Height Shaming: Tall Women Tell Us Their Experiences

Growing up, I was always the tallest girl in school. People would often make remarks about my height; standing at 6’2, they still do. I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked if I play basketball or model, although these comments never really phase me and, if I'm honest, I find the latter quite flattering. During my teenage years, though, I would often overhear strangers making mean comments about my height. Both children and, to my surprise, adults, would refer to my height as if it were some sort of burden, or an undesirable attribute that would make me incapable of attracting men. That used to make me feel really insecure.
I know I'm not the only one who feels like this. A lot of tall women grow up feeling insecure about their height, and have to come to terms with the fact that no matter where they go, someone is going to make a comment, good or bad.
Ahead, six women talk about how they deal with being height-shamed on a regular basis...
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Symone Mabry, 25, a 6'4 socialite and blogger

Strangers on the street feel compelled to tell me I’m "a waste of height" when my answer of not being an athlete doesn't satisfy them. I live in NYC so I encounter many people on the street, and about one in five has something to say. Men will say "We’re all the same height lying down" and short women will beg me to give them a few inches. Growing up in a small town in Connecticut, there were no other girls nearly as tall as me. My brother’s friends would announce me as "The Big Show" [a famous wrestler] when I would walk into a room. It was pretty tough. All throughout middle school and high school I had that "tall girl slouch" and just kind of shrank myself so I didn’t feel so tall. Thankfully as I grew older and started dating, I found that my height was one of my greatest attributes. Men thought my long legs and statuesque body were beautiful.

If I could give any advice to tall women feeling insecure it would be to never shrink yourself for anybody. Always be proud of who you are and how you were made, and everybody will reciprocate that same energy.
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Michele Toon, 50, is a 6'2 licensed nurse

As feminine as I believe I am, I have been called "sir" to my face more times than therapy could ever erase. I do recall one time when I was travelling and dying to use the toilet. I walked into the women's restroom. Three women were eyeballing me for long periods of time, almost looking at me as if I didn’t belong there. It took me a bit to catch on, then I realised that they thought I was a man. Although they never said it, I knew they thought it. I was afraid and embarrassed, to say the least.
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Marsha Campbell, 34 , is a 6'0 fashion blogger

When I was 13, I was on the bus and two boys commented on my trousers being too short and questioned why my parents couldn't afford to buy me the right size, in front of the entire bus. Once I got over the initial embarrassment I told them this was the way I liked to wear my trousers. In those days, however, cropped trousers were not a fashion statement; I just couldn't find trousers long enough. I think every tall girl at some point in their youth has been made to feel inadequate due to their height. Growing up I was always taller than the average girl at school and I used to walk with a slight hunch to fit in. I often had comments around my 6ft height – the cruel comments young teenagers make.

Once I accepted myself, I instantly started to walk taller and be proud. I always tell other tall women that happiness comes from within. You have to be comfortable and love yourself for who you are, first and foremost.
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Kristy Narkunas, 37, is a 6'5 licensed massage therapist

I was recently in the queue at the shops and I saw someone step up next to me and just stand there looking at me. When I looked to see why this person was standing with his face less than 18 inches from mine, an 80-year-old man, approximately three inches shorter than me, asked "How’s the weather up there?" I glanced at him and went back to my transaction. He continued to stand there and then explain to me why he asked that, as if I missed the point of his question: "Because, you see, I was hoping to get a forecast." I just took a moment to stare off into the distance and find a sigh from about three miles deep into my body.
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Sydney Shackelford, 47, is a 6'5 LGBT advocator

Most of the times I've been height-shamed were for wearing heels. This has been directed to me by both men and women. The most shocking was when I had just purchased some new boots with a three-inch heel and a female co-worker told me I was too tall to wear heels and that I should stick to flats. Another time I was called an Amazon woman by a saleswoman at a home improvement shop. I also happen to be a transgender woman born intersex, assigned male at birth and now fully transitioned to female, married to a woman. It's hard enough being transgender and it can be hard to be a tall woman, but being both takes a lot of self-confidence.
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Kirsten Campbell, 33, is a 6’1 marketing consultant

As a tall child, strangers were brutally rude, there was no filter. It was common to hear people around me loudly debating if I was too tall, or how they were glad they weren’t my height because it was too big for a woman. School was the stereotypical battleground you’d expect for a gangly, tall girl. I remember one time at a school dance there was a brief moment where I’d forgotten about my height for a nanosecond and relaxed; an acquaintance chose that second to pull a chair over to stand on, to "jokingly" ask me to dance.

Several years ago, while I was sitting on a kerbside in Paris, a stranger saw me sit down, walked over and proceeded to loudly tell the café that I was "too big" – to my surprise the Parisian diners surrounding me shouted him down and corrected him, by calling me tall.

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