Apparently Napoleon had a sister, or something like that:
It’s long been recognised that small men have a greater need to make their mark than tall men but, says psychologist David Lewis, director of research at Mindlab International, height has just as profound an effect on a woman’s character.
“The relationship between a woman’s height and her character is often overlooked and is perhaps more interesting than the more commonly cited ‘Napoleon complex’,” he says. “In evolutionary terms, small women are as favoured as tall men: females between 4ft 9in and 5ft 1in and men who are 6ft 1in or more are the most likely to marry and have children. But the downside of this is that men — and society in general — will often infantilise petite women, underestimating their intelligence, their strength and their ability to perform even the simplest task. Men, it has to be said, do like to be looked up to by their women.”
You can almost see him patting her on the head and saying “There, there.”
Actually, I suspect that the infantilization process is also visited upon women who aren’t short: it’s that whole Weaker Sex thing again, and man will not give it up easily, even after he gets his ass kicked by a girl.
[Lewis] believes that this infantilising of small women can breed a sense of resentment and rebellion that makes them more ambitious and more flamboyant than average-sized females. “It’s likely that being small could result in a woman developing a Tinker Bell complex. Certainly it explains why we have so many famous examples of tiny women who are larger than life,” says Lewis.
If I were resentful, rebellious, and 5’7″, I think I’d be more so, at least as regards those two R words, after being told that my shorter sisters got their own pop-psychology syndrome and I didn’t get squat.
They have something to prove? What, exactly? A couple of decades ago, I briefly dated a woman four foot nine, and while she presumably qualified as “feisty,” a word never applied to anyone over six feet tall except in the National Basketball Association, she didn’t seem particularly disturbed by her height, though I did learn rather quickly to lay off the dwarf jokes already.
And it may even be true that short women are not taken seriously in some circles, though I suspect that average and tall women might not be really taken seriously there either.
Kathy Shaidle, who writes at Five Feet of Fury, dismisses the article as a “puff piece,” and I believe she’s being overly generous. And the not-exactly-towering Andrea Harris notes:
I’ve been short all my life, but I can’t recall anyone ever treating me like an infant. Maybe it’s because once I grew out of my baby fat “adorable” phase I was as thin and straight as a pencil — I notice that tiny women who are treated like dolls have retained certain “cute” features that I did not — and also maybe because I always had my nose in a book.
I was never adorable, but I was never a girl either. (Not biologically, anyway.)