Height Discrimination - Dating and Marriage

Dating and Marriage

Heightism is also a factor in dating preferences. For some people, height is a noteworthy factor in sexual attractiveness.

The greater reproductive success of taller men is attested to by studies indicating that taller men are more likely to be married and to have more children, except in societies with severe sex imbalances caused by war. However, more recent research has drawn this theory into question, finding no correlation between height and offspring count. Moreover, research on leg length and leg-to-body ratio conflicts with the notion that there is a distinct preference for taller mates. A 2008 study found that both extremes, tall and short, reduced attractiveness, and a 2006 study found that a lower leg-to-body ratio in men and higher leg-to-body ratio in women increased aesthetic appeal. Biologically, from an evolutionary perspective, these findings are consistent with data relating height to human health. Therefore, a biological or, more specifically, an evolutionary argument for the preference of a taller mate is questionable, lacking definitive evidence.

Nonetheless, on a cultural level in Post-industrial society, a sociological relationship between height and perceived attractiveness exists. This cultural characteristic, while applicable to the modernized world, is not a transcendental human quality. Quantitative studies of woman-for-men personal advertisements have shown strong preference for tall men, with a large percentage indicating that a man significantly below average height was unacceptable. A study produced by the Universities of Groningen and Valencia, has found that men, who felt most anxious about attractive, physically dominant, and socially powerful rivals, were less jealous, the taller they were themselves. The study also found that women were most jealous of others' physical attractiveness, but women of medium height were the least jealous. The report, produced by Dutch and Spanish researchers, stated that because average height women tend to be the most fertile and healthy, they would be less likely to feel threatened by women with those similar features.

Paradoxically, a study has shown that in Britain, short women were the most likely to be married and have children. Some reasons which have been suggested for this situation include the fact that short women start puberty earlier than taller women who experience delayed fertility since they spend more energy growing, and that shorter women have a larger pool of men to choose from if they wish for a taller mate. Dr. Adam Eyre-Walker from the Centre for the Study of Evolution at the University of Sussex, argues that the study was done on British people, and so the choices may actually be a result of the influence of culture.

It is unclear and debated as to the extent to which such preferences are innate or are the function of a society in which height discrimination impacts on socio-economic status. Certainly, much is always made in newspapers and magazines of celebrity couples with a notable height difference, especially where a man is shorter than his wife (for example, Jamie Cullum, 7 inches (18 cm) shorter at 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m) than Sophie Dahl, though the difference is often exaggerated).

Read more about this topic:  Height Discrimination

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