In an essay for The Cut, Ann Friedman paints a pretty off-putting picture of what it’s like to be a 6’2” woman: fielding daily comments and personal questions (“How tall is your boyfriend?” “Do you ever wear heels?”), getting gawked at by strangers and children. “My height is something I discuss every day,” she writes. Sounds exhausting.
Being a very tall woman is assumed to be such an undesirable condition that one-third of pediatric endocrinologists in the U.S. offer growth-suppression treatments for girls on track to reach 6’ or above. But are all tall women really dissatisfied with their height? In a 2007 paper for the Journal of Adolescent Health, a team of sociologists and psychologists, led by Janet Lever of California State University, explored women’s feelings about their height.
Lever and her colleagues conducted an online survey (on MSNBC.com and Elle.com) of over 30,000 women of varying heights, and found that the women who were happiest with their height were between 5’7” and 5’11”: 80 percent of the women in this range said they were content with their stature. Even among women 6' tall, over three-quarters—77 percent—said they “felt okay about their height”; among women 6’1” to 6’3,” that figure dropped to around 60 percent. Feeling too short was a far more common complaint: only 37 percent of 5’1” women reported feeling satisfied with their height, and even among women 5’6” to 5’8”—solidly above average—a large majority of those who are dissatisfied want to be taller, not shorter. “Our data indicate that dissatisfaction with tall stature is not nearly as widespread as is commonly assumed,” they conclude.