Category Heightism

The Devil’s Dwarfs

During WWI the British Army made it perfectly clear that no man under the height of 160cm (5 ft 3 inches) was deemed strong enough to fight and serve their country. But as the war dragged into the second year, with the enormous losses in men’s lives and a growing understanding that this would not be […]

Tall Tales: Tall Men

Most women prefer tall men over their shorter rivals. Over a century of feminism hasn’t changed much about that. Unfortunately this preference is one of the forces that leads to a global increase in human height. Because of women’s preferences tall men have more children and spread more of their tall genes around, putting extra pressure […]

Force-Feeding Milk

On the occasion of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s World Milk Day the Thai Ministry of Health’s director-general Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk revealed an ill conceived plan to boost Thai’s youth milk consumption from 14 to 60 litres per year. The reason for this? To  increase the average Thai male height from 167cm to 175cm and […]

This Crowded Earth

This Crowded Earth by Robert Bloch is a 1958 novel set in a future where overpopulation has inspired science to create a small human race with the use of hormone therapy. The story starts in the late 1990’s when suicide, crime and accidents have increased steeply because of the ‘maddening proximity of the crowds’. As a […]

Overcoming the Height Gap

There’s a 40% difference in height between the shortest 5 percentile and the tallest 5 percentile of the adult human population. That puts humans amongst the Earth’s most hypervariable species. Shrinking the body will create an even greater height gap, Younger generations will be shorter than older ones until (after several generations) the entire population […]

Overcoming the Uncanny

People are often disturbed by the idea of shrinking the human species. The confrontation with unusually small-sized adults sometimes triggers a psychosomatic sensitivity  also known as the uncanny. The uncanny is a Freudian concept of an instance where something is familiar, yet foreign at the same time. This dissonance between the known and the unknown often leads […]

Height Tax

Being tall is expensive. You need more of everything just to sustain yourself, and for most of it either you pay or the environment does. Tall people are an increasing burden on the planet. A 20% increase in height equals a 73% increase in weight. And all those tall people feed, transport themselves, wash and pollute. Seen […]

Medicalizing Short Stature

The US market for growth hormone is estimated at 22 billion dollars. But it wasn’t always such an enormous market. Two growth hormone producers, Eli Lilly and Genentech, have worked hard to medicalize short stature and convince children and their parents that being short is a disease rather than a natural variation in human height. At first the administration of […]

22 billion reasons to keep growing

In 2003, the US Federal Drug Administration approved the use of human growth hormone for healthy short children in an attempt to make them taller. There is nothing medically wrong with these children; they produce normal levels of growth hormone on their own. They are simply short.  Still, several pharmaceutical companies see the economical potential […]

310 for every Cm

A 2003 University of Florida and University of North Carolina study found that short people are paid less than their taller peers: Each centimetre in height amounted to about $310 more a year in pay. In a similar study conducted in Australia in 2009 by professor Andrew Leigh one inch was worth about $190: “The wage […]