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14 February 2009 @ 07:56 am
A question  
This is actually completely unrelated to almost everything everywhere.

I was wondering while story-thinking tonight:

At what height do you consider a girl/woman short?

(Please to be pretending you have no idea how tall I am when you answer this question. And if you don't know, well, continue not knowing until you've answered.)

And to round it out:

At what height do you consider a boy/man to be short?

I'm asking because I occasionally want to make a character in a story short, but I always worry that if I make someone what I consider short, people will think I'm putting me in the character's place. Yet I'm not--I'm just writing 'what I know,' so to speak. Because really, being short is very different from being normal height--there's a lot of things I come across that I have to approach differently simply because of how tall (or rather, not tall) I am.

Thanks for indulging in my curiousity!
firefly_124firefly124 on February 14th, 2009 01:06 pm (UTC)
For a woman, I guess under 5'2". My sister, who's barely 5', definitely short. For men, probably under 5'8". Patsfan barely squeaks in there, as that's his height.

Of course, that's all self-referential too. I'm 5'4", as of last check, and it takes a good 2" for me to register someone as shorter than me. And Patsfan is my frame of reference for "average" male height.
Gelseygelsey on February 14th, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
Hmm, very interesting. It is very subjective, so I can see how it goes. Because you know, everyone is basically tall to me. Lol.

I ask partly because in a lot of books I've read in the past (thinking on it, I think a lot of the authors are men), women 5'4" and under are considered short.
Subversa: zHeart Dark Backgroundsubversa on February 14th, 2009 01:48 pm (UTC)
I agree with Firefly - short for most people would be under 5'2". For a man, I would put short at 5'6", but that's just me.
Gelseygelsey on February 14th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
Nod. It's very interesting to see what people say, actually.

I ask partly because in a lot of books I've read in the past (thinking on it, I think a lot of the authors are men), women 5'4" and under are considered short.
benebu: Frenchbenebu on February 14th, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
Well, I guess that my being tall influences my answer, but I'd say, 1m60 for a woman, and 1m70 for a man (that is, 5 ft 3 inches for a woman, and 5ft 7 inches for a man.)
Gelseygelsey on February 14th, 2009 09:07 pm (UTC)
One's height does tend to make it a subjective thing.

I ask partly because in a lot of books I've read in the past (thinking on it, I think a lot of the authors are men), women 5'4" and under are considered short.
benebubenebu on February 15th, 2009 09:31 am (UTC)
Another thought that came to me after I've commented is that those heights apply to younger adults. I mean, my father is just under 5'7", and I consider him of average height, because a generation or two ago, people were shorter. It's probably irrelevant^^

*does the maths* Well, the truth is I'm not sure I'd see the one inch difference. But maybe the attitude of the person can play a part? If everything in the person screams "I'm short!", you'll forget the objective view of how tall the person actually is. (I'm not very clear, I'm afraid. It's just that I have in mind two friends, sensibly of the same height. One is bouncy and full of energy, and I'd say she's of average height, when the other acts fragile and precious, which emphasizes how tiny and short she is. Does it make sense?)
Gelseygelsey on February 15th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
I get what you're saying, yes. Attitude has a lot to do with it. My mother is 5', but she seems much bigger because of how she portrays herself.
Goddess of Potholes and Puddles: Novelsmeddley on February 14th, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
For a girl, I would consider anything under 5' short. Probably because that's my mom's height, and I'm used to that. Plus, I'm not that much taller and I'm not short, just a little below average...

For a guy, well, honestly I'm skewed there, too. For the most part if a guy is below 6' I start to think of his as short. Some guys 5'10"-5'11" can pull it off and not look too short, depending on how they carry themselves, but mostly I'd still think they're a little on the short side. Any guy 5'9" and under is short, and any guy under 5'6" is really short (despite the fact that they're still taller than me, yes).

