Tall Ladies: Always Raising the Bar
The average female height in the U.S. is 5 ft 4. The average male height is 5 ft. 9,1/2 .
I am a tall girl. And not just above average height – I’m six foot and three quarter inches. I know because my friend measured me while we were at a bar the other night, which is the kind of thing people are inspired to do around tall people. I’ve been this height since ninth grade. For a while there it looked like I might level out at 5 foot 11, but after the initial growth spurt my body was still reeling from the momentum and I eeked out an extra inch and three quarters. I would argue that there is a vast difference once you hit the six-foot boundary, for that puts you solidly in man-height territory, and makes people raise their eyebrows - "six foot"?
This hub is going to be a bit self-indulgent I will admit. And as much as I complain about being tall, I should add a disclaimer that I know it’s the way I was made, it makes me special, and I should wear it proudly. But that’s not what this hub is about. It’s about educating the public on the things people say to tall girls, and how it is construed in the tall girl’s mind.
"I wish I was that tall."
If this comment is coming from a man, it makes me think he's insecure around me. It kind of sucks that a lot of men feel uncomfortable dating women taller than them. It's almost worse that I've bought into gender roles so much that it also bothers me if he's shorter (sometimes). Does the person saying "I wish I was that tall" know that being tall can make us feel less feminine? I didn't own my first pair of heels until a few years into my twenties - I had no desire to make myself more noticeable than I already was.
Nooooo really. I hate being at a cocktail party and getting this observation thrown at me. For one, how do you respond to that? (Yes, it’s true, I am! Good icebreaker.) And secondly, we don’t go around saying: you’re short, you’re fat, or you have a big nose. This leads me to believe that being tall is a good distinction to have, otherwise people wouldn’t feel comfortable pointing it out. And yet…it’s difficult being different. A part of us really wants to just blend into the crowd, be like everyone else. Be a slightly shorter snowflake.
"Do you play basketball?"
Since when do we tall girls have to put our height to use? Do very tall guys get asked this question as often? As an athlete myself (though not a basketball player) I enjoyed the benefits that being tall brought, but winced at the thought that people attributed my athletic success to my height. Whenever a short girl beat me, I couldn’t help but feel like she was viewed as the little David and me the Goliath. Heightism again: the bad guys are often taller than the protagonist - it's a part of our intimidation tactics.
"You should model."
Okay, this one is somewhat flattering. Because I’m hoping it suggests that aside from my height you think I’ve got what it takes. But it also reminds me of the fact that while tall people are prized on the runway and in sports, in real life we get a little awkward. So let’s keep those tall people up on a pedestal where they do things really well like looking good in dresses and reaching over people’s heads.
A Heighted Family
"Are your parents really tall?"
Well yes, actually, they are. Frequently these things are genetic. Being around my dad and my brother is the best, because I get to feel like a shorty. It is valid though that on average people have been getting taller with each generation, suggesting that there are factors other than genetics afoot. I hope that by the time I’m a grandma all the young folk around me will be lanky six-foot somethings, so I finally can get lost in the crowd.
10 benefits of being a tall girl
To balance this hub out, I will now list ten benefits of being a tall girl.
1) People remember you.
2) It gives you an advantage in sports.
3) People ask if you're a model.
4) You will never be average.
5) You can see the stage in big concerts and find people in crowds more easily.
6) You have long legs – a sexy trait.
7) You can hide any unwanted weight gain more easily.
8) Tall women make more money than short women.
9) It inspires respect.
10) I probably feel safer walking alone at night than my shorter female friends.
Tall Female Celebrities
Julia Child (chef, author) – 6'2"
Uma Thurman (actress) – 6'
Jane Lynch (actress, Glee star) – 6'
Best Comeback to a Tall Person Joke
Q: “How’s the weather up there?”
A: “You have bird poop on your head.”
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on September 23, 2015:
Great hub, Tara. It's so true and spot on. I grew up in a tall family, though my SIL and my cousin and myself aren't the tall ones in the family. I guess you can say, we've gotten the short end of the stick. I 'm around 5'5"-5'6".
Julie K Henderson on July 24, 2015:
This is very fun article. I'm taller than average, and I cannot tell you how many strangers have asked me if I played basketball. Well done. Voted up.
Claire Brinkley on October 19, 2014:
Actually, my great grandfather came back with the best comeback to that tall person joke.
Q: How's the weather up there?
A: Bright and sunny. How's the weather down around my ass?
