Okay for women to reject short guys, not okay for guys to reject big girls

It’s perfectly acceptable for a woman to reject a man as a potential mate because he is shorter than she is (or even just an inch or two taller, but not “tall enough”), or because he doesn’t have a high income. It’s called “Darwinism in action,” acting out the instinct to seek out a “protector.” However, it’s considered unacceptable for a man to find himself unattracted to a woman who weighs more than he does. He’s considered “superficial,” “sizeist” or “picky.”

In discussions with female friends, they thnk it’s quite allright to shun men who are shorter than they are, or even only a inch or two taller than them, but it’s not okay for me to have no attraction to “rubenesque” or “zaftig” women. I’ve known many wonderful overweight women, and I’ve struggled to perceive them as physically attractive, but my internal hard wiring just can’t get past the fact that they seem larger than me, and that could be “crushed” in a way. :eek: (BTW, I’m 5’10", 165 pounds.) So, why the double standard?

Actually, it is not “okay” for a woman to reject a man simply on the basis of his income. Any more than any other form of prejudice is “okay.”

I get so tired of this stereotype being trotted out any time a man feels slighted by a woman… okay, so I’m stereotyping, too.

Now, I admit that I would have a hard time taking a man seriously who was shorter than I am (but then again, there aren’t very many of those around, I’m only 5’2"), but I wouldn’t out-and-out reject a guy who had other qualities I was interested in just because he was short.

As far as your comments about heavier women…well, I suppose I should find it reassuring that you’re considering positions other than male-on-top. :wink: However, different people are attracted to different things; some men find the twelve-year-old-boy look that I presume appeals to you unattractive. But I think if you’re rejecting a woman just because she doesn’t meet some ideal weight you have in mind that you should reconsider.

: some men find the twelve-year-old-boy look that I presume
: appeals to you unattractive.


I encounter that all the time in debates with female friends – “If you aren’t attracted to large women, then you must be seeking an anorexic waif.” There are dress sizes between 4 and 14, but it seems like the existence of people who are “weight proportionate to height” is conveniently forgotten in such debates.

Says who?

Personally, I don’t care who you find attrative or unattrative. I just don’t understand people who automatically exclude another person as a potential mate/friend because of ANY particular physical feature. To me, that includes someone “too short”, “too fat”, etc. That still doesn’t mean you have to find anyone attractive, it just means that I think it’s too bad. You may be missing out on the love of a lifetime due to height or weight. That, however, is your problem, not mine.

The only thing I REALLY don’t appreciate is using a physical feature as an insult. “Hey, fatass!” “Yo, shorty!”

Those are my opinions- your milage may vary. In summary, you (collective) can find whoever you want physically attractive or not. No one says you can’t find fat/short/ugly/alien people unattrative. Just don’t be slinging insults around about it, that’s all. Keep your (again, collective) perceptions about others weight and height to yourself.


Sure. It is perfectly okay for men or women to choose a mate/partner/sexual outlet based upon whatever criteria they choose.

It might also be shallow, superficial, and silly.

Then your female friends are shallow, superficial, and silly.

Then your female friends are inconsistent, unobjective, and would appear to lack empathy.

conclusion: You need a better class of female friends.

Except that the average size for women these days is 16, according to my roommate’s copy of Talk magazine last month. And, to be honest, 16 isn’t that big. Women in the 10-12 size range look the healthiest and most attractive to me, personally, but I get very tired of people telling me I’m “fat” because I’m short and I wear size 14-16!

The problem is in defining “large women,” I think. I certainly outweigh you, elmwood, but a lot of that is muscle mass, too (no, I’m not a bodybuilder. I was on a swim team for years, and have recently started working out again). So, would you judge me one of the “heavy women” that you’re “afraid” of? You can see my picture through my .sig, if you want.

But, as both Zette and I said, who you’re attracted to is your business. It’s when you try to stereotype people based on their appearance that there’s a problem.

Hmmm…upon submit, delete my last sentence and put “What Spiritus Mundi said.” instead.

Let me repeat …

I’ve known many wonderful overweight women, and I’ve struggled to perceive them as physically attractive, but my internal hard wiring just can’t get past the fact that they seem larger than me.

I don’t go out of my way to find particular women attractive or not. I know many wonderful “big beautiful women,” and I’ve struggled to find myself attracted to them, but I can’t – I can’t get over that “I’d be overwhelmed” feeling.

Please, just answer me this – why does society find it acceptable for women to reject short men, but not for men to reject larger women? The flames I’m getting are evidence that the double standard exists.

And besides, I’m not slinging around insults to anyone, either. The lack of physical attraction towards someone is not equivalent to name-calling or more despicable forms of discrimination, IMHO.

FWIW, I think you have a valid point.

Personally, I don’t think we should jump on people for preferring skinny women or tall guys – and I’m speaking a s a short guy myself! These are natural urges, often without any conscious motivation.

