautou kind? Ya think he was referring to her being very petite? And that petiteness being the whole reason for his attraction?

    And then there she goes and stands up. How dare she not be petite. Damn. Too bad. She could have been so cute had she actually been the size of Audrey Tautou (5’3″).

    And we’re supposed to feel sorry for this twerp? Bah.

  70. Sad Fag Funk
    Sad Fag Funk November 23, 2010 at 7:56 pm |

    @Sheelzebub: YES.

    but, also, this guy did have the privilege of getting his “side” of this social encounter as an op-ed in the chicago tribune. male privilege, maybe?

  71. Sid
    Sid November 23, 2010 at 8:01 pm |

    zuzu:
    You do know what the baseball metaphor is all about, right?  

    Sure, but I think you have to work extremely hard to read the “glory of your destiny” as engaging in PIV intercourse given the context of the piece.

  72. Tom Foolery
    Tom Foolery November 23, 2010 at 9:01 pm |

    If he wasn’t guilty of anything before, he is now guilty of spawning this absolute shit-show of a thread. Why he’s worthy of both the level of defense and the level of contempt shown to him, I simply do not understand.

  73. Paraxeni
    Paraxeni November 23, 2010 at 9:29 pm |

    Cheers Jadey!

    David – person you disagree with=/=troll.

    Sorry to say that it was your plaintive “What about the poor MENZ?” cries on a feminist (the clue is in the name dude) blog that triggered my outburst. I mean, come on.

    I know that as a privileged being it’s hard, oh so hard, for you to accept that you can still be subject to mockery/judgement/whatever, but are you truly saying that it’s equivalent to the policing of women? Are you honestly trying to suggest that not-tall men could ever understand what it’s like to be simultaneously too fat and too thin, too old and too young, too ‘forward’ and too shy, too chaste and too sexually provocative, overdressed and underdressed all at the SAME TIME simply for trying to gauge the millimetre wide line in the middle that confers approval from society?

    Do you really mean to infer that Mr Napoleon Complex suffers the same oppression, degradation and hardships for merely existing that women do?

    You implied that this piece wasn’t newsworthy (even though it’s an opinion blog, not news), but you stick around anyway to tell us dumb wimmenz that the whole piece was about all women not seeing shorter men as socially acceptable dates, then you stick up for the guy’s objectification by saying he had a right to speak to this woman because he was ‘interested’ in her language of origin, then the cherry on the cake – you tell someone who lacks your privilege that ‘MEN HAVE IT BAD TOOOO!’.

    And you call me a troll? Ironic.

  74. Sarah
    Sarah November 23, 2010 at 10:10 pm |

    No one ever tells the sort of people who go to Yale Law School that their thoughts are not brilliant, special snowflakes worthy of being broadcast to the world.

  75. David
    David November 23, 2010 at 10:15 pm |

    Paraxeni:
    Cheers Jadey!
    David – person you disagree with=/=troll.
    Sorry to say that it was your plaintive “What about the poor MENZ?” cries on a feminist (the clue is in the name dude) blog that triggered my outburst.I mean, come on.
    I know that as a privileged being it’s hard, oh so hard, for you to accept that you can still be subject to mockery/judgement/whatever, but are you truly saying that it’s equivalent to the policing of women?Are you honestly trying to suggest that not-tall men could ever understand what it’s like to be simultaneously too fat and too thin, too old and too young, too ‘forward’ and too shy, too chaste and too sexually provocative, overdressed and underdressed all at the SAME TIME simply for trying to gauge the millimetre wide line in the middle that confers approval from society?
    Do you really mean to infer that Mr Napoleon Complex suffers the same oppression, degradation and hardships for merely existing that women do?
    You implied that this piece wasn’t newsworthy (even though it’s an opinion blog, not news), but you stick around anyway to tell us dumb wimmenzthat the whole piece was about all women not seeing shorter men as socially acceptable dates,then you stick up for the guy’s objectification by saying he had a right to speak to this woman because he was ‘interested’ in her language of origin, then the cherry on the cake – you tell someone who lacks your privilege that ‘MEN HAVE IT BAD TOOOO!’.
    And you call me a troll?Ironic.  

    No, the piece isn’t newsworthy and I still stand by that statement. No, I didn’t call anybody dumb wimmenz and I really think its presumptious of you to think that I’m commenting on this thread because you mistakenly believe that I think women are dumb. When I quoted someone and mentioned that oppression cut both ways it was because the person in question acted as if in dating, men aren’t judged primarily on their looks.

    If you want to attribute ‘Men have it bad too’ to me, you’re going to have to do better than that. The most that I’ve posted were four brief posts, more or less a comment on the hyperbolic overreaction I’ve seen to the original article. They were in effect, an attempt to view the man who wrote the original as more than the “napoleonic complex, misogynist male” that people seem to make him out to be. I really don’t buy that he was interested in her because she speaks French, but then again, I as a bystander know next to nothing about why this guy is interested in French women so it feels kind of weird to be making so many presumptions about him.

    and you’re right. I don’t even know why I’m posting in this thread anymore. Presumably on the grounds that people could have a discussion about something interesting. If it’s going to turn into oppression olympics or a “hey everybody, let’s crucify some random dude on the internet who made the mistake of inartfully posting about some chick he almost dated” I’m done.

  76. Brigid Keely
    Brigid Keely November 23, 2010 at 10:58 pm |

    That piece is straight up poorly written and incredibly self indulgent. The language used is awful… the woman is treated as an object to impress and possess. There’s description of the man’s side of the conversation, but nothing about the woman other than her physical appearance and some bullshit about her irises aligning with his (what the fuck dude, seriously, do you have a copy of “the rules” tucked into your back pocket or something?). And then they stand, he, to continue the sports metaphors shoved ham handedly into this piece “fumbles” the ball, and she leaves either because she isn’t really interested in him and he built up a huge fantasy out of nothing more than boredom and patience on her end, or because she’s had years and years of men finding her disgustingly tall oh my GOD she isn’t DAINTY AT ALL.

