Saturday, 19 November 2016

"Short Men Shouldn't Act This Way, It Only Perpetuates Negative Stereotypes."

There's a common belief that short men must show more good behavior in order to avoid being labeled with derogatory stereotypes, such as "Short Man Syndrome/Napoleon Complex." A few examples of this mentality: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7]. Everyone acts like this is genius, but I have countless issues with it.

If someone wants to judge a group negatively as a whole, based off one person they don't like, is that not prejudice? Is that not what needs fixing, rather than short men's behavior? The moment a person begins thinking this way, they are no longer even in the realm of rationality, so why appease them by lecturing short men? A tall man could straight up beat somebody to a pulp and he's judged as an individual. Meanwhile, a short man has to never even look at someone the wrong way, or else short men are blamed as a group. Why not just discourage height prejudice outright, rather than rely on how many gold stars a short guy has on his report card? It costs zero time or money to judge people as individuals, yet it seems like a short man must fellate all of society in order to drag them kicking and screaming towards this goal.

Is there even a quota of good behavior short men must meet before society erases the Napoleon Complex/Short Man Syndrome from everyday use? Is there some kind of formal agreement that by a certain year, if every short man were more docile than any pet or child, society will finally stop this wanton labeling? Until then, what's the endgame in the bigger picture? This is actually a trick question. The real answer is "it doesn't matter." Someone shouldn't need to do this in the first place, simply for being born a certain way. Funny thing is, the moment a short man even brings up height discrimination, he's labeled with a complex/syndrome. I've seen short men who were polite and ready to patiently discuss heightism, but they got accused of "perpetuating the angry midget stereotype" simply because they discuss heightism. It's almost like there's zero rhyme or reason behind this. This is called kafkatrapping. One could say, "well, people only go there because of past experiences with nasty short men," but why is it the bigot who gets the benefit of the doubt?

The whole idea of the accused having to prove their innocence is a bum deal anyway:
"Burden of Proof is a fallacy in which the burden of proof is placed on the wrong side... For example, in American law a person is assumed to be innocent until proven guilty (hence the burden of proof is on the prosecution)."
A person can't claim God exists then expect others to disprove it, that individual must prove it themselves. Likewise, people claim a man is more likely to be a bad person the shorter he is, then expect short men to behave their whole lives to prove society wrong. That's not how logic works, especially when the thing that supposedly makes it worse, is a short man acting the exact same way most people do, which is being angry or rude once in a while... Or in this case, even daring to disagree with or defy someone will apparently "confirm stereotypes" (even when that someone could be outright discriminating). When the burden of proof is placed on others, it turns out, and I quote, "The theory that short men end up as more aggressive than taller ones has been dismissed by a scientific study... Heart monitors revealed it was the taller men who flew off the handle more quickly and hit back." So what more is needed for short men to be let off this hook? No, anecdotes are not enough ("I saw a short man start a bar fight once. Proof of short man syndrome right there!") People with this illogical mentality are the ones who need reprimanding, not the short man being stereotyped. Yes, this is against what society advises, but is what I'm proposing really so preposterous?

The experiment above is the proverbial salt in wound, because it proves that short men already hold back more on average, as recommended by the "thou shall not confirm stereotype" advocates. What has been achieved out of this? Less hatred of short men? To me, it seems like as everything else becomes politically incorrect to discriminate against, people only choose to hate short men more. Besides, the cat's out of the bag at this point. Even if every short man from now on got castrated, someone could just use a short villain from the past (like Charles Manson) as their excuse to hate all short men (but ignore the fact that boogeyman Osama Bin Laden was tall). Once a stereotype has been created, it can be brought up at any time as an insult. Height stereotypes are especially ridiculous, as it's gotten to the point now where a short man can be slapped with these labels for almost anything. I've seen short guys who were popular with women labeled with the Napoleon Complex, as in "He's more driven because he's short, so he has a new lady every week to compensate and prove his masculinity." At this point, if you're a short man who fears these stereotypes, you might as well strap yourself into a straitjacket and not do anything.

Let's also not forget the human folly of confirmation bias and the halo effect. If there was one short man rubbing people the wrong way, and two tall men doing the same, people would focus on slandering short men. When there are one or two short males people like, short men still aren't tolerated as a whole, those few good short guys are just regarded as isolated cases. It's not until the prejudice itself is stigmatized that the entire group will be viewed in a less negative light. People don't understand that prejudice is irrational. Every time a short man does something unsavory, it's added to the list of "bad things" short men have done. No item from that list is ever removed however. When a short guy does something grand, it's not "short men are great," but rather "he's 10 feet tall on the inside" or something similar. Which trait receives the positive connotation? Martin Luther King was 5'6 but height prejudice has not lessened. Yet some cherrypicked short meanie gets his sin carved into the monolith? In fact it seems like society tends to bring up short male height when they want to elicit hatred. Everyone somehow knows Putin and Kim Jong Un are short, but people tend to be shocked when they find out the heights of MLK or Bruce Lee. If this isn't a rigged game then tell me what is.

