Reading “Height”, I certainly did agree that in a room of men, height does indeed seem to be the elephant in the room of hegemonic masculinity. Out of all the endless competitions men in my life engage in (and Noah is right, for all the men in my life from my brother to my friends, boyfriend and even to a lesser extent my father, anything can become a fight to the death competition) height seems to be the one where the ending has already been written out. You’re either tall, or you’re not. Not a lot you can do about it. This reminds me of the conversation we had towards the end of class on Monday, where we were talking about the nature of penis size as hidden outside of intimate situations, whereas weight and body size/shape for women, save for some Spanx and a few other smoke and mirror tricks, are out and visible all the time. Your insecurities on display for judgement. However, thought height is just as visible for men as body shape is for women, I am not convinced this is a worthy parallel, and remain more convinced by Bordo’s argument likening penis size insecurity in men to body size insecurity in women.
As we have seen in previous class readings, fat people in our society are literally hated in many situations. Weight is demonized as disgusting, unholy, a symptom of an unhealthy body and an unkempt soul. Penis size is similarly embarrassing, fun poked at a small penis, say by a partner or in a locker room, is something that will likely be internalized, obsessed upon and hated for years to come. But due to its hidden nature, I am not entirely comfortable equating this pain to the pain of the eating disordered or obese either.
Now I do not argue that shorter men have it harder than taller men. But that said, I have a lot of short male friends. While I will admit they are more competitive and generally defensive than my taller male friends, which probably is a symptom of height, they do not obsess over it, and many express feeling happy and manly enough at their heights. They are not hated by others, and we all walk to the bars where they remain unharrassed. For men, it seems that maybe an attack on the penis may be harder to handle, maybe due to its status as the literal status of their manhood. Height is only one of many components of “manhood”.
However I am not male, and would like to hear more from the males in our classroom, to shed more light on a topic I will never have the experience to truly speak to.