    Glad the Trib is firing their staff writers and refusing to pay their freelance writers so crap like this can be published. The Trib used to be my go-to paper due to its higher level of writing and less sinking to race baiting (so. much. racism. during the 90s) than the Sun-Times. But its quality has been dropping for a long time and now, apparently, they’re resorting to publishing LJ entries. Kind of glad I haven’t had a subscription for a few years.

  77. Athenia
    Athenia November 23, 2010 at 11:29 pm |

    Ok, if this dude really “hit it out of the ballpark” then this woman would have been jumping his bones, no matter how tall he was.

    Or, maybe she was a lesbian. Just sayin’.

  78. bellacoker
    bellacoker November 23, 2010 at 11:55 pm |

    I don’t think we ladies are the intended audience for Mr. Pedersen’s piece, it says right in the title.

  79. Martine Votvik
    Martine Votvik November 24, 2010 at 1:02 am |

    One thing that is sort of clever about the piece is how it doesn’t state the actual height of the people involved. Thus it can reach two groups of men with equal impact. 1, short men who harbour lots of pain from rejection which sometimes stems from their stature, but most of the time from “maybe she’s not that into you.” 2, average height or tall men who are terrefied of dating taller women and feel a need to put the blame for their discomfort on the women. I mean, could it ever be that the reason why she walked out was because he looked at her with shock and horror?

  80. Mina
    Mina November 24, 2010 at 1:30 am |

    “SHORT MEN ARE TEH OPPRESSED”

    Kind of unusual to think otherwise, no offence. This is coming from a (very) short woman who feels the height bias in our society. and yes, it’s right up there with thin priviledge -save the fact that there is an overwhelmingly positive response to body acceptance for the full-figured. Many are beginning to recognize the way in which standards of beauty are biased in favour of the thin, and many are well aware of how insensitive certain remarks may be to full-figured people. However, it’s still considered quite acceptable to jibe at somebody’s height (short OR tall), or make assumptions about said person’s abilities or as the article (attempts) to illustrate, romantic potential. So no, other posters (Chuck and David) are not merely saying, “WHAT ABOUT TEH MENZ?”

    that said, i didn’t love the piece -the sense i got from it was “OMG TALL WIMMINZ-I CAN’T GET WITH HER! “. It really treated her height as a problem -which is something she can’t help.

  81. Lindsey
    Lindsey November 24, 2010 at 1:35 am |

    Okay. Usually I’m a bit of a lurker but I haaave to comment here.

    As a woman who is definitely taller than average (6’1″), I cannot even tell you how many times I have been talking and flirting with a guy when I’m sitting, only to watch him scurry away when I eventually stand up. I can GUARANTEE you that she saw the look of disappointment on his face when she stood up, and immediately wanted to get the fuck out of there, thinking “that’s that”. And trust me, from the way he wrote this, he could NOT conceal his look of disappointment. She did not reject him, she read his body language that said, “oh I thought you were so cute and French and tiny! How dare you deceive and emasculate me by being slightly taller!” It’s the feeling of being looked up and down, evaluated, judged, and I know exactly how she feels.

    I have an extreme shortage of patience for men who cry and whine about how they’re too short to date any woman they want, and acting as if “oh boo hoo women are tewtel bitchez who have high standards and poor me”. This is the result of the PATRIARCHY, folks. Saying that women are privileged in the height arena is really fucking laughable, to be honest.

  82. Constance Lambson
    Constance Lambson November 24, 2010 at 4:27 am |

    I disagree with everyone: I liked the piece.

    The author was pretty clear about his viewpoint: he’s socially awkward, shy, and definitely fetishizing a pretty girl in a standard and very minor geek way. He overcomes his fears and whoa! she actually seems kind of interested in him, in return–even though he knows (the author makes explicit) that he’s the guy that always tells the same one “good” story in his repertoire in every situation, but for once it actually goes well.

    Ambitiously, he starts building a fantasy future life in his head, even though he knows that it’s unlikely, based only on a few minutes of what seem to be pleasant conversation. They stand up at the same time, for an unknown reason, look at each other, and she makes a comment that he perceives as non-invitational.

    Maybe end is where the story falls apart a little, perhaps because it is too ambivalent. She may be insecure, but we don’t know that, we only know that he is. So he is reporting his feelings of disappointment during that ambiguous moment at the end; she may have felt rejected, but that’s not within the scope of the author/narrator’s purview. It’s first person intimate: he’s not telling her story, he’s telling his. The entire piece feels more like a love letter than a diatribe, imo.

    As a result, I think that this piece is the wrong target for a pile-on. I am sympathetic to the author and also to the “object of his desire.” If it were written by a woman-I did attempt the exercise of switching genders to test my feelings-I would feel the same sympathy.

    I think the only villains in the op-ed (leaving aside the question of whether it’s appropriate for an op-ed, which considering this thread, I’m thinking maybe “yes,” versus my initial “no” vote) is a society in which gender performance is so binary and schismatic, and talking about it so divisive. Both of the performers in this piece lose.

  83. Constance Lambson
    Constance Lambson November 24, 2010 at 4:28 am |

    “Both of the performers in this piece lose.”
    I accidentally didn’t paste the last sentence. It should have been:
    Both of the performers in this piece lose. Why don’t we talk about why that is?

  84. Natalia
    Natalia November 24, 2010 at 5:18 am |

    Eh.

    Attraction is often very shallow in its initial stages. I see nothing weird about that – whether it’s coming from a man or a woman.

    But I also lived with a guy way shorter than I am for 6 years, and we almost wound up doing the whole marriage-and-babies thing, so I can’t exactly relate to this whole “OMG she is too tall for me” thing.

    It sucks, it’s stupid, and if I had that mindset, I would have missed out on many happy years with a great guy.

    So while the run-on sentence was merely annoying, I wound up feeling very sad for both of the heroes of this tale.

  85. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl November 24, 2010 at 8:33 am |

    “What is so objectionable about this man’s post? Besides it being poorly placed on the op-ed page. ”

    He placed the blame for his insecurities on the woman.

  86. chris y
    chris y November 24, 2010 at 9:29 am |

    As a guy who has happily lived with a woman eight inches taller than myself for 30 years, I can say that among the wide range of foolish, ignorant and offensive remarks from strangers we have both endured, the weirdest (to me) are those from men who try to suggest that I must be some kind of superstud to hold onto so much woman (almost verbatim in one case).