Meagan from Australia on May 23, 2014:
I agree with your comments! I'm a 5' 11" girl and I get those comments all the time. I hardly ever wear heels, and sometimes I wish I could, but towering over people isn't too fun sometimes. Especially when you're feeling shy!
I found though that once I started growing in year 8, people stopped bullying me. It's as though with height I must exert an aura of power - yet I'm not muscular or strong at all. It's amusing at times :)
Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on May 07, 2014:
Hello, Tara. (so what if you are tall. I am a Chevy Chase fan).
This is an excellent piece of writing. Amazing, to be precise.
I loved every word of it. Voted up and all the choices because you deserve it. You have such
a gift for writing. Just use it without a selfish motive and no telling at how far you will go
and how many people you will touch.
I am going now to leave you some fan mail and become a follower.
I cordially invite you to read one or two of my hubs, and be one of my followers.
I am so honored to meet you and follow you.
Kenneth/ from northwest Alabama
arashi on February 09, 2014:
I really liked this article,it really describes my feelings.I am 1.86 and always had a problem with my height.The worst comments i recive from people is "is great to be so tall you can beat people up" or "i wish i could be as tall as you or taller to beat people".I am a women,sensitive ,feminine and i feel bad for killing a mosquito even ,how can i beat people.It just makes me feel so less feminine.My looks reallys betrays what's inside me.I look very mature,serious,elegant and respectfull person but inside i am innocent,naïve,childish,feminine,sensitive women.And think a little bit at animals,at sizes and how mean they are.Think about the elephant,giraf,horse,whale,they are so big but such peacefull creatures and sensitive and good animals.But on the other hand tiger,lion,cat,panthere,leopard etc they hunt,they are selfish and mean.And what is the conclusion.I agree there are small animals that are good and cute,but what i mean is that most of the big animals are good.And for me if a boy say is scared of a tall women bcoz it will beat him that guy is a chicken not a man,a real man never fear to be beaten up by a women,how come?Doesn't matter how tall or big she is,she is a women.
PADMENDRA S R from DELHI/NCR on December 28, 2013:
A good effort to make all to understand that being tall is a God's gift and we have no right to comment on their height in a different way. Thanks for sharing.
Silvia on November 29, 2013:
oK! After reading this post maybe one year ago, I have been collecting in my minds situations in which I feel proud of my almost 2 meters high. So I would like to share them with all these beautiful tall women!
Nowadays, everybody is looking for the way to be different, the way to call the attention, in their businesses, in their lifes, we are different and we have something that others can not imagine! Use it! I wasn´t conscious enough until one day, a new friend told me, but Do you know how special are you? from then, I am not feeling different anymore just special! and I am really grateful for that!
We can swim several kilometers into the sea and still touch the sand with your toes! that's really awesome when you swim with children because they become really impressed! Actually children are really impressed when they see me, but that's good, I have a quick connection with them and we become friends very quickly. I like these two things! make me different, make me laugh, make me special somehow.
keep walking sure of you and brave! love!
Katarina on November 16, 2013:
Im 180 cm tall and i feel weird sometimes about my height. Its like i wake up one day feeling so proud cause im tall and then some much shorter then me looks at me like im a giant or comments something like OMG how tall are you??? So i can understand your hub perfectly and i think its very well said!
P.S. i come from tall nation actually but i still feel awkward sometimes
Evie on November 06, 2013:
I'm "only" 5'9" and even so, I've always struggled with feeling unfeminine and awkward around other women because of it. I actually find it harder to make female friends because of my insecurity about my height, even though a lot of women have said they were jealous. They just don't get it! I often can't help seeing myself as a sort of grotesque, clumsy gay man trying to pose as a woman - I feel ridiculous.
With men it isn't really a problem, though I found short guys were almost never interested in me (I sometimes was interested in them). I ended up marrying a guy who's 6'3", from Germany (taller average height), and who thinks I'm short.
Jess on November 04, 2013:
Being tall almost made me kill myself. The torture, the ridicule, & the name calling were the start... Being an isolated, single & lonely adult hasn't really helped. Being a 5'11 girl trapped in my giant man like body is hell.
Poppy on October 03, 2013:
Thank you for writing something that really addresses the issues felt by tall girls. I'm 5ft 11 and have mixed feelings about my height. I do get many compliments, but being tall can also make you feel insecure. The whole association with being 'unfeminine' is definitely something I feel when I'm stood next to short guys. Yet, I have had short guys tell me I'm beautiful. However, when I look at famous tall girls like Taylor Swift and Nicole Kidman, there is no way I would ever say they were 'unfeminine'! I think that maybe we have hypersensitive reactions due to feeling self conscious as we stick out from the crowd!
