Friday, March 28, 2014

Intersectionality and Height Privilege

Concepts of oppression and injustice perplex many of us.
Long gone are days of the segregated bus.
So like...seriously, what's all the fuss?

 To those deemed oppressors, for whatever reason--(cis)gender, race, class, or "able"--it becomes nearly impossible to function without offense, because as some narratives allege, their very existence in this privileged world makes them offensive.

Many movements struggle to find the link with which all (oppressed) groups can identify, but to me height is the simplest way to understand these concepts.

All of us have a height, and this trait is perhaps the easiest of all to observe mistreatment.

When you are short, you automatically have much more to prove than your tall counterparts. People literally and figuratively "look up" to tall people, which makes it that much easier for the tall to be metaphorically looked up to.

Tall people are statistically in the advantage: in biographies of men like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the authors describe how their physical being made it easy for them to be viewed as a leader.

In short, tall people need not work as hard as their short counterparts to be seen as commanding or a leader.

The way you act as a short person can easily be labeled as overcompensating, as the louder you become, the more insecure you are about your body parts.

If you are tall, you immediately become judged to be an athletic talent and skilled at basketball.

To top it all of, if you're voice is "high" you always get asked if you have a cold, and if you're short, you become an Oompa Loompa.

Height Privilege seems to me the easiest way to explain intersectionality.

Short people of all races, economic classes, ability, gender, and ability know exactly what I'm talking about.

(Gender further complicates this concept: if you are a tall woman, you stand out mostly because you're not supposed to exist.

Additionally, being attractive as a women presents a double edged sword: you become sexualized to the point where now you have to work harder to prove that you deserve whatever job you have, yet, people assume that you're life has been super duper easy because you never get speeding ticket and people always give you the benefit of the doubt.

When in fact quite the opposite is true: life is all the more difficult because your looks are constantly seen as an asset when in reality they serve more as a chip on your shoulder.)