    Like our relationship undermines their security?

  87. Q Grrl
    Q Grrl November 24, 2010 at 9:50 am |

    “I think his “objectification” could be reasonably read as his anxiousness at being so close to hitting it off with an archetypal fantasy woman he’s envisioned.”

    Shorter: I think his “objectification” could be reasonably read as objectification.

  88. Sarah
    Sarah November 24, 2010 at 10:28 am |

    So clearly this piece sucks as an op-ed. Who cares about this asshole’s dating problems?

    And then…it also sucks as an anecdote! I could sympathize with the guy at first a little bit, just because I’m also really attracted to the sophisticated-French-girl types…but then…oh no, she’s TALLER than him? So of course they both agree they can never go out? What a waste of a possibly good hookup due to idiotic sexist gender rules.

    Not to mention the tragically bad writing style.

    Moral for hetero girls: never date a guy from Yale Law School. Moral for hetero guys/bi and lesbian girls: next time you meet a hot girl, don’t act like an asshole regardless of how tall she is, and you *might* actually have a chance of dating her.

  89. Donna L
    Donna L November 24, 2010 at 11:50 am |

    “I know that as a privileged being it’s hard, oh so hard, for you to accept that you can still be subject to mockery/judgement/whatever, but are you truly saying that it’s equivalent to the policing of women? Are you honestly trying to suggest that not-tall men could ever understand what it’s like to be simultaneously too fat and too thin, too old and too young, too ‘forward’ and too shy, too chaste and too sexually provocative, overdressed and underdressed all at the SAME TIME simply for trying to gauge the millimetre wide line in the middle that confers approval from society?

    Do you really mean to infer that Mr Napoleon Complex suffers the same oppression, degradation and hardships for merely existing that women do?”

    I think this comment goes beyond the piece itself, so I won’t address “Mr. Napoleon Complex” himself again. I think that subject has been exhausted at this point.

    As someone who has had the rather unusual experience of living as *both* an extremely short (not just a short) man and as a woman, I can assure you — as I said before — that it’s *not* the same. To give just one example, with respect to approved appearance, the expectations and pressures and policing and the “can’t win no matter what” rule aren’t remotely the same for a man, even a 5′ 2″ man, as they are for a woman.

    But was anyone saying that they are the same? I thought that all people were saying is that extremely short men (and we have no idea if the author of the piece was particularly short in the first place) do experience discrimination in all sorts of ways, with not being taken seriously one of the primary common denominators.

    And I have no doubt whatsoever that the experience of living as an extremely short man for so many years made my transition a lot easier; I’m not talking about the “passing”/blending in aspects, but the social aspects, and the fact that I think there wasn’t nearly as much of a sense of entitlement to lose. I wasn’t used to getting a whole lot of respect, or to being taken seriously, or to feeling safe and not physically vulnerable, so being perceived and treated as a woman didn’t feel like an entirely foreign experience. The caveat, of course, is that most trans people I know never really had much of a sense of entitlement no matter how tall they were; I never did have the experience of being a cisgendered short man so I can’t attest to what that’s like. Still, people didn’t necessarily know I wasn’t cis, so to that extent I suspect my experiences were similar to those of cis short men.

    In short (sorry!), I don’t think the sneering is necessary or appropriate.

  90. Vail
    Vail November 24, 2010 at 12:57 pm |

    What if “French” was replaced by “Asian?” I think it’s creepy that this guy was probably making all sorts of assumptions about this woman based on her Nationality, just like some men fantasize about Asian women based on their race.

  91. Esther
    Esther November 24, 2010 at 1:16 pm |

    David: This doesn’t even remotely read like a “how dare she be taller than me!”. It’s more like a “oh, damn, I hate how society makes it so that taller men have to date shorter women”.  (Quote this comment?)

    I agree. It was badly written, but it was a guy lamenting that dating is harder for him because he is short.

    There is a fat-acceptance movement which is largely supported by feminists. Why can’t there be a similarly supported height-acceptance movement too?

    Arbitrary beauty standards hurt everyone. They hurt women more, *as a general rule*, but they hurt men too. This guy was getting along nicely with a girl and then she lost interest because he was short.

  92. Miss S
    Miss S November 24, 2010 at 2:08 pm |

    I didn’t particularly care for the article but I don’t think it was horrible. I think the idea that men are expected to be tall and muscular is worth exploring.

    I also think the comments in this section are evidence that the ideal for women is always changing, or different within different groups. I’ve always heard that the ideal is tall and slender, so it’s interesting to hear tall women say that men prefer shorter women. I’ve also heard short women say that men prefer taller women.

  93. redredrobin
    redredrobin November 24, 2010 at 2:12 pm |

    Here’s what I don’t get: models are tall. Unusually tall. Somebody mentioned that average height for women is 5″6′ but I believe it’s actually 5″4′, and the big modeling agencies rarely even look at a woman less than 5″9′, which is also the average height for men. What does this mean? Here are women (granted they have other attributes, but their height is essential) who get paid lots of money because they’re at least 5 inches taller than the average woman. Do you think anyone’s gone up to Tyra Banks lately and asked her to stop wearing heels? Or does her fame cancel out the height problem? Or is it being beautiful? Is the lesson here that it’s OK to be a tall woman if you’re a famous model? Cause I doubt any man would get really bent out of shape if he got to have dinner with Heidi Klum, even if she wore her highest heels.

    NB: My mom is 6 ft tall in her stocking feet and has been married twice, both times to average-height men. The only thing she ever complained about re. her height was that when she was growing up in a dot-on-the-map town it was hard to get clothes. Maybe that’s why I don’t get what the huge deal is, but –doesn’t anyone remember Sonny and Cher? Morticia and Gomez? Homer and Marge? Popeye and Olive Oyl? Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in “Annie Hall”? Michael J Fox and —anybody?