At the same time, I think we should urge ourselves to look beyond such things. I strongly prefer skinny women myself, but I’ve been attracted to women who are a little on the pudgy side. (On the other hand, I find it difficult to muster any attraction for the truly obese… a weakness, I know.)

I would also urge people to look beyond racial criteria. I know an Asian man with good looks, a muscular build and a heart of gold. Asian women are often attracted to him, but because he lives in a heavily Caucasian city, he hasn’t had a date in years. I’m sure the same can be said of black women in Asian societies, and so forth.

elmwood, “society” dosen’t have a double standard–some stupid, silly people have a double standand, including some friends of yours. It is not legit to use the fact that other people are stupid and silly to justify your own stupidity and silliness. (Not that failing to be attracted to someone is stupid and silly. But if for some reason you feel the need to justify it, this is not a good way.)

For what it is worth, my husband is 4’11" and I am 5’5".

elmwood, just to clarify, I’m not flaming you (if I were going to do that, I’d take you to the pit, trust me). However, you’ve hit me in a sore spot, which is why I asked for clarification on your definition of “large women.”

You will notice in my first post, I said that it was not okay for women to behave that way. And I agreed with Spiritus Mundi’s take on things.

I don’t think there’s a sociatal double-standard, however. I think what you’re running up against is the simple fact that “heavier” (however you define that) women are tired of being stereotyped as unattractive, seeing models in the magazines who are thin enough that they probably never eat…and are starting to get very vocal about it.

I’m sure if “short” men (again, it’s all a matter of definition) were to start to object to all the tall “heroes” (hey - even I thought Wolverine was too tall in the Xmen movie ;)), male models, etc., that this perception of a double-standard would go away.

In the end, no-one can predict what will be appealing to them in another person.

I don’t see where you’re getting that; the flames have mostly been from women saying that they’re not large, they’re average, or quibbling about what’s “large”. I don’t think that’s evidence of a double standard, I think it’s evidence of the serious stigma attached to being a big woman in the United States. I don’t think that “society” does find the behavior you describe acceptable. It certainly wouldn’t be “acceptable” among my friends; a woman who rejected a man solely because of the moths in his bankbook would be considered pretty friggin’ shallow herself. I suggest that the problem lies with the company you’re keeping. It’s definitely not a universal truth.

I’ve also found elmwood that sometimes what people are attracted too isn’t necessarily what they need. Since I’m in my 40’s and don’t actually have a “type” that doesn’t include me. But I’ve noted it in some of my friends and aquaintances. My neighbor for instance, he always seemed to date tiny brunettes with high maintainence lifestyles. One evening after another disappointing date he and I had a discussion about “broadening our horizons”. I suggested to him that he was stuck in rut with his attractions to this particular type of woman. He conceded. Last year around new years he invited me over for a party. New girlfriend, first date. The girl tended bar in his favorite watering hole. I was suprised, she’s blonde and about 5’11". They’ve been together ever since and are so happy it gets sickening at times. She is so easy going and friendly. (Granted shes a little on the ditzy side too, but he’d had enough of clever “user” types.) They’re happy and every now and then he mentions that conversation we had over a year ago about “broadening our horizons”.

Sounds to me elmwood like you and your friends have a few things to learn about yourselves and others. After all people’s looks change, especially weight that’s the easiest thing for someone to alter. I pity the young woman that marries you and then puts on a few pounds. (Which wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility.) Do you plan to withhold your affections until she loses weight?


I also have to address this bankbook theme…not the short guy theory because that’s just bullshit. I see short guys all the time with women. My brother in law is only 5’4" and he’s a real “keeper”.

As for the money thing…you damned right a woman wants a man with money or at least a job. A normal woman isn’t checking bank accounts or getting a financial resume from guys they date. But there are a lot of dead beats out there, men and women, and I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to get involved with someone who might become a liability to them. Nobody wants to start thinking about setting up house with someone who cannot pull their weight financially, or isn’t even willing to contribute. So yeah, you gotta have a job, you gotta have a driver’s license and you gotta have a car, what’s wrong with that? We don’t want no Scrubs, and there isn’t any reason why a women with any self esteem should.


I agree with you about the fact that some people date a type that are wrong for them; however, the first woman in your story isn’t high maintenance because she’s a tiny brunette and the second girl is not easygoing because she’s a tall blonde. He needed to get rid of the high maintenance chick no matter what color hair she had or size she was. Although being a larger woman is without a doubt stigmatized in this country, it doesn’t make it okay to stereotype thinner than average women, either. This is coming from someone who would not be considered thinner than average.

This is a great point. People who choose their mates for their looks will almost always eventually be disappointed or unhappy. My husband and I included a line in our wedding vows that said we would love each others’ bodies as they aged. Although each think the other’s pretty cute, there’s much more substance to the relationship than looks. I think it’s fine to choose someone to date because you like them and because you’re attracted to them, but it’s wrong to choose someone to date if you’re attracted to them and don’t like them. Well, maybe not wrong, but definitely stupid.

