King of America: Short Man Syndrome

Cartoon of short man syndromePost Disclaimer: I am 6’6”, but actually believe that I may suffer from a version of short man syndrome myself. I tend to be competitive and aggressive and occasionally assault tall men, because, “they were judging me.”

For years I have noticed that people who are short or were short when they were young are often much more aggressive than the rest of the human population. My theory was always that short people (men especially) are more aggressive because they feel a need to “prove” themselves to their taller peers.

People throughout history have noticed that short men are significantly more likely to be jealous and angry and aggressive than tall people are. Older civilizations had a different name for “Short Man Syndrome”- “The Napoleon Complex”. Both are terms that describe an inferiority complex that physically short men have. Other terms for short man syndrome include “small man syndrome”, “little man issues”, “child molestor” and “little demon creature”. Some of those may be more scientifically accurate than others.

Many historical figures are alleged to have had short man syndrome- Napoleon BonapartThe Napoleon Bonaparte Complexe, Mussolini, Attila the Hun, Stalin among many of history’s most loathed men. Could their short man syndrome have driven them to commit atrocities and have a drive for absolute power? Is short man syndrome a factor in life?

Recent and old scientific studies, along with piles of anecdotal evidence seem to indicate that yes, short man syndrome is a major factor in human society. Researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands recently carried out a study to find out how short man syndrome affects relationships. Participants were asked to rate themselves on how jealous they were on a scale from “not jealous at all” to “morbidly jealous”. The study participants were also asked how interested their partners were in members of the opposite sex. The results showed that the shorter men were FAR more likely to be jealous than the tall men. Researcher Dr. Abraham Buunk said, “Taller men tended to be less jealous, and the tallest men were the least jealous.” In contrast, “the very short and very tall women tended to be more jealous and women of average height were the least jealous.”

Another study with more participants (about 400) was done afterwards and once again the shortest men were the most jealous on a sliding scale up to the tallest men. The researchers thesis is that their findings reflect insecurities among people who are not society’s targeted height.

I can understand why short men have short man syndrome. The world at large seems to have a very strong unconscious bias towards taller people.

Research studies have shown that the taller a man is significantly more likely to make more money, have moreshort man syndrome children, have more sexual partners and get more replies to dating advertisements than are shorter men. According to Malcolm Gladwell, the average CEO on the Fortune 500 list is 3” taller than the average American male. This statistic actually way understates what is actually going on- 58% of CEO’s on the Fortune 500 list are over six feet tall, while the American population average is 14.5%. As you continue to even taller heights, you find that the bias for tall people increases further. 3.9% of the American populace is over 6’2”, whereas 30% of CEO’s are over 6’2”. Short men have very good reason to be more aggressive and jealous than their taller peers- people automatically judge them as inferior. Other studies have shown that on average, each additional inch in height for a man gives him an additional $789 a year in income. If you take this over a 40 year lifetime of work short man syndrome hahahaand compare the difference between the average 6’6” man and the average 5’5” man, this adds up to hundreds of thousands a year of additional income. Also, in almost every presidential election in American history, the taller man has won over the short man. George W. Bush is a rare exception; but he still got less votes than the taller Al Gore. People love tall men.

I have questions about the correlation between height and success in life. Is it causative? Does being taller mean you probably have better genes and thus are more likely to be successful in life? Or is it simply a genetic prejudice held over from the days when big men were more likely to survive than shorter men? I don’t know. It may also have to do with nutrition: people who receive better nutrition at a young age have been shown to be more intelligent and grow taller than those who don’t. What do you, my readers, think? short man syndrome uber freak

Short man syndrome has been something that annoyed me my whole life. Shorter guys are always trying to prove they are better at me at whatever stupid activity we are doing. Sometimes I just want to play a simple game of horse without a short guy getting all heated. Since I’ve shown that there is a real cause for short man syndrome and that short man syndrome exists in everyday life, is there anything we can do about it?

Is there a cure for Short Man Syndrome? Has Short Man Syndrome caused more suffering than, say, cancer or AIDs? What is the Center for Disease Control (CDC) doing to combat short man syndrome?!

We cannot let the short man syndrome outbreak continue to spread… look at what it has done to the poor victim pictured at right.

Published by

Joel Gross

Joel Gross is the CEO of Coalition Technologies.

43 thoughts on “King of America: Short Man Syndrome”

  1. Not all short people are angry. Some go onto amazing careers as circus folk, foot stools, late night television personalities, and arch villains living in sewers.