  94. Kaz
    Kaz November 24, 2010 at 4:17 pm |

    I don’t even care about the height thing, I was thoroughly creeped out by this guy halfway through the paragraph o’doom. The objectification seemed so obvious to me – things like how the only reason he cared about where she was from was so that he could tell his amazing joke about Monaco!, how it is CLEAR that the only reason he’s talking to her is because of the possibility of dating, how there is nothing at all about her interests, her personality, what she does just that she is French and cute and laughs at his jokes and hangs on his every word, how he views getting her number as a sure thing, how he thinks of dating “his own auburn-haired Audrey Tautou” (you know if after a conversation you still can’t give the woman the status of a person instead of a stand-in for your fantasy you have a PROBLEM)… ugh, ugh, ugh, mouthwash please. I was putting myself in the place of the French woman, and if I ever found out that someone I’d met had been thinking of me like that when we were talking I’d be furious and disgusted and never want to say a word to the person again (bar, possibly, “you are a horrible misogynist excuse for a human being”).

  95. Gorbachev
    Gorbachev November 24, 2010 at 4:31 pm |

    If this was reversed and there was some “disqualifying” of the female going on, ie, if the woman was fat, then the criticism of the piece would be very different.

    I know a number of short men. I also know a very large number of women. Almost every single one, without exception, has said with complete clarity that they would not – and emphasize not – date shorter men. I’ve had no end of conversations about how “great a guy is” but — he’s not my type. When it’s a factor, this invariably boils down to – he’s too short.

    Any woman denying that this is a massive, overwhelming attribute that determines whether a woman finds a man attractive or not is a bald-faced liar or is delusional. Feminist or not.

    This is obviously not the man’s problem: He understands that women want taller men; and women want taller men.

    If you disbelieve this and want to rag on the short guy, on feminist grounds (which is absurd beyond belief), then go out and have conversations with 100 random women, women who date men.

    See what they say.

    Then come back.

  96. Jadey
    Jadey November 24, 2010 at 4:42 pm |

    Esther: This guy was getting along nicely with a girl and then she lost interest because he was short.

    There’s a whole series of assumptions being made in this statement which have been challenged repeatedly throughout this thread as being false or at the very least not definitively certain enough to form the basis of further arguments.

    redredrobin: Here’s what I don’t get: models are tall. Unusually tall. Somebody mentioned that average height for women is 5″6′ but I believe it’s actually 5″4′, and the big modeling agencies rarely even look at a woman less than 5″9′, which is also the average height for men. What does this mean? Here are women (granted they have other attributes, but their height is essential) who get paid lots of money because they’re at least 5 inches taller than the average woman.

    Because the only thing separating models from “average” women is their height, yes? Or is it not also a host of of other physiologically extraordinary characteristics (such as being exceptionally thin), as well as being white or light-skinned and having traditionally “European” features? Hardly representative of tall women in general. We are conflating height and attractiveness here, without accounting for the ways in which they are different as well as the ways in which they relate.

    There is such a thing as a height bias. It is important. It impacts men and women both. It also intersects with a lot of issues – height is partially related to nutrition, especially at a young age, so poverty/economic status/class/global location (all different, but inter-related) play a huge role here. Racism also factors in, partially as a function of poverty/economic status/class/global location. Short people are discriminated against. Short people who do not conform to gendered binary norms are especially discriminated against. Tall people who do not conform to gendered binary norms are discriminated against. Short and tall people who do not meet gendered binary attractiveness standards are discriminated against. This article is a pretty poor representation of any of these issues and intersections, given the degree to which sexism and male privilege and entitlement seep into every damn word of it.

    It conversation does not break down to a “Tall women have female privilege!” It breaks down to “Women are expected to conform to standards, including occasionally conflicting standards, which can be in service of specific men directly, but are also frequently in service of overarching patriarchal standards that hurt men and women both.”

  97. Jadey
    Jadey November 24, 2010 at 4:54 pm |

    *I want to clarify that my reference to “poverty/economic status/class/global location” factors covers not only the causes of shortness (some of them – not all), but also the perceptions of what shortness means based on learned (directly, or, importantly, vicariously – i.e., what media/peers/”commonsense”/etc. tells us) patterns, regardless of the actual antecedents of height for a particular individual. To the extent that we associate height with certain backgrounds or social characteristics (e.g., Asian women are short! Tall, attractive, well-groomed people are successful and high class!), we bind it up in a number of assumptions and stereotypes of variable veracity.

    I also forgot to include ableism. Because we use height partly as an indicator of health and physical status (because partly it is, though, again, not completely), we also transport in a lot of biased assumptions about health and ability on to it. Small/short = fragile, weak, cute, elfin, childlike, childish, needing help, etc. Ageism also fits into this model, for similar reasons.

    So, yeah, height. Still doesn’t account for being an asshole.

  98. Jadey
    Jadey November 24, 2010 at 5:29 pm |

    And, oh my god, I can’t believe I didn’t include this one, but that’s probably because it is super obvious, but height bias also has a lot to do with sexism and misogyny, because short = feminine/female. Again with the weak, fragile, cute, helpless,etc. also also the less intimidating, less powerful (read: less masculine), and of course the fact that, averaging over a lot of other factors (see above) women AS A GROUP AVERAGED TOGETHER tend to be slightly smaller than men AS A GROUP AVERAGED TOGETHER. Never mind that these artificially binarized groups also have heftily overlapping distributions, such that it really isn’t that uncommon to find women who are taller than men. While it is neither the statistical average or the socially-prescribed norm, it is still well within the range of normal. (Anyone unfamiliar with the differences between norms, normality, and normativity can look at the Sociological Images link there; for an example of what overlapping distributions look like and their conceptual significance, try that link.)

    So short = bad also encompasses feminine/female = bad (and it should be clear where this sucks for short guys), but it also intersects with conformity = good, so short women = conforming to the idea that women are short (and also bad), which is good, and short men = failure to conform to the idea that men are tall (or taller than women, at least!), which is bad. And also they are (or could be) “feminized”, which is also bad, both because non-conformity is bad and being female/feminine is bad.

