Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Monday, October 10, 2016

Size does matter

I'm short. At five foot one, I'm four inches shorter than the average American woman. I'm even short by worldwide standards, unless you factor in Bolivian women, where the average height is 4'8" or Cambodia where the average is five feet even. The average height of an American man is approximately 5'10" so I'm nearly a foot shorter than even the average man. I can live with that. My height makes it harder to find clothes that really fit--I can't afford Vera Wang who dresses petite celebrities like Holly Hunter, and it's sometimes hard finding cute shoes in my size, but in general, I've learned work-arounds for things like getting cans off high shelves in supermarkets and dusting the tops of refrigerators and posing for pictures with taller people so we don't look like a circus act.

My height was never an issue until I worked at a production company on the Warner Brothers lot. The man whose name was on the company hired an executive to run the film division so that he could expand into television and cable. The man he hired was a sociopath. He was eventually (and successfully) sued for sexual harassment by a male intern, but before that happened, he was responsible for a 100 percent turnover in the people who worked at the company. I was there for eighteen months. Within months of my leaving, there wasn't a single person left I'd worked with.

This man was tall, probably six feet four, or so, and he liked LOOMING. It was his go-to stance. He would move in really close and loom. I do not have a particularly large bubble of personal space. I can feel comfortable standing close to other people, even to strangers, but every time this man loomed over me, I had to fight an almost viseral urge to back up. I'd forgotten about that until I watched the debate last night and watched Donald Trump (who is 6'2") looming over Hillary Clinton (who is 5'7"). I can only imagine the discipline it took not to flinch away. I don't care if this is a tried and true strategy for pulling focus, the optics were creepy. If you didn't see it, here's the link. 

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