    That being said, I think it is the kids who receive early growth spurts (3-7th grade) but who do not continue growing who become the most violent and out to prove something. For a few years, they get to be tall. They enjoy all the entitlements we receive. And then suddenly that is all taken.

  2. Hahahha

    Short Man Syndrome truly is the bane of society. I think we should send people with Short Man Syndrome to re-education camps to be taught that it’s alright that tall people are better.

  3. What did your friend’s father say about the issue tall people have? A really tall building can make a door look very small. I don’t know, you tell me.

  4. I used to have short man syndrome. I’ve always, always, been shorter than everyone. Throughout my elementry school days I was a beating post, right up till grade 7. I moved alot and didn’t make many friends cause no one liked the obscenly short kid. Because of this I had a realy hard time trusting people and was relay synical cuase my first thoughts after meeting someone is, “when are they going to start making fun of me”.

    I made some good friends, and became tigh with them, and went gone on the join Cadets. I found that once I joined Cadets I started to become less angry, and could trust people more due to the fact that i found something where I felt like I was important and was accepted. I acceled greatly at cadets, and won various awards. I Later joined the army, and that was it. I felt no longer like an outcast but more accepted. I can take a joke, and sure my army buddies pick on me from time to time, but thats life. I found that as I got older, people became less immature and more accepting of poeple’s differences. Now I can’t even count how many friends I have, and I’m generaly always happy.

    So if theres any short guys out there like me, you just gotta use the cards dealt to you. Eventualy shit will get better.



    One thing I do want to say though is that some of the comments made above is the kind of additude that creates Short man syndrome. If you don’t like SMS then stop picking on the little guys and they’ll probably chill out, lol.

  5. Cal- thanks for the great comments! You are absolutely correct in pointing out that the attitudes held by society are what cause short man syndrome. If people were able to be mature and look past silly things like height, age, race, sex and sexual orientation the world would be a far better place.

  6. i am very short for my age.
    I was 11 and 4 foot 2.
    I have “short womans syndrome”
    Through out middle school i had giants that were afraid of me.
    I still am very agressive and very competitive.

  7. Hi,

    My wife’s family lawyer is around 5’2′ and he is an angry little ant. He likes my wife who is almost 6 foot and a former fashion and catwalk model, and he has been trying to impress her to the point at being at her call 24/7. He has come out so agressive, with threats of vexatious litigation. He can’t help himself. He has been at this for six months and tried every trick in the dirty book of family lawyers. He has not won a round and my wife has racked up nearly $50,000 in fees. The irony is that he has overstepped the mark and has done improper things that will probably see the little runt disbarred from the Bar Association. His career is now over as a lawyer and attorney. This is a classic example of blind ambition by a person with short man syndrom.

    And the funny thing is that I was self represented and beat him at his stupid game.

    Tall guy

  8. I think that “short guy syndrome” probably has more to do with self-esteem issues associated with height during adolescence than anything else. A number of studies have found traits associated with “short guy syndrome” to be more closely correlated to height in high school than adult height. For example, I am much shorter than average and was in high school 5′ 5″ / 165 cm but had very high self-esteem in high school. With a mile run of 4:50, a bench press max of 220 lbs, and an IQ of 145 am fairly secure in how I stack up against my taller peers.

  9. I’m short by all standards (5’5″). Every single one of my friends is taller than me except the girls and occasional Asian. However, I agree with the self-esteem issue. All/Majority of the guys I see my height get all uppity if you even reference size/height as if it completely undermines their entire worth. I’ll even get heat from people +/- 2 inches or so who are just completely insecure. In fact, I know a handful of tall guys who solely rely on height to draw their self-worth from, a similar syndrome in the reverse. They’ll expect a huge reaction if they say that evil five letter “s” word and when I play along it’s like I just went against a Universal law. I can also ride in 2 door cars with impunity.

  10. Ricky,

    I’m glad to hear from a short guy who has a great sense of self-worth. Height shouldn’t make someone feel bad or good about themselves, who you are as a person is far more important.

    And yes, being short has great benefits, like being able to drive sports cars, dance with girls more easily and look girls straight in the eye. I always get a darn crick in my neck lol.


  11. Ricky,

    I completely agree with the “Tall Guy Syndrome.”

    I hit 6’0″ when I was 17 and have stayed the same height since (smoking a pack and a half a day since that time probably hasn’t helped.)