    For tall women = good, this really only happens where tall = good (wealthy, healthy, attractive), where women conforming to “female” standards = good, and where a certain amount of objectifying exoticism all come into play (we like conformity, but non-conformity can be fun if it isn’t threatening), which is why we like tall models as non-threatening objects of aesthetic and sexual pleasure, providing they conform strongly to attractiveness and femininity standards. If a tall woman were to tap too much into the intimidating, powerful, confident aspects of being tall, she would lose the glow of acceptable non-conformity. (Not for every single person ever, obviously, in general in society, yeah. Unless she were tokenized as the sole acceptable exception, deligitimizing other “exceptions”, which has an actual name in social psych that I can’t remember right now.)

    Okay. So that is the conversation I wanted to have.

  99. Jadey
    Jadey November 24, 2010 at 5:33 pm |

    I am amused that, of the three comments I made, it was my last, my longest one, and my link be-laden one that managed to bypass the apparently capricious moderation selection algorithm (if it is an algorithm and not just a random output generator or a monkey with a button). I have given up trying to figure out how that thing decides which comments to hold and which to let scurry past unhindered.

  100. Matt
    Matt November 24, 2010 at 6:32 pm |

    I’m back-and-forth as to whether or not to comment here, because on the one hand I don’t think this brief and somewhat poorly-written anecdote deserves this much analysis, yet I find myself interested in the discussion. A few points:

    Attraction in it’s very early stages – before there have been long conversations and “hey we both like PB and J with the crust cut off” and falling in love and all the rest of it – is hard to describe in a way that doesn’t sound superficial and objectifying, because, well, it is kind of a superficial and objectifying thought process. No matter how much you want to establish a deep connection with someone, initial attraction is likely to be based on some subtle combination of looks, demeanor, voice, accent, smile etc. This is particularly true if we’re talking about chatting someone up in a bar/coffee shop. The fetishization of the French thing doesn’t come off as the classiest thing in the world, but let me ask readers: how would you describe an initial encounter of this type in a way that wasn’t objectifying? How would you describe what attracts you to a person who you don’t know, haven’t met, know nothing about beyond how they look and maybe how their voice sounds? Is this just off-limits? Should people just not ever start conversations with romantic/sexual intentions? Are people here, male or female, really going to deny that during the course of one of those conversations they don’t try to gauge “how they’re doing” and whether it seems like the other person also finds them interesting or attractive?

    I’ll be the first to agree that this little anecdote about a guy trying to chat up a girl in a coffee shop, then having that end disappointingly (either because of his own shallowness or her shallowness or the evils of society’s height norms or for another reason entirely that the author doesn’t pick up on) after they both stand up probably isn’t Chicago Tribune-worthy journalism. Still, it’s an anecdote that, with some of the specifics removed, probably fits a lot of people’s experiences in the difficult, at times disappointing, at times embarrassing world of trying-to-find-a-romantic-partner. I’m not sure all the criticism being directed at it is warranted.

  101. Ismone
    Ismone November 24, 2010 at 7:14 pm |

    Paraxeni,

    This is brilliant, and bears repeating. Thank you for this.

    “Are you honestly trying to suggest that not-tall men could ever understand what it’s like to be simultaneously too fat and too thin, too old and too young, too ‘forward’ and too shy, too chaste and too sexually provocative, overdressed and underdressed all at the SAME TIME simply for trying to gauge the millimetre wide line in the middle that confers approval from society?”

  102. manboobz
    manboobz November 25, 2010 at 5:14 am |

    That really wasn’t much of a surprise ending. It would have been much better if she’d stood up, and it turned out she had a tail, or the legs of a bird, or was, I dunno, a giant slug with a human torso and head.

    It makes me wonder what they’re teaching at Yale Law School.

  103. martini
    martini November 25, 2010 at 2:36 pm |

    I definitely read the piece as ending with him rejecting her as a romantic prospect because of her height, and her seeing him doing it and making the same decision.

    I believe that height issues are a serious problem, and since I think they are predicated mostly on small = feminine, feminine = bad, I think that people who are concerned with this issue need to get their feminism on. That would be way more productive than letting creepers like this be the ones who define the issue.

  104. zuzu
    zuzu November 25, 2010 at 6:27 pm |

    jeff: Trolling men who are complaining about man/man discrimination isn’t going to win any converts and it supports this idiotic idea of the “feminazi.”

    Hear that, ladieez? If you don’t start being nice to the menz, jeff’s going to take his penis and go home!

  105. David
    David November 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm |

    zuzu: Hear that, ladieez?If you don’t start being nice to the menz, jeff’s going to take his penis and go home!  

    Oh no, you said penis!

  106. Julia
    Julia November 27, 2010 at 3:10 pm |

    There’s a place in France where the run-on sentence dance and the Chicago-Tribune don’t care ’cause they op-ed is wrote by sad self-conscious manz…

    It is so bizarre because this same exact scenario happened to me! I was at a little cafe sippin my Americano when my own personal Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson struck up a convo and so I said this amazing story about the Senator of Guam because Dwayne is from Hawaii and it was amazing and my big Dwayne was amazed by my amazing story and he kept batting those eyelids at me and so I know he was blinking because he wanted to be my big Dwayne toy/pet and I was going to bring him to meet my Grammy for Thanksgiving because I always wanted to be with a “The Rock” look-alike really bad and I was trying to figure how to get that e-mail address when we both stood up, I noticed that he was fancy and I made a face signifying that I was truly appalled and then he saw that I was not fancy enough, then he just said aloha and walked out, it would have all been so perfect like a dream…

    Hey C-Trib, I am unemployed, if you need a writer!

    Thanks to JADEY!!!! RIGHT-ON!! Awesome that there are highly knowledgeable folks speaking to and highlighting social inequity and severe objectification that seems to slip under radars of so many jeffs davids and esthers.
    Teach them, so they are aware!

