Women are often caught in this prejudice in the choice of men. And this is not just because men are on the average taller compared to women and therefore an expectation that most women would end up with taller men just by chance.
Historically, that a tall man would be preferred by women is because he’ll be stronger and better able to ward off physical treats to his family. In the beast-eats-man world of primitive civilizations, this argument might have a rationale.
However, it is obvious that unless taller equals stronger, faster, and smarter even in this scenario, height wouldn’t seem to offer any particularly unique advantage.
But truly, it seems that women want men who tower over them because it conforms to gender stereotypes and makes them feel protected, secure, feminine and delicate.
George Yancey, a professor of Sociology at the University of North Texas and the study’s lead author, believes that the height preferences of men and women can be explained by traditional societal expectations and gender stereotypes.
He noted that it is a widespread perception that tall stature is a personal asset for men and a personal liability for women. He said that the study’s finding that height matters more to women supports the social system of patriarchy, in which males are the primary authority figures.
‘And in a society that encourages men to be dominant and women to be submissive, having the image of tall men hovering over short women reinforces this value.’
Practically, women also want taller men to envelope them in a hug during romance. The height differential also makes kissing easier.
Tall appeal: Experts have observed that there is something appealing about tall men. They say tall men are more likely to win the popular contest in presidential votes and to be re-elected once in office. Their greater leadership potential may have something to do with the fact that tall men have higher self-esteem (whether or not deserved), are happier, and less likely to feel jealous toward other men.
Generally, studies link the dissatisfaction of the shorter men to the fact that women prefer tall men. On the dating pages of some Nigerian newspapers, women who are looking for partners are specific about their preference for tall men. And in a study published in the United Kingdom last year, over half of women specifically are looking to date a man who is taller than they are.
The studies: The stature of a potential partner matters more to the women than it does to their male counterparts, one study reveals. Using data collected from online dating advertisements and experimental research, the study, conducted by Rice University and the University of North Texas found that women are far more concerned with dating a man who is taller than they are than men are with dating a shorter woman.
An investigation of 925 Yahoo! personal dating advertisements found that 13.5 per cent of the men wanted to date only women shorter than they were. In contrast, nearly half of the women – 48.9 per cent – wanted to date only men taller them.
It’s a view backed up by Dr Viren Swami, a social psychologist at the University of Westminster. Reacting to another study revealing women’s preference for tall men, he told The Independent the findings “reflect a cultural idea, where tall men are viewed as masculine and tall women violate cultural norms.”
Also a collaborative study between Newcastle University and the University of Groningen revealed that 92.5 per cent of British couples adhere to the ‘husband is taller than the wife’ norm.
However, the study also revealed that women don’t like their men too lanky – only one in seven cases had the man at 10 inches or more taller than the woman.
The statistics were underlined by a study in the United States which found that the most common difference between the height of husband and wife was five to six inches.
The woman’s height: One factor that becomes important is women’s own height. An expert observed that instead of choosing the tallest of the bunch, many women use the one-step up criterion, requiring that the men they are with are at least taller than they are. Women do not have an exact height preference, but rather seem to be open to a variety of heights, so long as the man is taller than her.
Especially at the extremes, taller women and shorter men prefer those who are closer to their height. Thus, knowing that there are limited resources in this area makes people more open to accepting a wider range of acceptable possibilities.
Another important finding in how height impacts attraction is our relationship goals. One study found that women were attracted to taller men during times of ovulation – when they were the most fertile. Women looking for a relationship during their most fertile phase, in evolutionary terms, would be looking for good genes pass on to potential offspring but likely little parental investment and companionship.
Conclusion: In spite of the flurry of studies, there is none yet to prove height as a key quality of a good husband and or an ideal partner. Women are known to say that they can’t marry men shorter than they are, but not that the taller the better. Otherwise basket ball players will be hot cake. No matter what your actual height, it is the personal qualities you bring to a relationship that, eventually, determine the success of the relationship.