Australian politician, Hajnal Ban’s decision to have leg-lengthening surgery, to take her from 5ft 1in to 5ft 4in, prompted me to think about some of the issues surrounding height and whether I would do the same.
At 5ft 1¾ , I am definitely short. I have always been aware of the psychological issues attached to being pint-sized, especially because my entire nuclear family is closer to the ground than average.
I have tried to steer clear of “little man-syndrome”, when a diminutive person tries to make sure other people don’t think their small stature equals a small character.
They try to make themselves feel bigger by:
1) Sidling up to authority figures
2) Trying to manipulate him or herself into positions of control
3) Moving toward positions of leadership
4) And worst, they can have a fairly volatile temper.
As the name suggests, the syndrome tends more to men so I am also wary of “little-girl syndrome”. For me, this is summed up as the tendency for a woman to act cutesy and like a little girl.
People will often make the assumption I am younger than I am. At worst, when I was 19 (and wearing my hair in pigtails), a 14-year-old boy told me I looked the same age as him. Following that incident, I changed my hairstyle.
Despite being told on numerous occasions it is a good thing to look younger than I am, it can also make me feel patronised.
That said, I am not so stupid to realise that everybody doesn’t like some part of themselves, be it height, weight, face, hair or whatever.
What is different about height is that more than just feeling small, I am small.
The practical problems it causes are endless. To name just a few:
1) I can’t get to the top cupboard in my own kitchen without standing on a stool
2) Every pair of trousers I own are frayed at the bottom
3) I get neck ache from talking to tall people
4) I am a rubbish goal shoot in netball
5) And most of the photos I take of people look right up their nostrils.
I would never consider getting leg-lengthening surgery because it would be probably very painful and I am just not as desperate as she, but for those practical reasons above I support Councillor Ban’s decision.