Edit: I just read the other answers and I'm trying to refrain myself from going after the people who think 5'2" is short... Dammit, I am not short! :P

Edited at 2009-02-14 03:58 pm (UTC)
ladywhitehart: Mantisladywhitehart on February 14th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
I'm a borderline short (5' 3") as in the petite pants hit just at ankle once they shrink a bit. Uh... 5' 2" or less is short. For men, six inches taller than the short qualification for a woman.
Goddess of Potholes and Puddles: Smart Asssmeddley on February 14th, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
Nope! *sticks hands over ears* La-La-La-La-La I can't hear you! ;)

Really, I'm around so many women that are in the 5'2" - 5'4" range that really feel average, though I know it's not. It's all about what you experience, and like someone else said, it takes about 2" of difference to really notice it, so I stand by my statement that anything under 5' is where short begins.

This was, after all, a subjective question. Don't make me beat you* with my 4" stilettos, 'kay?

*I am, of course, just being a smart ass, I would never risk damaging my shoes. ;)
droxydroxy on February 14th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
Lets take a demographic approach. If the woman is wearing "petitie" clothing, that's short.

Your answer is here: http://www.apparelsearch.com/Definitions/Miscellaneous/petite_sizes_definition.htm

The avg american woman is 5'.4" So anything less than 5.4 is short.

I am 5' 10. A short man for me is my height or less. The male dyamic is more interesting. On a whole, very successful men are taller than I am, usually 6 feet or more.

But you can look here for sizing and what teh clothing industry determines as short.


Now I ha a unique view on this issue. LOL. As a female I am tall, but not quite tall enough or big enough for big/tall womens clothing. As Snape I am average for a man. But men's suits on me are ---odd. Based on meansurement instructions I am a 40R, reality is I am somewhat a 41-42 and it depends. I have "clear my hips" with the jacket. Hubby is a 44R and is 6ft tall.

Edited at 2009-02-14 05:25 pm (UTC)
Goddess of Potholes and Puddles: Duct tapesmeddley on February 14th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
Actually, according to the CDC, the average height for a woman is 63" There's a standard deviation, at least, around dead average that should still fall into 'normal' range, statistically-speaking, and 5'2" is only 1" shorter than 'average', therefore, not short.

And I would never, ever, EVER use the clothing industry to point out 'norms', especially for women. Because according to them I'm so hideously obese I probably shouldn't ever be seen in public, and they certainly wouldn't deign to make clothes that fit people over 95 pounds.

I meant my answer to be a little more flippant and all in good fun (hence the smileys) because I don't particularly feel short, and, like I said, it was a subjective question. "At what height do you consider a girl/woman short?" I am entitled to my opinion, as are you. We both consider each other 'short' by our standards but we each also do not feel 'short' ourselves.

Edit to your edit: Oh, sorry, when you pointed out your height and then to the men's clothing chart, I thought you were male.

Edited at 2009-02-14 05:32 pm (UTC)
droxydroxy on February 14th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
Hell- I wish I was shorter.

droxy: illusiondroxy on February 14th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
Based on my pictures ALOT of people think I am male... XD
Goddess of Potholes and Puddles: Crapsmeddley on February 14th, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC)
You know, oddly enough, I'm usually called a guy, too - and I think my icons are really girly! I don't know what makes people assume that, but it's happened far too often for it not to be something I'm doing, or how I say things.
Gelseygelsey on February 14th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC)
LOL. It is all very subjective--for instance, most people are 'tall' to me. I know, of course, that I'm very short.

I ask partly because in a lot of books I've read in the past (thinking on it, I think a lot of the authors are men), women 5'4" and under are considered short.
Goddess of Potholes and Puddles: Novelsmeddley on February 14th, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC)
I think that saying 5'4" is short, considering that (according to the CDC) 5'3" is average is a little odd. But then, perhaps people are shrinking a little, because I had thought at one time 5'6" was average for a woman? And I thought it was 5'10" for a man, but I'm wrong there, too!

But, taking your 'people think I'm putting me into the stories' comment - okay, what's wrong with that, actually? People always say 'write what you know', and, honestly, even if you make the character a 7' tall yellow-and-purple serial-killer alien, there's gonna be a little bit of you in there. Because that's how people write! You take what you know and your experiences and apply them to other situations.