I also don't care if a short man was actually offending anyone, that is not a free pass to start dragging others into this. If anyone didn't like my minority self on a personal level, they can call me a jerk all they want, but using stereotypes to insult me becomes a whole other problem, especially if it's socially acceptable and even encouraged to do so like with short men. If some guy thought females were evil, is he now immune from women insulting or offending him in any way, lest they "validate" and "fuel" his worldview? Does a woman suddenly have to tiptoe around this guy in fear like he's her master and never talk back to him, or else she's proving she's on her period? We all know what would really happen. Everyone would insult the guy, unless we've come to the conclusion that it's actually better to live as a bigot, since people cater towards you like you have a magic barrier against offense. Begs the question why anyone would even choose to change their mind, when the more inclined they are towards prejudice, the more they are treated with deference. We reward this, when there should be no need to worry about validating hateful worldviews, because such views can only be justified through sheer numbers, not logic. Part of me thinks people are almost grateful that things like racism or sexism have the histories they do. Now those who have never even lived in those times can use said history as their excuse to treat others worse. "Yeah, we hate when women are told to behave more than men, but we have no qualms about expecting that from a man." It's a hypocritical and petty form of revenge.

In a hippie rainbows-and-sunshine fantasy land, it'd be great if nobody was rude ever, but currently I cannot think of any other type of bigot that's immune from repercussion. Fat-shamers, slut-shamers, and obviously racists/sexists/homophobes are insulted on a regular basis by the mainstream, and the only ones who take issue with that are the bigots themselves. Society's consensus is "If you don't want to be mocked and ostracized, don't have narrow-minded viewpoints... Unless you're prejudiced about height, then short men have to watch their mouths around you." Simply put, short men are born guilty until proven innocent. That's what needs to be fixed, not short men's behavior. You know how children aren't allowed to swear as much as adults? The very idea that short men have to behave more than other regular adults is infantilizing and dehumanizing, like short men are kids or pets that need to watch it or face punishment. Insert "short men = children" joke here (but of course no hate against short girls please). The real power of these stereotypes is that they're like scolding a dog by saying "bad doggy!" Shuts up most short men like mutts. Then you have all the short people who threaten other shorties with these stereotypes. They're like those who police and snitch on their neighbors. Good thing everyone is always so vigilant, making sure short men know their place. People think they're being benevolent when telling short men to behave in order to avoid inequity, but the very fact that someone has to behave more than everyone else, simply due to benign DNA, that is inequity in itself.

Ultimately, the most ironic thing about all this, is how those who use these stereotypes are actually the ones perpetuating them (and yes, trying to censor a short man with them counts as utilizing these stereotypes). Imagine if someone didn’t even know short men had stereotypes, let alone know what these stereotypes are. Maybe they're from a different culture, or perhaps we're simply talking about newborn children. How do they learn this terminology in the first place? Is it because they saw some mean short guy and suddenly the words appeared in their head? Of course not. They learn about these stereotypes from those who use them on short men. This particular blog post wouldn't exist if it weren't for people like this, and I myself wouldn't even know what "Napoleon Complex" or "Short Man Syndrome" were if I didn't hear it from others. At least if someone learns these from me, I paint it as a bad thing to label someone with, which is not how these stereotypes are usually portrayed. Either way, often the first person to even mention these stereotypes is the one warning short men to not perpetuate them. If a short guy moved to some village or tribe in the middle of nowhere, all of a sudden he wouldn’t have to censor himself any more than the average person there. Isn’t that funny when compared to our modern day, supposedly more “tolerant,” "educated," and "civilized" society? When it comes to behavior, a short man would be more free living among people in rags. Still, if we absolutely must play this game of accusing others about "perpetuating stereotypes," here's one from yours truly: humanity strives off of confirmation bias and prejudice.

Short men shouldn't have to beware of confirming stereotypes because the original premise is ridiculous on its face. It's literally saying, "If you're born this way, society considers you more likely to be evil. Now behave more than I have to for the rest of your life, just for the great privilege of not being discriminated against (no promises though)." Claim this with any other trait in our current year, word for word, then see whether or not most people around nod their heads. A short man could be a damn serial killer, but judging all short men based off that one person should never be an acceptable line of reasoning. The moment any burden of behavior is placed on short men, it sends the impression that it's almost understandable and sympathetic to think this way. If it isn't nearly a valid excuse, then why do short men have to worry about it at all?
"I hate all short men now, because this one mean short man confirmed all the negative stereotypes society taught me. He made me do it!"

"Oh, okay. You better watch yourselves now short men! You're partly to blame when this happens."
It's like short men are on a form of probation, except probation actually has an agreed upon end point, and the initial crime here is that your head merely wasn't high enough off the ground. Most people nowadays would instinctively say "yes" when asked if they support equal treatment. Yet these same people would disagree with me when I state how a short man shouldn't have to behave any more or less than those around him. Put the two together and show me how they fit. The phrase "blame shifting" is thrown around a lot these days, but everyone ignores how they do exactly this when it comes to height. Everyone wants short men to behave as to not draw ire, yet the rest of society doesn't seem to extend the same courtesy to short men. It's like if I poke an animal with a stick, then I huff and puff when it retaliates. After that I say "maybe if you didn't get mad, I wouldn't poke you in the first place." Perhaps people should stop antagonizing based on height, because any time I see a short guy "perpetuating" a stereotype, it's because someone provoked him first. Unless short men are all given lobotomies, some short guy is going to get pissed off eventually. Instead of expecting saintliness from short men, people need to be educated about confirmation bias, and how society expects more docility out of the short statured.

TL;DR: Instead of simply saying “let’s both not be rude,” people would rather threaten short men into submission by bringing up “confirming stereotypes.” The latter is objectively biased behavior, because other people cannot be censored in this way. It’s up to a bigoted society – the one that uses stereotypes as behavioral control – to change, not those targeted by said stereotypes the moment their genetics are determined. This shouldn’t be complicated.

Click here to read Part 2

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