Best of 2011: Tall Is Not Cute
One of the articles that elicited the most response all year - Duana’s piece, inspired by Blake Lively, on how Tall Is Not Cute.
We heard from A LOT of tall girls that week. An overwhelming majority fist pumping in agreement. If you missed it, I’ve reprinted it below. (Also I just had to revisit the part where Duana addresses Sasha’s height.) The original photos are here. And attached - here’s Blake with Ryan Reynolds’s dog on set at Gossip Girl today. Yeah. Exactly.
Tall Is Not Cute
Written By Duana
Originally posted May 11, 2011
I think it was Monday that there was an outpouring of rage toward Blake Lively. Not just Lainey but a bunch of people were spewing vitriol about her and what she wore and how she posed - mainly based on these photos. I know how cloying she can be, and know I often come in for the underdog, but I have to remind you of something:
It’s because she’s tall.
IMDB says Blake is 5’10. And as any tall girl will tell you, Tall Is Not Cute.
I’m 5’9, so I know that of which I speak. And don’t get me wrong, tall is great. Tall is striking. Tall is ‘take-me-seriously’. Tall is never needing pants hemmed, holding drinks above your head in a crowd and knowing they won’t be bumped, pulling off certain fashion looks that would overwhelm a shorter girl.
But a tall girl, from the age of about 12 or 13, she knows she’s not ‘cute’. Not adorable. She can’t wear babydoll dresses sometimes because they look like she’s a child who can’t stop wearing her childhood things. She’s never going to be the kind of girl whose boyfriend rests his chin on her head while they attend a concert. Whereas short girls, short girls can fold themselves into tiny seats with room to spare. They need help reaching the tall glasses. Regardless of body-size, their feet are adorably tiny, their sweet, small Chuck Taylors balancing their little legs. They get bumped in a crowd and adorably stand on their tiptoes.
In short (no pun intended, but what else could I have done there?), people want to protect them.
The tall girl is supposed to be able to protect herself. From childhood, she looks older and much less silliness is tolerated from her. Tall girls are expected to be more mature and responsible. In hetero couples with a tall man and short woman, he often puts the guiding hand on the small of her back to make sure she’s OK. You rarely see that with a tall woman (which means that for me at least, when it does happen, it’s kind of kryptonite).
This is Blake Lively’s problem. I love her body, don’t think she should dislike it or anything of the kind. She’s gorgeous and striking and stately and all of these things. But somewhere along the way she forgot to realize that she’s tall. She’s got to stop tucking her head onto people’s shoulders. Cocking her head in general should be out of the question. I get the feeling she bounces up and down when she’s excited. This, too, looks unseemly from a tall woman.
If Christina Ricci was doing it, it would be fine, endearing – even though Ricci is 31, 8 years older than Lively. Bilson? Adorable. Mae Whitman? Please.
Is it fair? Of course not. But tall girls have different expectations on them. Emma Stone is rarely giddy and kidlike. Nor Gwyneth, nor Gisele Bundchen. My exception that proves the rule? The person who grates on the same ‘stop being so adorable’ nerve? Jennifer Garner. If she was 5’1, we’d love her. For that matter, if she was 5’1 she’d be Isla Fisher.
See what I mean?
Those of you who hang out in the middle of the bell curve (Sasha says she’s 5’5, ahem) may think I’m overreacting. But I’m not, and in the manner of Lainey wanting to be Jessica Simpson’s friend, I want to call up Blake Lively, tell her she’s beautiful, striking, and attractive, but not ‘cute’ – and she needs to act her height.