Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Women's Sports Week: Tall Girls Tall Girls Whatcha Gonna Do?

Apologies to, of course.

LZ Granderson had an article titled "Big Girls Need Love Too" ( He said the following and got similar quotes from his interviewees: "A life handcuffed by low self-esteem because she's taller than everyone else in class. A life so desperate to be liked that she'd rather be promiscuous than continue being alone...Basketball gives larger women a place to belong and often starts the healing process from years of psychological abuse."

Aside: Is it me, or has Page 2 suddenly improved? Frankly, since Whitlock left, they haven't had a good football writer. So October-February, I spent a lot of time clicking on the site, muttering about my wasted time under my breath, and departing. Much better now, though.

So what do you think? Is it really that bad, tall(er) females of the world? Do short girls have all the fun? My impression was that for females, tall is ok, fat is not in American culture. (Not saying it's right, by any means; I'm just saying that seems to be the cultural norm.) Personally, height is good: I like it when I can see eye-to-eye with a woman, literally. But maybe it is tough for tall females (and short males, which is an ENTIRELY different can of worms) out there. Look at this poor girl: I found this video linked to from

Now some people are arguing as to whether the rim is really 10' or not; she makes it look so easy! But I'm more concerned about her as a human being. She just doesn't look that happy. Almost as if she's being exploited as some sort of freak show. At the end, I think she smiles. But it is worrisome.

Others, however, seem to be quite pleased with their height. This woman refused to have her growth stunted and is now a star volleyball player:

So anyway, blog readers, give me some feedback on this one, I want to know. In our American culture, do taller females have a harder time than shorter females when it comes to being appreciated and respected? And I mean, in general, not just sports. When it comes to sports, do you really think that sports will help taller females with self-esteem? Or that the athletic options just make things worse, and make the females feel exploited for their height?


  1. As a tall woman (at 5'9" i'm definitely considered above average) I wouldn't say I'm miserable or looked down upon (no pun intended!). However, I really do have issues with dating shorter guys...nothing against them personally except that I want to feel small and cute next to the guy i'm dating. I don't like dating a guy who's skinnier than me for the same reason. I like to feel that he can defend me rather than the other way around, nah mean? But to each his own. What i HATE to see, however, is short girls dating above-average height guys. Example: My 6'5" brother's last two girlfriends have been 5 feet flat. WTF...those chicks need to start dating in their own height range and get the eff out of my wading pool of men I have to chose from. And those guys: knock it off...what's wrong with a tall, leggy woman with exceptional extension and awesome volleyball skills? Not that i'm thinking of anyone in particular. Hm.

  2. I think that tall women have an easier time being respected. I've been told that I, as a tall woman, will have an advantage in the courtroom and whatnot.

    Also, the tall thing being a burden switches as you grow up. As a child, it sucks beyond belief sometimes. Kids are cruel and boys are so far behind girls developmentally that it can be really hard.

    However, as an adult, I adore being tall and wouldn't change the way I look for anything.

  3. TSINB, yeah, weird height mismatches can be weird. If the girl really thinks that being 6'5" will make him more likely to protect her or be the man of her, not so much. Takes more than height, sweetie. (And I say this as someone who's about six feet; not shortie hate here, promise). But hey, true love is true love, if that's what it is.

    What's wrong with a tall, leggy woman with volleyball skills? hmm...still thinking...(3 days later)...nope, still can't think of anything. :-)

    Ladyandrea, I think you make a great point. Once boys are also sprouting up and catch up to girls in height (say 15?), it's not so awkward for a girl to be tall anymore. And not being of average height demands attention. Still, though, as we're saying, there can be good and bad attention to being tall for a female.

  4. I am 5'10" now, but I gradually grew into my height. I would say that height can have its advantages, but the advantages are limited. There is a BIG difference between being 5'11" and 6'4". Especially if you aren't a model type. I never played sports, so I don't have the boost of self esteem that might result from that identity. But I did live in NY, where Amazons are valued. Even at 5'10, I'm often the tallest person, male or female, in the room. It's awkward. I do not presently have children, but if were to have girls, I would be conscientious about the sports I allowed them to devote themselves too. With female athletes, it's not always the height, but the body part development that can hinder them. I'm not sure if I want a girl with huge, broad shoulers or no breasts. To some extent, I can control that. Height can be an asset, but some of the other physical attributes of female athletes are not.

  5. I think Granderson's point is less about just tall and more about tall and broad. Chantelle Anderson or Lisa Leslie can be more accepted as beautiful because they're slender (or at least not wide).

    But two of the primary examples there, Courtney Paris and Kym Hampton, are both tall and broad. At least Kym got modeling jobs- she was a Lane Bryant model for a while, something that made this Liberty fan a whole lot more willing to buy Lane Bryant clothes. (Parenthetical aside: Kym's successor at the pivot for New York, Tari Phillips- also a big gorgeous, and underappreciated, woman. I'd post a link, but is sucking at their photo gallery displays at the moment. If curious, poke around their All-Star history.)

    I think there are, if you'll pardon the word, heightened expectations for tall women. If she can live up to them, then she's going to be a lot more comfortable, especially if she can be among women of her own height (or even taller; imagine being 6'4" and having to look waaaay up at a teammate). If not, I imagine that she'd find herself frustrated at the constant assumption that she plays or played sports. But for the latter, if she does happen to hang out with the basketball team (or the volleyball team, or whatever), then she'll still have a chance to get used to her height.

    I wonder if part of it is the perception of threat by men. A big strong woman doesn't need protection, and the testosterone does not approve. 's probably why the media darlings tend to be either of average or only slightly above average height (in the WNBA, Bird, Hammon, maybe Whalen, Dales if you count her position as lust object for men's basketball fans) or tall but slender (Leslie, Cash, maybe Jackson). You get someone like a Phillips or a Ruth Riley, or a Courtney Paris, and no matter how well they clean up, they're still big and strong.

    In the end, it's all down to the individual reaction to things, y'know?

  6. Thanks HCIC, good points. And Rebecca, good add about Granderson meaning "big" more than "tall"; that does make a lot more sense.