Ever since we launched Amalli Talli, my eyes have really been opened to the number of tall girl problem memes – especially ones that relate to tall women wanting to date tall men. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always have the upmost politically correct sense of humor – so I would be lying if I said that most of these didn’t make me laugh a little when I first saw them. But at second glance, here’s the problem I’m ultimately seeing: don’t these sentiments make us as tall women the biggest hypocrites on planet earth?
Stop and reflect on the core of the insecurities that most of us as tall women share or have shared at one point in our lives. Dig deep enough and you’ll realize that the root of all issues is a classic gender stereotype: the perception that height is associated with masculinity, not femininity. From the time we were little (like, really little), we were all instilled with this definition that women are to be dainty and petite while men are to be big, powerful and strong (read: TALL). This stereotype is what has triggered many of us as tall women at some time to feel unfeminine, uncomfortable and out of place. On the flip side, it has the ability to make short men feel emasculated, also uncomfortable and also out of place.
Why are we all so conditioned to think about height in this regard? I did a decent amount of research and reading on this subject, and here’s what I found: it all boils down to our ancient ancestors. Back in their day, height did matter. These were times when women were in great danger of being attacked by wild animals and other men. Women needed to be with men who were stronger, faster and more dominant to ward off any physical threats to them and their families, and height was highly associated with power/dominance. Clearly, how we live our lives and the roles we each play have evolved greatly since those days – but for some reason, this stereotype hasn’t gone away.
Part of this, I assume, is because the national average height for females is still only 5’4” while the average height for males is 5’10” (in the U.S.), so overall we’re still mostly exposed to seeing taller males than females in our society (more on this in another post soon). We’re still also used to seeing tall men today in very powerful, assertive roles – all of our U.S. presidents in my lifetime (Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., Obama, Trump) have all been men at least 6’ tall or taller. I’m sure there are other explanations or theories that can tell us why this stereotype continues to live on, but that’s just my first blink at it.
This stereotype is important to recognize because subconsciously it can still affect our dating lives and who we decide to get romantically involved with. Tall women tend to have a complex with dating because, like any other human, we hate putting ourselves out there only to be rejected by a potential partner based on merely a physical attribute (in our case, our height – an attribute we cannot control). We do not like to be rejected because we’re taller than somebody. But height aside, all women in general have gone on a crusade, fueled by the body-positive movement, to ask men to stop being so dang shallow. We’re asking demanding them to see past our weight, our height, our build, our cellulite, our stretch marks, and a host of other things so that instead they focus on who we really are on the inside.
If we are asking this of men, isn’t it fair to expect them to ask the same of us? It’s true that social media gives us a false and nearly impossible ideal of what the “perfect woman” looks like, but I would say that social media has also created that ideal for men. Certainly we don’t get to all pick from a sea of Ryan Reynolds look-a-like’s, standing at 6’2” with a perfectly chiseled body and six pack abs, or finding a partner would be super easy and amazing for us all. Let’s keep in mind that the average height for men in this country is 5’10”. I feel like this helps to keep our general expectations in a more reasonable place to begin with. Then ask yourself this: have you ever hoped, wished or wanted a man to see past your height or the fact that you are taller than them (even if this means just in heels)? If you have, then you should extend the same courtesy to any guys that are shorter than you that are interested in taking you out for a date.
I am not writing this to persuade you to jump into a relationship with some jerk who has short-man syndrome to the nth degree – those guys that just cannot deal with women that are taller than them. In no way am I advocating for tall women to date a man with massive insecurities who insults you, makes you feel insecure or tells you that you can’t wear the 3” heels you love. Like all of us, men also need to work on their insecurities and bring a healthy self-esteem and a good dose of confidence to the table before they are ready to be in a healthy relationship with somebody else.
I am writing this, however to those of you who may have been asked on a date by a male shorter than you and immediately said “NOT HAPPENING”. Or to those of you who swipe left to every guy on tinder who has their height listed under 6’3”. If you have done either of these things, but haven’t wanted to be judged for your height, then I’m calling you out. Here’s your reminder that, unlike our ancestors, you (hopefully) aren’t being attacked by wild animals daily and therefore you do not NEED a male to be taller than you to have a successful relationship. If they are secure and comfortable enough with themselves to ask you out on a date, then you should most definitely give it a shot.
My older sister, Amy is a perfect example. I will never forget when she called to tell me that her now-husband had asked her on a date. They had mutual friends, so they had met in person several times before he decided to ask her out. She called me because she couldn’t decide how she felt about him being 5’10” when she is almost 6’4”. I could tell she seemed really uncomfortable and unsure, but at the same time also excited. My initial thought was, ‘If he knows how tall you are and that clearly didn’t stop him from asking, then WHO CARES?’ So, I encouraged her to just give him a try and see what happened. Thank God she put their height difference aside and did, since they’ve now been married for almost 6 years and have a gorgeous daughter together who is my favorite little person ever (auntie brag). Besides her, I know so many other tall women that have dated or married men the same height or shorter than them, including myself. I am the same height as my husband, which means I’m always taller if I’m wearing any kind of shoe at all. It’s not awkward or uncomfortable and should never stop you from having a great relationship if you’re both secure in who you are.
So, what if dating was like the show The Voice? If for some reason you live under a rock and have never seen the show, I’ll enlighten you: 4 coaches pick singers to be on their team – but they have to pick the singers solely on vocal performance; they have no idea what the singers physically look like until after they select them to join their team. This concept forces the coaches to tune into one thing and one thing only: the vocals. What if you were forced to truly get to know someone first, before their height was revealed? Like a blind date, where you were actually blindfolded? What would this change for you? I recently read this stat from another interesting article: “At 5’10”, Michelle Obama is taller than half the men in America.” Let that sink in. If you challenge yourself to focus more on getting to know someone before shutting them down based on their height, the size of your dating ‘pool’ starts to look more like an ocean versus a pool.
All of this is not to say I’m against ladies finding their true match in someone taller than them, either. If they are, that’s wonderful, too!! It doesn’t make you shallow or superficial in anyway. I’m just encouraging this single community of tall women to continually practice what we preach – that we are so much more than our height. There are plenty of men out there that might not see eye to eye with you (literally) – but are kind, caring and intelligent dudes that have 10,000 more interesting things to offer than what we initially see. Be secure in your own height, be receptive to meeting & getting to know new people and let them show you for themselves!
Thanks so much for reading 🙂 We’d love to hear from you about your current relationship – are you taller than the guy you’re dating or are married to? Help your fellow tall sisters with some encouraging words and drop us a line below! – Alli