(I actually very much like being my height most of the time, and though in general I wouldn't say I feel like I'm short... comparatively speaking, I am. But then, I live with someone who's 6'4", so it'd take a lot for me not to feel short in comparison!)
Gelseygelsey on February 14th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
It does seem odd for the average. I thought the average was at least 5'5".

Well, say for instance I want to have a character be short, blonde and petite, but not because I'm self-inserting but because it's the look I'm going for--almost pixie-ish, easily underestimated, and somewhat wispy. Yet I would surely be accused of self-inserting more than just using a part of myself as I would for any normal character.

YAY short people! <3

I don't really mind most of the time. Except when there are short jokes. Or I have TOO much trouble trying to get/do something.
writersblock76 on February 14th, 2009 06:03 pm (UTC)
I generally think 5'2" and under for women and 5'6" for men. Anything slightly over that might make me think short (I'm 5'7"), but I wouldn't call it short.

Perhaps "short" can depend on your main character's perspective?
Gelseygelsey on February 14th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC)
Nod. That seems to be what a lot of people are saying.

I ask partly because in a lot of books I've read in the past (thinking on it, I think a lot of the authors are men), women 5'4" and under are considered short.

It would be, I suppose. I just waver, because I'm very short and sometimes I'm wary because people might think I'm putting myself into the story, when I'm not.
LewlinX: KirstenNikilewlinx on February 14th, 2009 08:03 pm (UTC)
For women I would go with 5'2" (although I do think Im short at 5'4")

For men anything below 5'7"-5'8" (they have to be 2" taller than me at the very least!)

Happy Chocolate Dependency day, to you too!

Gelseygelsey on February 14th, 2009 09:26 pm (UTC)
Nod. Sounds about what most people think.

I ask partly because in a lot of books I've read in the past (thinking on it, I think a lot of the authors are men), women 5'4" and under are considered short.

Thanks! *hugs*
dickgloucesterdickgloucester on February 15th, 2009 01:15 pm (UTC)
Can't add much to what others have said. I'm 5'3", which makes me about average, but short in terms of the bastards who design kitchens and make me climb on chairs when I need to get things out of cupboards.

But for the record, Mr Dicky, who is 6'2", thinks all women are short, and all men are about 6' tall.

He hasn't met Droxy, but if she were being Droxy he'd think she was short; if she were Snape, he'd think she ws about 6 feet.
Iceicelore on February 15th, 2009 01:31 pm (UTC)
5'1 or 5'2 for women, 5'7 or 5'8 for guys. :)
Bambu: Writing Plot Bunnybambu345 on February 15th, 2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
You know, I like that you look at height for its challenges and how it adds dimension to a character.

For a moment, I hadn't remembered how petite you are, and how difficult that can be. I'm medium height, but my family are all taller than I by at least three inches, and my brother by almost a foot. It alters things in the family dynamic; just a little, but still ....

I don't think it's such a big deal for women to be short, because we're conditioned to think of women as smaller than men, but I do think it matters to the character of a man whether he is short or not. My younger son was the shortest boy in his class for a number of years. It didn't bother him until third grade and then it was a bit of a problem. He's now taller than I (barely) and I don't think he'll ever be a tall man, but knowing that he's taller than me has really made a difference to him.

Edited at 2009-02-15 07:53 pm (UTC)
Gelseygelsey on February 15th, 2009 11:01 pm (UTC)
Well, it comes up in my life sometimes, especially when I'm talking to someone 'normal' height about having trouble doing something. I'm used to clambering on counters, for instance, and sometimes figuring out how to do things that people with long arms have no trouble with (a couple of things at work, for instance).

It's not, I think, because you're right. But then, there are people like my mum who seem so much bigger because of the 'aura' they project--they just seem bigger.

My brother has issues with his height even though he's something like 5'10"--simply because a lot of men are 6'+. I can see why your son feels that way, though I think it's sad that men sometiems feel inadequate because they're not taller than other men or women.