words Alexa Wang
Whether we like it or not, size matters a lot. It’s part of our day-to-day interactions. Our size gives others an anchor to observe, compare, and judge us. In a world of culture, influencers and advocates work hard to banish size discrimination.
Someone such as Ali Tate Cutler, the US plus-size model, is a voice for body positivity. Her efforts, along with others, are erasing preconceptions and expectations of beauty to erase the need for a unique size ideal. The media also supports the quest for a size-less market. Yet, the mind rebels. We still struggle with the concept of sizes. We appreciate that size in terms of width should be meaningless. But height, on the other hand, remains a source of problems. Can culture only be accessible if you are “tall” enough?
Playing instruments with small hands
Musicians are familiar with size expectations. When you think of pianists, you immediately picture long-fingered hands. As a result, you might assume that having small hands mean you can’t learn the piano. But you’ll be wrong. Pianos appeared in the 1700s with keyboards designed to fit the inventor’s hands. Therefore, the first keyboards matched individuals with large hands and long fingers. However, over 300 years later, pianos have evolved and come in different models and designs. Long-handed pianists still exist. But smart fingers do not stand in your way of learning and playing the piano anymore! Similarly, guitars can also seem inaccessible to people with short fingers. But don’t let the clicheés confuse you. You can find electric guitars suitable for small hands, such as the Fender Player Mustang, Kurt Cobain’s favourite guitar.
Don’t let the dress eat you alive
As the temperatures are rising, dresses are coming back with a vengeance. They’re everywhere, from social events to a casual day out. However, the cute floral model in 2021 can rapidly turn into a hybrid monster on a petite woman. Oversized models, puff sleeves, long cuts make it hard to petite body shapes to come to terms with the trends. However, fashion experts recommend making the most of the crop fashion to save yourself from aggressive dresses. Additionally, petite cuts also offer more flexibility and versatility for those of us who are challenged in the height department. More and more brands are offering shorter designs to tailor for a newly recognised audience group. In other words, the fashion industry has adapted to individuals of all sizes, welcoming petite women and shorter men with trends.
The mind is historically biased
Society is building an accessible platform for all sizes. So, why does the mind continue to think that small is a disadvantage? It turns out that history has not been kind to shorter people. Being taller is socially desirable because height directly affects our sense of social status. Being shorter can make an individual feel more vulnerable and inadequate in an adult world. Additionally, historically, navigating obstacles and landscapes would have been more difficult for those with reduced height.
In conclusion, height has long stopped being an obstacle in our day-to-day lives. There are solutions that are specifically designed to empower short people. Yet, as long as the mind believes that tall is better, we won’t be able to ban height discrimination from our perception.