In the U.S., we tend to organize politically according to identities. For example, we have a Gay Liberation Movement, a Women’s Movement, and the Civil Rights Movement, to name three big ones. All of these are personal characteristics made political.
The cartoon below, by Miriam Dobson, does a great job of showing one of the downsides of fighting for progressive social change in this way. For one, it can make people who carry multiple marginalized identities (for example, gay black men) feel unwelcome. And, two, it makes it seem like people without the identity can’t be part of the movement.
One solution is to think about oppressions in terms of intersectionality: we are all a mix of identities that resonate with each other in complicated ways. This is a rich idea, but one lesson that it has taught us is that the strategy of divide-and-conquer has been an effective way to keep multiple groups marginalized.
Instead of emphasizing identities, we could identify issues. And if our issue is oppression, we can join-to-resist. As the graphic explains: “oppression of one affects us all.”
Bridesmaids include “Getting put with an usher who is not shorter than you” among good things in life (at 15secs):
Anne Hathaway takes her shoes off when standing next to a shorter guy (just the first 30secs):
Bravo TV executive Andy Cohen talks about being heckled backstage the 2011 Miss Universe pageant by Miss Montenegro and Miss Sri Lanka (unfortunately the clip ends with the host affirming Cohen that he’s not short instead of just condemning the contestants’ behavior):
Better to be tall: “Why be average, when you can XL”?
Short men are ridiculous and laughable, internationally.
American DirectTV commercial:
Chilean (I think) Doritos commercial:
American CRV commercial:
This ad, Arnold observes, actually “uses a statistic about heightism in order to justify and encourage the prejudice itself”:
This four-minute video reports research showing that, even if we’re not aware of it, most of us have unconscious biases against short men. (It’s also a great description of Implicit Association Tests.)
This seven-and-a-half minute segment follows Jiang Tao, a child of farmers who graduated from law school only to discover that law firms discriminate against short employees. After confronting minimum height requirements, he sued.