However for a tall girl there is nothing better than being with a tall guy!!! I just wish there were more around.... :-)
Mary Hyatt from Florida on September 19, 2013:
Why did someone comment about television?
Marcy J. Miller from Arizona on September 19, 2013:
Awwww, what a terrific hub, Tara. Tall women are striking and beautiful! I'm only 5-7 so I have to admit that I look up to you. Well done!
Best -- MJ
Shannon Henry from Texas on September 19, 2013:
I can't really relate because, according to you, I am just average height, but I love your humor nonetheless!
Crystal Tatum from Georgia on September 19, 2013:
I thoroughly enjoyed this hub. Very good, engaging, witty writing. And I am continually amazed at what people say, period! Voting up and awesome and sharing.
Dondapatiramakrishna on August 16, 2013:
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savvydating on August 11, 2013:
This is funny stuff, Tara McNerney. I'm only a measly 5'6 1/2. I rarely point out if a person is tall anymore, because I get the impression that it gets on their nerves. I was at a department store many years ago, and a really tall lady was looking at shoes or something right beside me. She looked to be about 6' 2". I said, "Wow," I've never seen anyone as tall as you." I was smiling and thinking, in my mind, that she would realize how impressed I was with her tall frame - in a good way. Not so. She replied, "Apparently, you haven't seen very many people then. Then she walked away in a huff. Well, that wiped the smile right off my face, but I learned to not say anything dumb to tall people anymore. I guess I didn't really think.
But you make a good point. What I said to that lady was silly. It's kind of like saying to a customer service agent. Wow, I've never seen a customer service agent like you." And they would be like, "Huh?"
Anyhoo, I still compliment tall people, but I try not sound like I'm a four year-old who has just seen Santa Claus for the very first time. ;)
Thanks for an entertaining piece, as well as a good reminder for us "average" people.
FlourishAnyway from USA on August 04, 2013:
As I come from a family of tall people on my father's side, I really enjoyed this. It looks like my daughter will be tall as well. We are trying to instill in her confidence that height is an asset. Great hub. I like your perspective.
Paul Edmondson from Burlingame, CA on August 03, 2013:
I have to say, I feel a little guilty from marrying short. My wife is about 5' 7" (if there is a number two, she'll be 6' 0" minimum). I'm 6' 7". We have three daughters. It looks like at least one will break the 6' 0" mark. We've tried to instill confidence in them about being tall.
As a guy, height has always been an asset, but other tall girls have talked to me about it and mention many of the things in your Hub. I was a little surprised the first time I heard these sentiments, because I was always on the side that taller women were more attractive.
I tell my daughters that they can only have a boyfriend if he's over 6' 4".
I often get asked about being tall, but it's usually by older women. They say "Hey, are you about 6' 4"," to which I answer "exactly." I know the next words out of theirs mouth...."I thought so, I have a grandson/son your height." They are always so happy...even if they are a few inches off:)
Burnell Andrews from LaBelle, Florida on July 01, 2013:
I hear where you are coming from, us tall guys have similar problems. The number of times I get the do you play basketball comment is obscene. Usually I just respond with no I don't in fact I am rather clumsy, and couldn't dunk to save my life. A bad thing about being tall is cars, I'm in college and so can't afford a really big car, so the result is I only can drive small cars, it is really a pain to squeeze in behind the wheel, its like when those clowns all squeeze into a little car at the circus, except its just me. It is nice to be attractive to other people though, so it's not all downside, in general mostly upsides. Another upside, always get the best clothes and shoes simply because there aren't that many cheap clothes that actually carry my size.
David J on April 12, 2013:
I'm 6'4" and think tall girls are soooooo sexy and I get many of the same comments as you tall ladies.
PS I AM a leg lover!!
Paul on February 10, 2013:
My wife is nearly 6' and she is the most amazing and beautiful woman I've ever known. She worries so much about our young daughter (already taller than any friend her age) being as insecure about her height as she was growing up. I wish those ridiculous comments didn't exist. You'd never talk about someone's weight or ethnicity in the same way.