    As said, I was 6’0″ at 17, but it was progressive so I didn’t suddenly wake up with 8″ extra height. Even so, I noticed a lot of really tall bastards with this all-too-self-important attitude. They’d be looking down on people figuratively because they were also doing so literally.

    Looking back, thankfully I never did the same thing. I’ve always been a stoner without smoking weed (ok, I’ve done it but damnit I’m NOT a stoner! *stamp*)

    Something I’ve noticed is small/tall girl syndrome as well. I’m 23 and have noticed for at least 5 years if a woman is 5’3 or shorter, or 5’7 or taller, they have this super competitive attitude. Perhaps it’s because women, no matter the height, are inferior and feel they have to prove something? 😉

    Seriously, to all humans of female gender that was just a joke. Can’t wait to see the kind of hate-responses I get.

  12. Two more things. . .

    1. Napoleon has a F.U.P.A. in that picture. Anyone else catching that?

    2. Is SMS a self-perpetuating disease? Example: A good friend of mine in grammar school was shorter than even the females and was always a dick. We’re talking 7th grade here. By 9th grade he could kick anyone’s ass because he had lifted weights twice a day, did insane amounts of cardio, and was studying MMA. To date he’s still 5’1, the same height he was in 7th grade.

    He could chew and, subsequently, spit out anyone twice his size today.

    I’ve read some articles over the years about weight training at an early age stunting growth. Is this true? If it it is then it would tie in nicely to the whole SMS.

    The cure is simply waiting for a growth spurt to hit, vice hitting the weights when you’re 9 years old and not ten feet tall yet.

    You have to wonder if the guy in the article picture would have held off on weight training for 3 or 4 years would he be that height?

  13. You show a picture of a guy that is a short bodybuilder and say he is a bodybuilder because he is short, to make up for being short. So in your mind a shot man only builds to compensate for being small, not because he likes the benefits of the sport. So in your small mind, short men build to prove themselves. If a short man is into bodybuilding he has been driving to it because he is short, but if a regular size man is into bodybuilding it’s because he likes it. You are the one who thinks short men are inferior. Can’t a short man enjoy it for the same benefits as a tall man, without being labeled as a nut case! You are the short one, maybe not in size but in mind!!!

  14. Maybe short guys are better then tall guys, shot guys have to be better at everything to be equal so they learn more and try harder and are more understanding, unless society screws them up so bad they actually think of themselves as worthless and just give up and become total dicks!

  15. I am short and never let it get in my way.I am 22 and 5’0 tall,i also run a ju-jitsui club where i am a black belt the same with karate i am a black belt.I decided to learn them when some guys used to take pot shots at me.Now the shoes is on the other foot.I have a wonderful partner who adores me for what i am.Okay she may think she set the rules but we do so together.I am lucky enough to have found her as she is pleasantly surprised by what i can do with my lack of height.She stands tall at 5’7 and she reassures me about there being no problems.

  16. It took me a while to get used to being short as a child i hated it.I used to always say to friends at school that boys take longer to grow than girls.What i didnt know was that having a mum who was 5’0 and my dad being 5’5 would determine my height.I am now 21 and my height is 4’10 worse for me is having a 15 year old sister Janine who is 5’5 already.For some reason she loves being taller than me and always points out this fact to everyone.I also have a brother James who is 17 and he is like me pretty short.Lucky for him though he has the edge on me he stands at 5’0 just like mum.Our youngest is Sian and she is 13 and she is also 5’3.I always thought that the oldest child would be the tallest it wasnt for me.I remember when my mum or dad took us to school when we were younger and i noticed then that alot of the parents were quite tall, and when we were collected from school i used to always say to them to stand near the front so i could see them.When i used to do the washing up or drying up with Janine she used to always rush and do the washing up thus leaving me to do the drying up and putting away.She knew that i couldnt reach the high cupboards and when i used to ask her to put the things away she used to laugh and say just get a stool you midget.I can see that my sisters have gotten their height from dad and me and James have gotten it from mum.At high school i was forever having Janines friends coming up saying NAW you aint older than Janine are you.Having family pics done she is the one who is always saying to me and James i think you 2 need to be in the front so people can see you.Usually i am like a floating head in pics with loads of people.Sian is very sensitive to me and James and says all the time that if she could she would give us some of her height as she knows we get very frustrated being short.I did however have to learn martial arts as i was picked on abit but now everything is fine and dandy for me and James did the same.So we only use it on idiots tall guys who think they can pick on the short guys.There is no animosity on our part with having a s.m.s has we live everyday being shorter than the male population where we live.

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