Sunday, March 5, 2017

My Problem With #notallmen

Like that one racist uncle in every family who thinks all Muslims are terrorists, everybody has that one feminazi friend whose post-sexual-assault-news posts sound like they blame all straight men for any sexual violence. In a country like India, where the genders don't really intermingle because, depending on whom you hear it from, either men are dicks or women have a princess complex, it only exacerbates an existing problem. Some straight men, who felt unfairly vilified, decided to respond with #notallmen. A #yesallwomen also arose after that to inform all men that all women face sexual harassment. Some day these will be the names of a female superhero movie trilogy. Or tags on orgy videos.

Ryan must have been really pleased when he came up with this. I can imagine
the smug smile on his face as he entered that emphatic line break between
the 'does' and the 'it' at the end, hit the post button, sat back, and waited for
he likes to pour in by the bucketful as he stroked the white cat in his lap.
( image source: Ryan Henly )

A logical person, which my liberal arts friend who shared his post might not be, would realise that Ryan's hypothetical is only about homophobic straight men who are naked in locker rooms, or if you give him the benefit of doubt, any other public place. That should translate to a really small percent of all straight men. If Ryan had proceeded to cover a few more combinations of situations and subsets of men, one dramatic post at a time, as he built up to that all upper case question addressing all straight men I wouldn't have picked on him as much. I would still have had to point out that a straight man's lack of sexual interest in a gay man is different from the lack of sexual interest in a straight woman. Irrespective of attire, men might actually be okay being stared at by women whom they aren't interested in. Also, why pose that question only to straight men? Why don't bisexual men have to answer that question? Think it through before trying to be sassy, Ryan.

The first time #notallmen appeared on my screen it stood out from the rest of the post. I didn't immediately connect it back to the preceding events and posts and only after reading this particular post in its entirety, because both sides tend to get verbose, and looking it up did I get a complete picture. While I agree with the need to check feminazis, I was disappointed at a catchy hashtag being wasted on responding to a small number of people in total, sort of like Ryan's post. Feminazis and circles aren't exclusive so it's the same few feminazis who are part of multiple circles. We could have just sent them private messages and saved this hashtag for something else. For instance, it could have been employed to channel negative sentiment towards tall men instead because, if you haven't noticed, tall men have it so easy.

Not freak tall but healthy tall. Freak tall people
have problems too but that's for them to write about.
Not my problem if their hands can't fit a keyboard.
( image source: )

Side note:
I think women are expected to be petite and the tall ones are thought to be weird. I might be wrong, I don't know exactly how it works with them. I don't even know how many other genders there are nowadays so, much like the tech industry, I'll just stick to men. I will, however, keep moving between him to them, and guys to people, etc. to make it seem not so.

I am not sure if heightism starts before school but it is definitely around in school. Anything requiring all the students to queue up would have the lines in order of height. With separates lines for boys and girls, the short girls couldn't be used as defensive cover for the short boys, an act which had previously allowed Kaikeyi to demand that Dashrath make her son the king. During the school assembly the short students had no choice but to sing the school anthem and look like they were paying attention to the principal's 8 am, possibly hungover, rant. During sports days, everybody would be dressed like idiots but there would be far more pictures of the short students just because they were stationed up front. For group photographs, the short students had to have polished shoes and clean, ironed clothes.

Positioning the short students right under the nose of most of the teachers ensured that they couldn't talk amongst themselves. All that time, the mid to high height students would be at the back cracking jokes, catching up on the events of the previous day, and getting to know each other better. The effects would accumulate over time resulting in the tall and moderate height-ed boys becoming friends and trying cigarettes and alcohol and having girlfriends by the time they are 14 while the short boys became weird and isolated with no social skills and preferred to read books and play chess against a computer.

Three of those four are about 5' 7'.
( image source: )

Then there is the sports period where heightism is blatantly rampant. For some people, sports continues after school as well and the same problems persist. The basketball ring is placed at 10 feet, a height which short people can't reach to dunk the ball, which is why they can only play point guard if at all. Badminton, Tennis, and Volleyball all involve getting something over the net and short people can't hit as hard as they want because the ball or shuttle needs to land inside the court so smashing, serving, spiking, etc. is tougher. In Boxing, the lesser reach of a shorter person puts them at a disadvantage. In Cricket, tall people can bowl bouncers more easily, and tall batsmen can handle rising deliveries better. Even athletics events, which are just variants of jumping over things, throwing things far, doing things fast, and other easy to remember sequence of actions for the physically fit whose brains can't cope with something complex like Football ( where short people can't be goalkeepers ), require at least one of long legs or long arms.

There is no sport which lends an advantage to short men
unless there exists such a thing as competitive Limbo.
( image source: Wikipedia )

Even some of the arts have this problem. Librarians can't reach the higher shelves without a stool or a step ladder. Same problem for chefs which then affects their time on Masterchef. Short people usually have small hands and can't play the tabla as easily. It's harder to play barre chords on a guitar. Holding a palette is more tiring. Balancing a book with one hand while stylishly sipping an expensive brew with the other is almost impossible.

In fact, short people might not even be able to afford the expensive brew because, on average, tall people make more money than short people for the same jobs. This might be because people tend to believe that tall people are more capable, smarter, and attractive. I'm not making this up, there is published research on this. If that wasn't enough to be pleased about, they can also switch off the lights from their bed whereas short people have to get out from under their blankets to reach the switch. They get to have their noses above the cloud of odour in public transport. In addition to listening to concerts, they get to see them too. Tall people are probably happy.

I know. Economy isn't as uncomfortable.
Try listing three more things.

( image source: CNN )

Discrimination is stupid but you could maybe make an argument for it if it were for the overall betterment and if the methods weren't like Hitler's. In this case there is no betterment and this preference for tall people is actually going to hurt us. Taller people, and now I am including the freak tall as well, are usually bigger too. This makes them inefficient compared to shorter, smaller people because they need to consume more food, water, and oxygen to support themselves. They need bigger houses and cars and bigger everything to accommodate their lives. Their body's increased surface area means increased exposure to the environment and therefore increased exposure to toxins leading to an increased probability of disease. Their poorer surface area to volume ratio results in poorer cooling of the body which means they need stronger air conditioning. Looking at how Oriental people are generally on the smaller side and have really long lifespans, being smaller might be healthier to begin with.

The writing is on the wall at a height which can be read by people of all shapes and sizes. To save the planet and correct a historical wrong in the process, we need to weed out the tall genes. Schools should partner short students with students of the other gender and have the tall students partnered with other students of the same gender. Homosexuals can't add to the population so their height doesn't matter. To make short people more attractive mates, they should be paid more than taller people which is only fair since they don't eat as many of the office snacks or take up as much of the real estate and air conditioning. To add to that, we should also invent new sports which favour short people, like competitive Limbo, and some sort of race where the roof keeps closing in and the one to run the farthest before the roof traps them down wins, and a hybrid of basketball and golf where you need to place a ball in a hole to score points. If none of these incentives work then governments should step in and decree that any activity which could lead to babies must include at least one short person. And no more Kim Jong-Un jokes.

Even Oprah's initial reaction is of worry.
But then she laughs in happiness.
That's what change is always like.
( image source: giphy )

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