A few weeks ago I wrote this post, posing the question “Afraid of Having Tall Kids?” It has led to some interesting discussions below the post and over on our Facebook page and on twitter. However, some didn’t even read the post and blasted me on posing the question. Others were glad to have these type of discussions. Before you read any further, if you haven’t read the first post, please go and read it first.
After reading the first article, you will see my real intention. As a mother of five children, I want my children to grow up happy and well-adjusted. I’m proud of my height and want tall people everywhere to be proud of their bodies and feel comfortable in their own skin.
Today on our Facebook page, one of our readers Dawn offered this post and she has given me permission to repost:
I am a follower of your lovely and helpful site on Facebook. I am writing in response to your post on December 27th asking for opinions on the choice to have children when they might grow up to be tall. After reading the post and your blog post that accompanied it I had an immediate visceral reaction. No, don’t worry, I am not here to hurl unsolicited hatred at an innocent blogger. I would like to pass on an article that your readers may find useful. It took me a while to dig it up but the point is that I have kept it for years because it made such a huge impact on me. I have found an online PDF version for ease of reading.
Arianne Cohen – Vogue April 2009.
This article was published in Vogue “shape” issue 2009. Miss Cohen writes of her experience growing up as a tall young lady. She writes of many “tall” experiences that I’m sure many of us who use your site can relate to. One experience however made my stomach twist as i read it. Her tale of the frequent visits to an endocrinologist despite perfect health. Cohen’s own mother had taken hormone therapy as a child to remain as short as possible despite her tall genetics….she was offering the same “opportunity” to her child. After reading this article I was sick. I didn’t know how to feel. Angry at the mother? Angry at the idea of the therapy? Angry at the physician for continuing to allow the visits year after year? Would the physician offer a pill that would permanently lighten a black child’s skin? Should we all take a pill to make our eyes blue? Was I angry at society for telling us that women must be as tall and thin as possible….but be careful, don’t be too tall. What is too tall? Altering the actual pituitary and hypothalamus of a healthy child to achieve a socially idealized outcome reminds me of foot binding or horrific Nazi experiments. Society looks at these things as wrong now. Yet apparently it is still alive and well just in different forms.
I still do not have a fully formed answer as to why the idea of the therapy horrified and sickened me. I just know that it profoundly made me feel better about myself as a tall woman. We do not need to be genetically altered to straighten our hair, bronze our skin, narrow our hips…etc. As a student of physiology I am all too aware of the very real options that have been discovered to initiate the plastic change of not only our appearances but also our mental abilities. I hope that other readers might see this probably unintentional macabre anecdote of Miss Cohen’s as validation that they are fine just the way they are. Your children are fine. Your future children are fine. Your genes are fine. The only thing to be improved upon is the acceptance for ourselves just the way we are.
Tall Snob Responds:
After reading the recommended article by Arianne Cohen, parts of the article actually made me ill. I can’t imagine sawing off parts of my legs to appear shorter, or purposely putting children into early puberty. How absurd! Society’s definitions of “normal” can make people crazy. It makes me grateful that my parents always made me feel beautiful and special. For those of you who did not have such supportive parents, I sincerely am sorry if they made you feel ashamed or less that perfect! I echo everything that Dawn stated in her last paragraph especially this part:
The author of the mentioned article, Arianne Cohen has written a book titled “The Tall Book: A Celebration of Life from on High.” If you enjoyed her article, you will love the book!
Thanks to Dawn for her lengthy Facebook post. Let’s keep this discussion going. Please comment below with your thoughts.