Emma Kate & Co.

Beauty. Lifestyle. Personal Growth.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Why I Struggle With Being Both Tall and Feminine

Being 6 foot tall certainly has its advantages. I’m easy to find in a crowd. I get great views at gigs and shows. I’m able to reach the top shelves in the supermarket and I can eat more food than the average female (always a result). That being said, it’s something I’ve definitely struggled with over the years. When people ask me if I mind being tall, I tend to shrug and say, “not really”. Most of the time this answer is the truth. I don’t spend hours contemplating my height, wishing on birthday candles that I were just a few inches shorter. Every now and again though, something makes me feel a bit uncomfortable in my self and I find it difficult to shake the feeling that I’ll never be my own ideal.

I stand a few inches taller than the average male, who according to 2016 statistics is 5ft 10in. Rigid binary concepts of gender make this a bit of a difficult pill to swallow. I am not where I’m meant to be on the spectrum of man to woman. I’m very much on the male side of height. I don’t fit into the ideal image of femininity, and unlike my clothes or makeup, there’s nothing I can do to change it. This wasn’t something I was really aware of as a child. In fact, I loved lining up in height order and finding that I was the tallest. As I got older and realised that women weren’t supposed to be tall, this enthusiasm somewhat dwindled.

When playing families in the school playground, I was forever cast as the dad. I was forced to be the substitute male, unless I could find a real boy to play with us, simply because I was tall. When dancing in pairs, I’d be given the male role, holding my friend around the waist whilst she twirled around. As I got older, I realised that guys weren’t as keen on girls who were taller than them. If they didn’t mind, they’d brag about it, as though dating a taller girl were an act of martyrdom, a true reflection of how open-minded they were. I found myself feeling grateful that they could look past something as truly heinous as my height. 

The strange thing about being tall as a woman, is that it is simultaneously undesirable and encouraged. Whilst not at all feminine, height is considered beautiful, if runway models and fashion magazines are to be believed. This beauty however is limited only to the incredibly thin and attractive. Height is only appealing when you have the protruding hips and jutting cheekbones to match.

Not fitting into this minute facet of the tall population can be tricky. I’m not willowy and thin, but neither am I fat. I’m a pretty average (and healthy) weight for my height. Why is it then that I often find myself feeling humungous?  There’s just more of me than my petite counterparts. I am generally larger. The surface area of my thighs is significantly greater than my shorter friends. Sometimes I find it difficult to remind myself that my legs are also much longer. I'm simply in proportion. These feelings certainly aren’t aided by those who decide to call me ‘big’, instead of ‘tall’. In a world where woman are constantly encouraged to look slender, ‘big’ is a very loaded word. I am acutely aware of how much space I take up.

Like many things, my height is something that I’ve learned to accept as I’ve gotten older. It’s certainly not going to change anytime soon and there’s little point in dwelling on the unalterable. If I thought about it too much my self confidence would be shot to the ground. But it is an interesting feeling and one that less women as a whole have experienced. I sometimes wonder what it must be like to not have ever given a second thought to your height, simply because you are the ideal. If nothing else, being tall has given me an appreciation for those who stand outside of other societal models of normality, and for that I’m thankful.


1 comment

  1. I am the complete opposite, I am only just 5ft tall and I wish I had height on my side!

    Danielle xx


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