The High Shelf – How Height Affects Men and Leadership Opportunities
“Wow, he’s so tall.”
“He’s going to be big when he grows up.”
“Eat your vegetables so you can grow up to be big and strong.”
We seem to celebrate height and size in males over everything. Maybe I’m just jaded. While I don’t consider myself “short”, at 5’7 3/4″ (every center meter counts), I’m not exactly tall.
My whole adult life I’ve been sizing other men down. It hasn’t bothered me much, until as of my last couple corporate jobs and interest in politics. Prior to that, I’ve either run my own business or was too young to think about being in a leadership role at the company I started in.
Now I see it everywhere. Tall men running fortune 500 companies and making decisions on how our government is run. It seems their elongated frames entitle them to authority. They are gods among humans, receiving wealth, admiration and top selection of mates.
I can remember a specific conversation in high school while walking a good girl friend to class, she started talking about how she just learned why women like taller men. She told me that it was a primal instinct; that it made them feel safer. Made sense, but I didn’t think much of it at that point.
We never dated, just friends. I had my own insecurities at that point such as my family situation and poverty that I have since gotten over. I know that these things were not my fault and I’m proud of how much I’ve accomplished with such little resources.
What really got me thinking about how much height affects men’s leadership opportunities is the current US Administration. A little over a month ago, I saw a video with Jared Kushner walking down the hall of the white house after being questioned about yet another scandal.
It pissed me off, but also made me laugh at the absolute absurdity. This giraffe like GQ model parading down the hall, surrounded by little peons trying to get his attention. I don’t even know what he does.
I wish I could find it – it is the epitome of celebrity and everything wrong with society.
Oh, sweet, here it is:
Do you see what I see? I’ve never even heard this guy speak or seen any of his work until this point. Just images of him modeling around jets and Trump. I can assume that he was born into wealth and privilege. While I’m usually correct in my thoughts, let’s do a little research.
Jared Kushner was indeed born into great wealth. He graduated a private high school in 1999, and a year prior, his father pledged 2.5 million to Harvard University. In 2001, Kushner’s father gave $3,000,0000 to NYC. Lots of Money. Wouldn’t you know, the tall, lean son of a rich ended up studying at Harvard while running a division of his daddy’s real estate empire.
Funny thing about his father, Charles Kushner, is that he ended up serving 2 years in prison for tax evasion, illegal campaign donations, and witness tampering in the mid 2000’s.
Money got Jared Kushner an education and power, but his height landed him a leadership role in government as Senior Advisor to President Trump. He married Ivanka Trump and was the perfect distraction for the paparazzi to distract the masses. Basically, a rich playboy with no understanding of the struggles of the average American.
Now that you have my opinion, let’s get back to some facts.
Heights Of Recent US Presidents
The past United States Presidents are all male, and are typically taller than the average male of their time.
The average height of a male in the US is currently 5’10”. In 1950, it was 5’8″. We have been growing our average height over the last 150 years.
As men age, they shrink. If the heights displayed above are from the time of Presidency, then the only president not in the 6 foot club since Kennedy (era of TV in elections) was Jimmy Carter. Though he was a great president, he only served one term. He did put solar panels on the White House (learn about my work on Emissions Tax), and was a very charismatic leader with little to no controversy in his political career. If only he were taller.
I’ll never be President. I’m short and I don’t have a full head of hair. Name a bald president in your lifetime.
Luckily, I’m really smart, and a decent looking, well spoken guy, so there might be other options for me as a thought leader. Just never President.
Giants of Industry – Height in Executive Pay
Most Fortune 500 companies are headed by tall men. The exception to this is when it is run by women, or the CEO is also a founder. Jeff Bezos is 5’7″, but he grew Amazon himself. Typically, public companies hire out their CEOs and other executives. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple is 6’3″.
Still, many founders are tall. Elon Musk of Pay Pal and Tesla fame is 6’2″. Directors of Sales and other managers, in my experience are also tall. My last direct manager was tall and skinny. While the founder of the company was of smaller stature than I, The CFO was over six feet in height.
He recently took over as CEO. Great guy, but I’m beginning to see a pattern. Tall men have more opportunities.
They get promoted more quickly and get paid more for the same jobs. Their opinion has more weight for no reason besides they’re the tallest.
Toughen Up and Be a Man
Why are tall men typically more successful? It can’t be that they are smarter.
It’s because our capitalistic society rewards gender ideals. Strong man/beautiful, caring female. It’s not just this way in business or politics, it’s all throughout life.
A slight advantage as a youth snowballs into massive inequities over time. We reward tall males for no other reason than their height.
Sure – many tall men achieve great things and are good people. Many men in power are despicable people solely because of privileged; their wealth. One of their privileges may be height. I’m not the only person that sees this trend:
The Glass Ceiling – Equal Opportunity for Women
Women can get the bad end of the stick for economic opportunities. I’ve worked for many women, women that make much more money, have better benefits and a nicer car than I.
I’ve always said that women could rule the world if only they’d let themselves. I love working with and for them.
In my experience, they typically have more compassion and don’t have the same competitiveness as males. Instead of plotting against them, I can work with them.
The “Glass Ceiling” was the inspiration for this article. Women want equality, and they should.
To support and reward men based upon their excessive height, looks and where they came from will never get them there. It’s actually a danger to us all.
P.S. My Fiance is a tall, beautiful and powerful woman. See for yourself.