> I don’t think there’s a sociatal double-standard,
> however. I think what you’re running up against is the
> simple fact that “heavier” (however you define that)
> women are tired of being stereotyped as unattractive,
> seeing models in the magazines who are thin enough that
> they probably never eat…and are starting to get very
> vocal about it.

I understand that I might have hit a sore spot. Believe me, I’m not calling women who are – oh, hell, I can’t think of an unoffensive, inclusive, politically correct term to describe it, so I’ll just say “larger than me” – unattractive. Take a look at Mode magazine, for instance. While these women may be attractive, per se, I can’t find myself in a relationship with them. They don’t do anything for me – I can see that they’re “pretty,” but there’s no attraction.

Still, I can understand and relate to the frustration of women that constantly hear “such a pretty face, but …” I’m 5’10", and I was never called “short” until I moved to Denver. Yes, as a whole, people here in Colorado are overall much thinner and taller than in other places I’ve lived.

If I puruse online personal ads (call me a loser, but I do), the vast majority of women are seeking men who are taller than they are, and a majority of that subsect are looking for guys that are at least three or four inches taller. I get upset when I see short women seeking out 6’ tall men, who make it quite clear that they their ideal man must be tall. Short woman + tall man is the norm, and few give it a second thought, as superficial as it may seem. Men who post ads online, however, have to be very careful about how they word their physical preferences, lest they be flamed.

Still, there’s no vocal outrage from short men regarding their status as “undesirable” – well, there might be some grumblings, but the voices of short men aren’t being listened to, unlike that of larger women. Women who aren’t skinny are extremely vocal about their situation, and there’s no shortage of media coverage, Web sites, and so on.

From a standpoint of physical attraction, I don’t really have a particular “type.” I do usually find myself more attracted to “accessible” women, those who are more “cute” than “gorgeous.” Jeanae Garafalo is the woman of my dreams, to be quite honest. I’ve been attracted to “chunky” women, but the edge of that attraction seems to be drawn when it just feels like a woman is larger than me.

I’ll say it again, for the people that didn’t get it the first two times I said it. I DON’T GO OUT OF MY WAY TO FIND SOMEONE UNATTRACTIVE TO ME!!! I think most of us have particular, “hardwired” concepts of what we find to be attractive. It just seems that it’s wrong for men to hold certain standards of physical attraction, while it’s okay for women to reject guys because they aren’t buff or tall enough.

No one is saying that it’s okay for women to be as shallow as this statement indicates. We’ve pretty much all disagreed with it.

No one is saying that men can’t hold standards of physical attraction. What we seem to be saying (for the most part), is that it’s a shame when anyone is shallow enough to allow someone else’s physical appearance to “turn them off” if that other person has other qualities going for them that are appreciated by the party of the first part (since I seem to have degenerated into legalese).

Be attracted by who you like. No one here is telling you that’s wrong. (at least, I don’t think I’ve read any such post.)

We’re (or, at least I am) primarily objecting to the stereotypes that you started this thread with, to wit:

  1. All women want a “rich” man
  2. All women want a “tall” man
  3. Men can’t say they want a “thin” woman

Oh, and I wouldn’t rely on the personal ads for a representative sample of the average schmoe, male or female. And I’ve seen lots of personal ads (offline, not on, but still) where the men were very specific about what body type a woman had to have.

Personally, I don’t have any criteria about height. I’ve fallen and fallen hard for guys up to six inches shorter than me. A woman who rejects a man because he’s short and for no other reason is an idiot, IMHO.

But I refuse to believe that the short man / fat woman comarison holds for society in general. If you would, take out a pencil and draw a vertical line down the middle of a sheet of notebook paper. On the left side, list all the fat women you can think of who are Hollywood sex symbols. Now, on the right hand side, make a list of short actors who are sex symbols.

If you want an even more striking comparison, flip through movies in the “romantic comedy” section of your video store and make note of how often the short, ugly, older and/or bald male lead scores the beautiful, skinny, younger woman. Then count how many times the older, less attractive, fat woman scores with the hot young buck–and I mean as the main plot of the movie, not as some humorous side-plot.

I am not going to argue that short guys have it easy, nor do I deny that some women put a premium on height as a measure of attractiveness. However, women are held to a higher standard of physical beauty in our society.

This goes back to the original topic. The double standard in society. Women can say what physical qualities they want in a man. If a man does that, suddenelly he’s a sexist, because he’s excluding one type of woman.

It’s no secret everyone is attracted to different type of people. Whether society created these attractions, or they are just built into our system I have no idea.
I know I am attracted to women with certain physical qualities. There are even some traits I find disgusting enough to disqualify someone right away as a potential date.

Ideally, I would look for the smartest, nicest woman to ask out. In reality, first I look for someone attractive, get a date, then decide if they are for me. People who I am not attracted to may make good friends when I get to know them, but I will probably never ask them out.