Tara McNerney (author) from Washington, DC on January 31, 2013:
Kate you're so right. That's why I love my "tall lady club" - my three tall friends and I get together and celebrate being tall! We wear heels and claim our sexiness! It doesn't stop us from being a bit...touchy though. The other day my cousin who is 5ft 7 said she would really like to date a guy who was 6ft3 or 4. I burst out with unexpected emotion "What?? And limit my pool even further?! Stay where you can reach!"
Which is silly of course, I have dated guys shorter than me, but still....
Kate on January 31, 2013:
I think tall girls tend to shoot themselves in the foot because they're so awkward about it and assume everyone thinks they're a freak. The reality is that most girls envy tall girls. There's nothing sexier than a tall girl who is confident enough to wear high heels and doesn't slouch to try to fit in (which btw doesn't work anyway). There's a reason models are tall. Just sayin. I'm 5'7" and wish I was taller!
Faith A Mullen on January 30, 2013:
Lol! I love your comeback to a tall person joke. I am 5' 8'' and get tall comments even at this height. What I find most annoying though is shopping for pants. Most "tall" lengths are still not tall enough. Voted up :)
Tara McNerney (author) from Washington, DC on January 13, 2013:
Haha! T Stag thank you so much for sharing, you had me laughing and nodding my head in agreement. I briefly dated a guy who was 5 ft 6 too! He had such a great personality and was completely unfazed by the girl being taller than him. We're all just people!
T Stag on January 13, 2013:
Great topic. I am about to go out with a beautiful 5ft 11" babe for our first date but I am wait for it...a 5ft 6" chap. We met first online and the tall and short references came into the conversation in a natural funny jokey way. After that we chatted for hours and had each other in stitches - still bantering about height being and advantage if we ever played twister, and me checking her tyre pressure quicker than she can...Im short and nippy. We are going to meet for the first time soon for a drink and I am sure I wont fell any different. I got to find out about the girl and she got to find out about me ...Im talking about our personalities here and height...well she said she has the longest legs ever...and I seen the photo to prove it. I will be proud to be walking down the road with her...heels or no heels (and Im talking about me wearing them)
Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on January 09, 2013:
An engaging hub! I could relate to your insights! I am nearly 5'7 and half, which is taller than the typical average Indian female. Being tall has got its fair share of blessings. Once again, a well-presented hub! Well-done!
Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up
Tara McNerney (author) from Washington, DC on November 24, 2012:
You're right! Being tall is a physical feature that does make you memorable. I feel like I've had more people say "Oh yeah, I recognize you, I've seen you around..." because of it.
I often forget how tall I am and then I'll see a picture of myself in a crowd, or I'll catch sight of me and a friend in a mirror...
Clare on November 24, 2012:
Being tall means people will always notice when you walk in a room or across the street . which is not always good if you are shy and insecure . I think-the solution to that is just to embrace the tall ness . Also I find bus seats do not leave enough leg space so I often have to sit side ways which puts a strain on your back. Also most tables and sinks are too low down .
AriannaLeeAnn on November 21, 2012:
I am a bi-racial 16 yrs old, and I am 5 ft. 11 1/2 inches tall. Being tall definitely has some advantages, but there has been times when I've felt insecure/ different from others because of my height. Through time I have excepted that my height is how God made me.
I really enjoyed this blog. :)
Ali on October 10, 2012:
im a sophomore in highschool and I'm 5 foot 7 and three quarters, which i guess isn't freakishly tall or anything, but it feels that way...
Aryan Bajoria from Kolkata, India on October 06, 2012:
nice hub..snaps are really awesome.
Lee on September 24, 2012:
Great hub! I'm glad someone understands.. Being tall in South Africa is not in anyway easy.. I've got a love/hate relationship with my height, but this really helped out, oh and I'm like 175cm in height, not sure what that is in inches, this is really tall for african girls! This post really did make my day though, thanks
Tara McNerney (author) from Washington, DC on August 15, 2012:
Haha, you tell him Natalie! It's hard to just not cringe at those remarks. I've often wondered if it's harder to be a shorter than average male or a taller than average female?
Natalie on August 15, 2012:
Hi! Lovely post, being 6ft in Wales a country where the average woman is 5ft 1, I've always felt like a giant. It's great to read something I can relate to, and also comments from other long legged lovies!
When pested by an annoying short man with the 'Wow your tall remark!' I've been known to smile sweetly as say 'Which one of the seven dwarfs are you?'
