The bias against shorter men has been well studied. Taller men make more money and are perceived as being more competent, better leaders, and more intelligent. In a 2014 study, researchers found that height appeared to be correlated with the perception of masculinity.
And stigma is arguably at its most blatant when it comes to dating apps. One 2005 study found that men who said they were 6’3” or 6’4” got about 60% more messages than men who were 5’7” or 5’8.” Even though the average height of men in the US is 5’9”, many people state in their dating profiles that their prospective date must be at least 6 feet tall.
“We live in a society where height is still appraised, being tall and being attractive,” said Natalia Zhikhareva, a clinical psychologist based in Los Angeles. “Imagine if Prince Charming got off his horse and he’s 5’5”? We’re inundated with this message that that is what’s attractive and that’s what’s appealing.”
For shorter men and especially trans men, it can add to a sense of bitterness over something physical, which can further compound their risk for poor mental health. But therapists emphasize that because height isn’t something we can change (unless you want to go through a literally bone-breaking surgery), we shouldn’t waste energy on it, although often that isn’t easy.
“The first step is really just accepting,” counselor Natalia Zhikareva said, likening it to a poker game. “Those hands you got dealt is height and how you feel about it. You still have an opportunity here to play in a smart and clever way or you have an opportunity to sit there and dwell on this to the point it consumes your whole identity. And then you self-sabotage yourself unconsciously every time you go out on a date.”
Sham elections in occupied Ukraine
Four Moscow-occupied regions in Ukraine are slated to vote on joining Russia starting Friday, CNN reports. The votes in Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Donetsk are universally viewed as a sham by Ukraine and Western powers.
It’s likely Russia will use the sham elections as pretense for annexing these areas of Ukraine. Voting begins today, AP reports, and will continue until Tuesday.
The blockbuster podcast Serial made Adnan Syed a household name. But its influence on true crime reporting isn’t so clear-cut. In its new episode following Syed’s release, the podcast can’t catch up with its own story.
Virginia Commonwealth University will change its fraternity rules and pay $1 million after a 19-year-old pledge died. Students will now be required to complete 12 credit hours at VCU before they can join a fraternity or sorority, alcohol will not be allowed at any event with new members, and Feb. 27 will be recognized as a hazing prevention day.