  107. David
    David November 28, 2010 at 2:59 am |

    @Zuzu

    I kinda wish people would lay off the I can haz cheeseburger speech. Comes off more condescending than anything else…

    @Jadey

    A lot to agree with here although the way I see it things are slightly more nuanced. The concept of femininity is not seen as inherently “bad”, more like femininity is bad when it “oversteps its boundaries”. Likewise masculinity is viewed as bad when it “oversteps its boundaries”. Let me elaborate a bit. The way I see it the media and people in general have a habit of making generalizations and matching patterns that they perceive. Things are troublesome or wrong when they don’t fit within these patterns. Traditionally, women have been oppressed and as such, the definition of what is “feminine” fits a much smaller and much narrower definition than what it means to be “masculine”. Hence, when a woman is taller than average and doesn’t fit the standard definition or picture of femininity, this conflict leads to people judging the transgressor as bad. The reason that people falsely believe that the movement for women’s liberation is a zero sum game with regard to men is that it is assumed that if women get more freedom men lose freedom. What suddenly becomes acceptible for women to do, “feminine” per se, is no longer “masculine” and thus falls outside the norm of what men can acceptably do. Of course, this argument falls apart because nothing stops “feminine” and “masculine” from overlapping, in other words, there is nothing contradictory about fighting for more freedom for both sexes to act as they wish.

    Of course, mostly the same as what you were saying, but with a slightly different twist.

    All of this comes back to the original author and the op-ed.

    If we’re going to put him on trial here, let’s do it systematically:

    1. The charge of objectification.

    The author does, and I admit, blatantly references the looks and physical demeanor of the woman in question. The baseball metaphor could refer to sex or simply getting further in the relationship.

    This evidence suggests that he was indeed guilty of objectifying her.

    Guilty.

    2. The charge of height(ism)

    In this case, it would be hard to believe that the author is guilty of this charge primarily on the grounds that there is a lack of evidence against him. HIs language equivocally could mean that she dismissed him for being shallow, he dismissed her, they both came to the realization that a relationship wouldn’t work etc. His language is especially telling here, because it says “we”. Thus, without ample evidence we are forced to acquit him of this charge.

    Not guilty.

    Sentencing:

    Having been found guilty of the crime of objectification, how serious is the author’s crime?

    To answer this depends on subjective personal experience. In my experience (because i’m currently the judge, someone else can have my gavel when I’m done with this post), I’m going to judge this according to my subjectivity.

    Looking at the language the author describes the woman maintaining eye contact, being cute and french, etc etc. While I find the language so saccharine that it is gag-inducing, it is not more gag-inducing than any other account of a man/woman meeting beautiful/handsome man/woman in france/spain/germany/foreign country. In other words, I sentence this man to write the disclaimer “I am being kind of shallow” at the bottom of any future Op-eds he writes in at least 8 pt. font.

    Now that we’ve finished the trial would anyone sentence this man differently, and more importantly, why? How is his objectification any different than a person who feels an initial spark of attraction because they notice something different in someone else, looks, an accent, (anything) that might make that person attractive (but only) for objectifying reasons?

  108. Jadey
    Jadey November 28, 2010 at 10:15 am |

    David,

    I have no issue with anyone re-analyzing the points I attempted to make in my tripartite series above. I actually had no idea where any of those comments was going to take me when I began them – I just desperately wanted to introduce another layer (or series of layers) to the conversation, and I welcome further elaboration and nuance.

    Regarding your specific analysis, I want to re-emphasize something I only alluded to before: the difference between traditional and oppositional sexism.

    From the glossary of Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl, who I believe originated (or at least popularized) the distinction:

    traditional sexism
    Sexism that is rooted in the presumption that femaleness and femininity are inferior to (and only exist for the sexual benefit of) maleness and masculinity. It targets those who are female as well as those who are feminine (regardless of their sex).

    oppositional sexism
    Sexism that is rooted in the presumption that female and male are rigid, mutually exclusive, “opposite” sexes, each possessing a unique and non-overlapping set of attributes, aptitudes, abilities, and desires. It targets those who do not conform to oppositional gender norms. A number of previously described categories of sexism (e.g., transphobia, homophobia and cissexism) fall under the umbrella of oppositional sexism.

    So I disagree with your position that only oppositional sexism is in play here. Not only are women expected to not transgress the boundaries of their ascribed “female” characteristics, but those characteristics are on the whole valued less positively then “male” characteristics are valued (either not valued at all, or simply not valued as much). There are many examples, but the rationality-emotionality dichotomy does a pretty good job of illustrating this in one case. It’s related to the idea that women, on the basis of their “innate female characteristics” (scare quotes are never enough to convey the full scope of my distaste) such as being nurturing, gentle, and helping-oriented (if they are ideal women, that is!), are better suited to being, say, nurses rather than doctors, teachers rather than school superintendents, clerks and secretaries rather than lawyers and judges, etc., and it so happens that nurses, teachers, clerks, and secretaries have less prestige and less earning power than doctors, superintendents, lawyers, and judges.

    So, yes, femininity and its supposed attributes of weakness, fragility, emotionality, dependency, etc. are considered to be inherently less desirable than masculinity and its attributes, and not uncommonly to the point of being seen as inherently bad. Women’s inherent and essential sluttishness/frigidity, depending on whom you ask, for instance.

    To your next point, I find your “court hearing” construction distasteful in the extreme, especially the artifice of the authority of a law court, given how misogynistic and otherwise oppressive actual law courts have a tendency to be when it comes to interactions between men and women, and because your entire purpose seems to be to describe your experience of the post as a man, ignoring that several women have already described their experiences as much different, and that you insist on minimizing the issue of objectification.

    If you meant to be cute, you chose the wrong metaphor. No one here is putting this man through an actual trial – by invoking that metaphor you have both activated the nasty idea that we are all blowing things out of proportion and trying to hang the poor man for non-criminal behaviour (a not uncommon accusation toward marginalized people trying to talk about marginalization) and reinforced the notion that behaviour is only appropriately looked at on a individual case-by-case basis (another assumption of Western legal theory), and not in a systemic context, which is what we are bloody well trying to do – which is what we must do if we are to make any headway in countering systemic oppression.

  109. Jadey
    Jadey November 28, 2010 at 12:21 pm |

    Jadey: reinforced the notion that behaviour is only appropriately looked at on a individual case-by-case basis … not in a systemic context … which is what we must do if we are to make any headway in countering systemic oppression.

