Post 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 Bonaparte, 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 more 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 and 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 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.