It has become a recurring joke that women will only date men over 6ft. But are women really that bothered about height? Or has the media and dating apps programmed us to be shallow? The concept of women being supposedly “preoccupied” with height got me thinking and certainly opened up a multitude of questions.
I wanted to find out the opinions of my girlfriends, but I also wanted to ask men whether they had ever been judged because of their height, and if so, how they felt about it. Interestingly, the majority of the men that I asked said that they’d never really considered height to be an issue, but at the same time, they noted that not many women are taller than them. One even went on to say that he thought that if “height was an issue then you’re not ready to be in a relationship”.
To try and get to the bottom of this debate, I asked nineteen of my female friends whether a man’s height would determine whether they would be attracted to them or not, and their responses were remarkably interesting.
Thirteen women said that height was important to them when dating someone. For some, it was simply because they found taller men more attractive, whilst others said that they didn’t know why height mattered to them, but it did. However, six people said that height didn’t matter to them and that it was not a factor that they had even considered when looking for a partner. True attraction to them is something much deeper than someone’s looks.
Out of the nineteen women who answered my survey, twelve of them said that they would not date someone who was shorter than them. So, I wanted to know what influenced their opinion on male height.
Some people put it down to a “biological instinct”, with one woman stating that “men who are larger and taller seem to make more suitable partners subconsciously from evolution.”
However, there was also a strong argument that women’s preoccupation with height is based on gender stereotypes and societal norms, which are emphasised by what we see on social media and television. One woman explained this concept perfectly, by stating, “media and society definitely push the narrative that taller guys are more attractive.” Another argued that “in films, you see all these ‘relationship goals’ and the guy is always taller. It’s easy to think that that’s what you should be going after. I believe that there is some deeply rooted anti-feminist idea there, that the male should be big and strong, almost like a ‘protector’ to the small and frail female.” Also, many of the women that I asked said they found taller men more attractive because they liked to feel small, which I can definitely resonate with.
This left me asking myself: why are women content when they feel “small”? For me, it brought about ideas of importance and success. Society almost encourages women to be small in all areas of life. It’s completely ludicrous and terrifying that these ideas are still being pushed onto us, even if it is done so subconsciously.
It’s not that women are shallow or obsessed with male height. The media plays a negative role because it influences what we think is “desirable”. The reason why so many women feel that height is an important factor when dating someone is because society has deemed it that way.
It’s not so much a joke that women are preoccupied with male height. Rather, it is something that so many of us can’t help but deem important because of the way we’ve been programmed to believe it so. That being said, the rhetoric that all women consider height to be a deal-breaker when it comes to dating is false, as despite my participants claiming that male height mattered, nearly every one added at the end “but if I really liked someone it wouldn’t matter.”
– Maggie John
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