    Ah ha! While writing this part I had the faint niggling feeling that I had recently read someone elaborate on this very point, but could not for the life of me remember who had and if it wasn’t actually something I dreamed (this has happened to me before), and it has taken me the better part of an hour of eviscerating my entire browsing history to find an answer. It was not a dream! It was Garland Grey, at TBD, writing on Privilege-Denying Dudes:

    Over time, you see WHY the rules of engagement in Social Justice spaces have to flow from the positions of least power. Because if we let [Guy who seems to derive all of his self-respect from his denial of racism and sexism] set the agenda, he will declare that privilege doesn’t exist. And if we concede concepts like “Privilege” or “Mansplaining” or “Kyriarchy” or “Rape Culture” or “Systemic Oppression” – if we let those structural concepts and theoretical matrices be taken from us, we must essentially fight every battle from scratch. We would have to treat each individual act of oppression separately, and we’d have no clue how to combat the societal forces that undergird those actions.

    Really, that post is about much, much more than just individual vs. structural approaches and is absolutely worth reading in full.

  110. David
    David November 28, 2010 at 3:41 pm |

    Jadey,

    It is absolutely worth speaking of systematic oppression when we are talking about the system, as a whole. However to my understanding the discussion was originally intended as a “pile on”, a way of pointing and laughing at someone who has done something bad. (A la Keith Olbermann’s worst persons in the world). While I am all in favor of showing the worst specimens of misogny or stupidity, I’m only in favor of doing this if the person in question actually is an outstanding example. While this man was billed as a misogynist and man with “a napoleonic complex and boner for french chicks”, I still remain unconvinced. Maybe in fact I was sold a different show. From the start this should have been a discussion of society’s expectations of normativity and height with a little bit of gender roles thrown in.

    The court metaphor was one that seemed appropriate at the time. Feel free to scoop my argument out of its shell and forget that I even mentioned courts. It was simply a vessel for systematically analyzing the case from an individual rather than systematic perspective. If you disagree with my individual analysis (rather than systemic analysis) feel free to give your persepective.

    About oppositional and traditional sexism being in play… Its a complicated issue, but again, things must be separated into two categories for us to talk about:

    The traditional/oppositional sexism that exists in the op-ed.

    The traditional/oppositional sexism that exists anywhere.

    I would argue that the author’s discussion of height and femininity, and his and the french woman’s “realization” that the relationship wouldn’t work because of their height difference- was an internalization by both parties of oppositional sexism. If the woman was incompatible because of her height its not because her height was viewed as more “feminine” and bad. It was because her height was outside of the norms of femininity. Alternatively, it was partially because the author’s height was outside of the norm of masculinity. In this case, the cuteness and frenchness were seen as desireable because they were more feminine.

    In terms of the systemic context, you are right in saying that traditional sexism does exist. Although, in the cases you mentioned its slightly more complicated. I imagine that the difference in pay scale between doctor and nurse (speaking from a U.S. perspective) has more to do with the years of schooling and debt and investment that go into becoming a doctor. In this case, I would expect doctors to paid more than nurses. However you might have a point when it comes to teachers/superintendents. Also, as an addendum to what you said teachers who teach younger children might be paid less because their work is viewed more as caretaking of children and thus more “feminine”.

    Oh and as a cap to all of this I recognize the need to have a systemic analysis of these problems. However in individual circumstances we ignore a lot when we ignore individualistic analysis. There’s no problem with engaging in both types.

  111. nathan
    nathan November 28, 2010 at 7:32 pm |

    It amazes me that this marginal piece of writing has generated 110 comments, filled with all sorts of charges against the author, and counter-claims attempting to defend the author. Whatever offenses are present in this piece, it’s certainly not a great example to work with (in my opinion) in terms of dissecting the various oppressive elements people have brought up.

    How much is the superficial quality of initial attraction, how much is reproducing offensive stereotypes, and how much is just an over the top writing performance by a sophomorish writer?

    What I see in the comments are a few women looking to slam the shit out every last word the guy wrote as demonstrating nearly every social oppression under the sun. I also see a few men who can’t imagine that anything in the article could be a problem. And then various shades in between, which is where I stand: somewhere in middle. The Audrey Tautou line is creepy, but the height issue at the end isn’t clear, so I don’t know how to respond to it. And the rest of it just feels like an over-dramatic rambling about an initial attraction that didn’t go anywhere.

    Overall, I don’t find this selection to be worthy of a pile-on, or useful for having a detail oriented examination of systemic oppressions. There just seems to be too much we have to speculate on, which leads to lots of projecting from all sides.

  112. Jadey
    Jadey November 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm |

    @ David (and at Nathan, for what it’s worth)

    The thing is, I don’t give a crap about the original article. I think Jill’s treatment was about on par with the thoughtfulness and effort that went into the original, and I’m okay with that – in fact my initial comment even was nothing more than an attempt of one-upmanship on the subject “Stupid Things People Said on the Internet”. I never meant to discuss Pedersen’s unknowable mindset in depth.

    But thereafter came a series of comments about the supposed height privilege of women, which, as I think I have now made completely clear, is complete and utter bunk. So in a roundabout way this post did lead me into an analytical (if somewhat uncoordinated and unpolished) commentary on a subject about which I am apparently more passionate than I first realized, for which I am actually grateful! I think I got quite a bit out of this thread in the end.

    But the original article was nothing more than a speck of dust at the centre of my misshapen pearl. I just don’t care about Nick Pedersen and what he may or may not have thought, said, or done.

  113. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub November 29, 2010 at 2:17 pm |

    Overall, I don’t find this selection to be worthy of a pile-on, or useful for having a detail oriented examination of systemic oppressions.

    What would we ladies do without men to tell us what is oppressive, or worthy of our time and energy?

  114. zuzu
    zuzu November 29, 2010 at 2:35 pm |

    David: @Zuzu

    I kinda wish people would lay off the I can haz cheeseburger speech. Comes off more condescending than anything else…

    If the shoe fits, man.

  115. zuzu
    zuzu November 29, 2010 at 2:40 pm |

    David: Now that we’ve finished the trial

    Objection! Irrelevant, assumes facts not in evidence, hearsay, etc., etc.

    I mean, if you’re going to get all “legalistic.” Actually, if there were a real trial, we’d have taken discovery from the woman in question and gotten her version of the story, and not just heard his self-serving testimony in which he ascribes motives to a woman who is not present to talk for herself. Not to mention, this is his story and he has an interest in coming out looking good.

