Jiang Tao, a child of farmers, graduated from law school only to discover that law firms discriminate against short employees. After confronting minimum height requirements, he sued.
See also guest posts from The Social Complex introducing the concept of heightism as a gendered prejudice and discussing heightism (and other icky stuff) at Hooters.Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
qrhe — March 6, 2012
The height requirement also screens most women. Wikipedia lists the average height for Chinese women to be around 158cm or 5'2".
Elizabeth — March 6, 2012
Sad that his parents don't really seem to get it or support him.
Sulyp — March 6, 2012
Elizabeth, I think from a Western POV (I've made the assumption), it may appear that way. But I wouldn't say that they "get it" or they don't "support him". Maybe it is *us* who don't get *them*. They genuinely seemed frightened for his future prospects, albeit, in a restrained way. I'm sure his parents' lived experience as peasant farmers in China totally informed their views about what happens to people who stand up and make noise.
And in regards to that heightism blog, I'm more than a little bothered at the amount of underhanded misogyny going on at that place. When people/person = men/man by default, my radar is piqued. When a woman's emotional pain is mocked because her height falls outside the prescribed norms for her gender, but at the same time it's expected for people to have compassion towards men when it happens to them? That's when I say there's more than a little something off-kilter here.
Anonymous — March 6, 2012
I feel like this evolved from the western standard of masculinity and is just another example of how eurocentrism bleeds into ever crevice of society when unchecked
sona — March 6, 2012
that's the major sentiment in China. what's the point of fighting. so that he could get attention from foreign media and get the fuck out of the fucking country?! i'm so angry at the oxymoron.
G — March 7, 2012
If this is a double post, my apologies. I submitted a post but it has somehow vanished. I will try again, and be briefer this time.
It is interesting that heightism, while affecting both women and men, seems to affect much more. Just as women are judged for their beauty (among other things) more than men, men tend to be judged for their income and height. Not only do men admit to being more acutely aware of how others perceive their height, but they seem to go to a variety of means to cover up for it: elevator shoes, clothing changes, etc. One means that is little known, but increasingly becoming an unregulated medical growth industry is cosmetic leg lengthening, formally known as "distraction osteogenesis." It was originally pioneered in Russia to fix broken legs by preventing the broken leg from being shorter than the unbroken one, but its implications for increasing the height in dwarves and children with genetic bone growth abnormalities soon gave way to increasing the heights of ballet dancers and Olympic athletes. The procedure has since spread to orthopedic surgery clinics around the world; most do it only if medically warranted, but a few clinics have capitalized on the angst that people -- mostly males -- feel about their height, and off, for a princely sum 30K, 50K, or more -- the ability to increase one's height by anywhere from 1 inch to up to 8 inches (20 cm). There are all sorts of issues that go along with this leg increase, such as lengthening arms as well to keep ones proportions balanced, etc. There is even a forum: MakeMeTaller.org devoted to people wishing to undergo cosmetic leg lengthening. The procedure is now done cosmetically in the U.S., China, Russia, Germany, etc. About a decade ago, a member the Queensland Council, Hajnal Ban, underwent the procedure. More details can be read about here: http://www.medindia.net/news/Australian-Women-Undergoes-Leg-Surgery-To-Increase-Height-52273-1.htm.