JollyPinkGiant on August 08, 2012:
Love this! I can relate to EVERYTHING you said. It kills me how often I hear, "You're tall! Do you play basketball?" I so badly want to reply, "You're short! Are you a gymnast/Horse jockey?"
Although I do like being tall for the most part, there are definite downsides, particularly with clothes shopping. It's not just pants that are the problem. When you're 6ft., ALL clothes are a problem. Long sleeved shirts are more like 3/4 sleeves, tankinis become binkinis . . . Guess it does help keep my shopping habit in check. :)
Camille Harris from SF Bay Area on May 25, 2012:
I'm glad you mentioned this Hub in your comment or else I might not have found it! I'm about 5'10 1/2 and I come from a tall family (my mom is over 6 ft), so I relate to everything you've written here. I read a great piece in the SF Chronicle by a fellow tall lady who likened asking someone how tall they are with asking someone's weight or if they're a natural blonde - you just shouldn't! And I definitely feel safer and have thankfully never been the victim of a violent crime. Voted up!!
kevinbrown55 on May 16, 2012:
Tara, great hub! And I really do like tall girls. I wouldn't want a girlfriend who was ridiculously shorter than me, especially since I'm tall myself. Voted up!
Tara McNerney (author) from Washington, DC on April 28, 2012:
DFidducia, you're totally right that tall men don't have these concerns, being tall for men is a good thing - my brother is 6ft 7 and he LOVES it! He likes how it's useful for seeing over crowds, haha. Somehow being very tall gets equated (at least in my mind) with being unfeminine.
Some short men must feel heightism very strongly too.
DFiduccia from Las Vegas on April 28, 2012:
It’s interesting how height affects our self-image and seems to be somewhat dependent on gender when it’s about being tall. Tall males don’t seem to have the self-concept concerns that tall females do. You did a nice job of addressing these concerns as well as giving logical reasons to celebrate the advantages of being a tall female.
cbpoet from Las Vegas, Nevada on April 19, 2012:
Thanks for sharing the ten benefits of being tall. I'm 5'11" myself. Some disadvantages though are that cocktail dresses are often times too short for me. Also, I'm taller then most of the men who want to date me.
clintonb from Adelaide, Australia on April 18, 2012:
That's a very interesting hub!
Tara McNerney (author) from Washington, DC on April 17, 2012:
Wildove5 I LOVE your response to "how's the weather down there?" It made me laugh so hard. I also pretend to be shocked when people say "you're tall." Thank you for voicing that short girls have problems too. Being different is tough!
wildove5 from Cumberland, R.I. on April 17, 2012:
Well, I was 4 11 & 1/2...( have to add the half, It's important!) But at 47 I am now 4' 10... When I was in high school I too was teased constantly,,,even into adult hood I still have people declare loudly that I am short. As if I didn't know! I love to act surprised and shocked as if I hadn't realized all my life that I wasn't taller. I would love to respond with " Oh my god, your old, or " wow your UGLY." But then I would have to run, fast, and with my short legs they would certainly be able to catch me. My favorite comeback was in high school. My mother recommended this after I was teased over and over again by the same ignorant young boy, Boy; Hows the weather down there? Me: ( Spitting ) RAINING!!! Loved your hub! Us little girls suffered too!
collegatariat on April 17, 2012:
This is so true! I'm 5'9", so I get all those questions and comments consistently. Having clever comebacks is definitely a bonus. The hub is extremely funny! Thanks for sharing.
healthnutchef from Evansville, Indiana on April 17, 2012:
This was fun to read! I must admit, at 5'10" I'm not all that tall when compared to others, but growing up I was always the tallest kid in the class until around 8th grade. Then, finally, the boys started catching up! I like being tall. Voted up!
SJmorningsun25 on April 17, 2012:
You're so right about how we don't make other comments about people's body size--"you're so [short][fat][skinny]" etc. I'm 5'7", so taller than average, but in my much-taller family I'm definitely the shorty. C'est la vie! Thanks for your frank treatment of this issue--and for your humor. Voted up!
krisarey from Utah on April 17, 2012:
I used to get Tall One, String Bean, and so many more. Loved this!
Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on April 16, 2012:
Yeah, really loved this one! I see people make comments like those to tall people all the time and I always want to turn to them and say "... REALLY?"
Being different is never easy- even when the difference has tons of advantages. It's awesome how you handle your height with such grace and good humor!
Val Smith from Alameda on April 15, 2012:
Tara - WONDERFUL ARTICLE! every point right on. Thanks for sharing your insights and your humor! Val