    However, this isn’t a court of law, so hipster dude and his atrocious writing are fair game.

  116. nathan
    nathan November 29, 2010 at 3:20 pm |

    Jadey,

    I agreed with a lot of what you were saying, but couldn’t understand how the article in question was spawning it. Now I get it that you were responding to the comments, which definitely needed to be responded to.

    Sheezebub – I’m not going to bite that hook. If you think I’m just another sexist pig based on a single line about my opinion of the article in question, that’s fine.

    But it’s comments like yours that make me wonder if conversations that might actually change something are actually possible. Because it seems too often that people would rather take cheap shots at each other, and stand firm in the belief that anyone who disagrees with them must be absolutely wrong, than actually listen and respond to what’s being said.

  117. groggette
    groggette November 29, 2010 at 3:27 pm |

    nathan: But it’s comments like yours that make me wonder if conversations that might actually change something are actually possible.

    Of course those conversations are possible. Not every conversation needs to be (or needs to attempt to be) that conversation though.

  118. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub November 29, 2010 at 3:49 pm |

    Right, Nathan. Why, that’s exactly what I said.

    I didn’t call you anything, BTW. I did point out that you engaged in a bit of mansplaining. I mean great, the anger of women posting here was misplaced to you. But you’re not a woman, and you haven’t experienced institutional sexism.

    Oh, and about cheap shots? Reducing the reaction of a lot of women here as a bunch of women “looking for an opportunity to slam the shit out of” the writer is a fucking cheap shot–especially considering the fact that many of us have dealt with men who can’t fathom that we have agency, we don’t like being exoticized, and don’t owe men our time or our companionship.

  119. nathan
    nathan November 29, 2010 at 7:51 pm |

    forget it – i’ll stay quiet next time. peace.

  120. nathan
    nathan November 29, 2010 at 7:52 pm |

    forget it – i’ll stay quiet next time.

  121. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. November 29, 2010 at 8:17 pm |

    Jadey,

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on a traditional feminism/oppositional feminism comment over at my (not a blog) space assuming you have the time and inclination. I didn’t want to derail this thread further, particularly considering its length and my tendency to ramble…

  122. David
    David November 29, 2010 at 9:49 pm |

    Remember people. If someone can’t hear you, shout louder.

  123. Jadey
    Jadey November 29, 2010 at 10:52 pm |

    Kristen, I have a link to your blog from another discussion recently, but that link above is actually broken. For anyone else interested, Kristen J’s post is here.

  124. AlexNY
    AlexNY November 29, 2010 at 11:28 pm |

    But you’re not a woman, and you haven’t experienced institutional sexism.

    A better world awaits, if you can let go of this delusion. Is there no place left for hope?

  125. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. November 29, 2010 at 11:35 pm |

    Jadey: Kristen, I have a link to your blog from another discussion recently, but that link above is actually broken. For anyone else interested, Kristen J’s post is here.  

    Blast it all…no attempting html when I’m sick…probably shouldn’t blog when I’m sick either…but eh…

  126. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub November 30, 2010 at 9:28 am |

    Dunno, Alex. Is there no place free of mansplaining?

  127. AlexNY
    AlexNY November 30, 2010 at 11:20 am |

    You use the term “mansplaining” to dismiss the opinions and thoughts of all men, or only those who do not faithfully repeat everything you say?

    Imagine that the majority of the world’s airlines had an explicit, written, and zealously enforced policy to demand that any women next to an unaccompanied child must give up her reserved seat and move elsewhere in the aircraft? Imagine that any woman who refused was escorted off the aicraft by armed guards? Imagine that the written, explicit reason for this sexist policy was to protect children from child abuse? Keep in mind that there has never been a incident of child abuse on any commercial aircraft.

    How is it not institutional sexism to assume that all males are a danger to children? Statistically, twice as many children are murdered by their mothers as are mothered by their fathers (138 fathers murdered their children in 2006, compared to 288 mothers). Why single out men as deranged lunatics that must not be allowed to sit next to children on aircraft?

    Airlines that have admited to an explicit institutional sexism policy of assuming that all males are collectively guilty of a crime that has never occured even once in recorded human history:

    British Airways
    Quantas
    Air New Zealand

  128. Julia
    Julia November 30, 2010 at 11:35 am |

    Alex WHY????? You want to bring up how strange men are discriminated against because they cannot sit next to children on planes.
    Keep in mind that there has never been a incident of child abuse on any commercial aircraft. Maybe it is a good policy.
    What are the stats on child abuse– who abuses children, who kidnaps children? Is it majority men or women???

    sorry everybody. couldn’t resist.

  129. Sheelzebub
    Sheelzebub November 30, 2010 at 12:46 pm |

    Obvious troll is obvious.

  130. willa
    willa November 30, 2010 at 1:23 pm |

    This thread is old, and possibly dead, but I just HAD to congratulate Comrade Kevin on that wonderful, wonderful William Carlos Williams “This is Just to Say” take-off. It made my day.

  131. Dana R
    Dana R November 30, 2010 at 6:37 pm |

    Ah ha ha. I just forwarded my partner this and the (most excellent!) parody above, and this was his take:

    “Obviously he has a pre conceived idea of his “ideal French girl”

    Obviously he has issues about either his height or women being taller than him.

    Even if she was into him, as he assumed, his reaction to her being taller than him would have ruined it. He felt he had made a connection over a short conversation, she met his apparent cosmetic requirements, but her being taller than him changed everything for him.

    He is without doubt an insecure shallow dick!”

    Me: But… but… it was obviously her who was shallow! I mean, she doesn’t like short guys, right? Oh and it’s not sexualising her because it didn’t mention explicitly wanting to fuck her. Hahahahaha.

    Well from the way its written I would assume she was tall rather than he was short as he was (and assumed she was) “surprised and saddened” by it.

    A shame all women don’t come in a nice petite size so that we men can always feel large and protective when around them :(

    Not worth worrying about really. There is probably a reason such an eligible bachelor is single and fantasising about complete strangers.

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