Are Women Allowed to Have Height Preferences?

Woman is hugging taller man, supposedly happy couple. Illustrates typical preferences.

If we phrase the question as such, most people would answer “Yes”, without having to give it too much thought. Or at least, that’s what I would hope. Having a preference for certain physical attributes is everyone’s right, and it’s also completely normal.

So, why am I asking this question? I am asking because while this may not be a controversial question in general, women preferring taller men has been a sort of hot button issue among (male) Tinder/Bumble/Hinge users, for example on the r/Tinder subreddit. One must merely post a screenshot of a Tinder conversation wherein the woman asks the guy how tall he is to simultaneously collect a lot of fake internet points (karma), and set off the same avalanche of furious outcries as every other post on this topic.

For extra points, and to spark extra fervor in the ensuing solidarity circle jerk, one should reply “So, how much do you weigh?“, thus giving her a taste of her own medicine. And it must be bitter indeed. Bitter and salty. Or maybe that’s just (some of) the r/Tinder guys, while the woman in question deletes this match and responds to one of her other dozen new messages instead.

Popular Opinion, Flawed Logic

Meanwhile, the good folks on social media are still congratulating each other on that utterly original and poignant zinger that really drove the point home. I mean, who does she think she is, wanting to know about a physical attribute that’s not easy to gauge from images? Who is she to have preferences?

At this point, it’s entirely possible the question was purely out of interest, to get a better mental image of the guy she’s at least a little bit interested in. Maybe she does have preferences, but as we’ve established, that should be considered absolutely okay. In the same vein, it is indeed absolutely okay for a guy to have his own preferences for physical attributes such as a girl’s weight. He just shouldn’t expect any kind of positive reaction to asking about it in such a manner.

But more importantly: Is it even a relevant and comparable retort? Yes, weight, similarly to height, can be difficult to gauge from images in some cases, and (some) plus size women have a tendency to try every trick in the book to hide any extra pounds behind angles, and filters. But weight, as opposed to height, is something relatively easily adjusted, given the will to do so. “Aha!”, cries the mistreated manlet, “Height is indeed something you cannot change (without surgery), so it is entirely unfair to judge or dismiss a man based on such an attribute.”

Is it? I have another example for a physical attribute that is impossible to change (without surgery): A face. Is it wrong to base one’s attraction to a person on their face as well? Has the guy being discriminated against based on his height alone – surely never his attitude – always felt attracted to women no matter their face? Seeing as only attributes one can modify with willpower and effort, such as physical fitness, or character can possibly have any merit. Surely, only these testaments to self-improvement can be ethically preferred, right?

Heightism – A New National Discrimination Epidemic?

As you might have guessed, it’s mainly shorter than average fellas who take great offense to the question of height, and feel like they got the short end of the stick in the dating game. They are convinced all women look down on them, and on anybody else who is not at least six feet tall. Of course, they are not doing themselves any favor by being defensive and passive aggressive about it at the slightest mention of the topic. But do they have a point?

Granted, as a fellow of slightly above average height (5’11”) I may lack the necessary perspective to judge the issue fairly. On the other hand, I have only once been asked my height on Tinder, by a woman who was one inch shorter than me and just didn’t want to be taller than the man in the relationship. It did not matter that I wasn’t a basketball star, and things went beautifully thereafter.

Seeing as any friends and acquaintances I ask about this, both tall and short, didn’t experience any of the lamented heightism issues either, one could think that all the discriminated against men of below average height represent a very vocal minority on social media and content aggregators such as Reddit.

Yes, there are indeed “height queens” out there, who add fuel to the flame by including things like “must be at least 6′ and 6″ to talk to me” in their bios, while they themselves would be denied access to most roller coasters. But how many guys out there wore a “No Fat Chicks” T-Shirt at one time in their lives, and how many massive-mammary-aficionados would enthusiastically discuss their special interest among like minded fellows? Should we thereby conclude that we live in a fascist, misogynistic society that is embodied by most every man out there? Maybe even the government? (Current presidents excluded. Bad Example.)

Everyone Can Prefer Whatever They Want, and That’s Okay

You’d be surprised how many women don’t care about height, or how many just don’t want to be taller than their guy. There’s even those who prefer shorter guys. But those who prefer to date giants are absolutely in the right to have such preferences, as much as men are allowed to prefer dating beautiful, fit women. Not to mention as much as those giants have the right to prefer taller women themselves.

Nobody is obligated to feel attracted to you.

Does it suck if the girl you’re interested in would prefer someone taller than you? Of course. Does it do you any good to get defensive and passive aggressive as soon as the topic of height comes up? Take a guess.

A Piece of Advice

If you feel like your height could be an issue, and you’re constantly dreading the question coming up in conversation, you can do a couple of things:

  • List your height in your bio. Not in any defensive or self-derogatory way, just as a neutral matter of fact. This precludes the question and filters out any height queens who would really, actually take issue with your height. (Hint: It’s not as many as you might think. The number of women who have (unbeknownst to you) rejected you on any other attribute is bound to be much, much higher).
  • If the question does come up, try just replying honestly and instead of asking about her weight or cup size, leave it at “and you?”. Chances are she doesn’t actually think any less of you because of your height and just wanted to know. It’s easy conversation.
  • When you actually come across a height queen, don’t let it get to you. Think about all the women you’ve rejected because you didn’t like their looks, accept that people can have preferences that don’t include your physical attributes, and that you have preferences as well. And that’s okay.

If you feel like your height may be hurting your score and desirability in Tinder’s eyes, make sure your profile is showcasing your best self. While you’re at it, make sure you are actually being your best self in real life, and if not, work on getting there 🙂

That’s it. This was a personal opinion, and yours may differ. Feel free to share your own opinion, whatever it may be down in the comments, or on the SwipeHelper Subreddit. See you there.