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Home HEALTH The height obsession is everywhere on dating apps. What the experts...

The height obsession is everywhere on dating apps. What the experts think about it.

Where exactly does the preference come from? There are a variety of reasons, at least when it comes to heterosexual relationships. One is cultural, including predominantly Western expectations that reinforce the shorter woman-taller man dynamic, she said. Natalia Zhikharevaa clinical psychologist based in Los Angeles.

“We live in a society where height, being tall and being attractive is still valued,” he said. “Wherever you look, [whether it’s] social networks, television, movies, even a child’s story, Cinderella: the protagonist is tall. Imagine if Prince Charming got off his horse and was 5’5”? We’re inundated with this message that that’s what’s hot and that’s what’s hot.”

Why some people claim in their profile that they prefer taller men

On the other side of the coin, some women may base their own sense of attractiveness and femininity in the context of their partner’s height.

Rachael, who is 25, 5’5”, and prefers men to be her height or taller, said increasing height alleviates any self-consciousness about her body shape and size, making intimacy feel more intimate. satisfying and less uncomfortable.

“In a way, it could also affect our sense of self-worth because it’s like, if you see short men as less compatible partners, why does it say that about me if I only have short men in my DMs?” said Rachael, who asked that we not use his last name. “Does that mean that none of the best muscular and fine men are going to look [at] me?”

On dating apps, men tend to start with measurements, beginning their bios with “Height seems to be important here, so before you ask, I’m 6’1.” They can forgo custom touches entirely by limiting details to their height. It’s a tactic that can definitely attract a slide to the right: According to the dating app Badoo, the top keyword for men to get matches for was “6 feet.” But it also puts women in a difficult situation of having to resort to height as a representative or signifier of who they are as people.

“I’m a pretty short woman in real life who has no preference for the height of guys I meet in real life,” Sabrina K. wrote to BuzzFeed News in an email. “However, on dating apps, I find myself wanting taller men. I know I don’t care in real life, but on dating apps I do… [because] the profiles are not that detailed, and there is not much to worry about when swiping for men.”

That’s not to say that using proxies is bad. We use them all the time when filtering by age, political status, or an undying love for Lizzo. But it seems that height in particular prevents us from getting a real sense of a person who might otherwise be compatible on characteristics that aren’t one’s height, he said. Matthew Lundquistpsychotherapist and founder of Tribeca Therapy in New York specializing in dating therapy.

“Dating apps distort the reality of the complex, nuanced, in vivo, lived chemical complexity of two people who are in a room together, whether or not they want to go on a second date, kiss, smooch, hook up, or build. a life together,” she said.

High stigma in the queer community

Trans men are not exempt from the height disadvantage when dating straight women, he said. james barnesa coach who helps trans people in the transition.

“I have had trans men who are clients [and] he wants to meet someone he wants to go out with. Women will say they’re too short, they’ll just say, ‘I’m not even against you being trans, you’re just not my type, I want a taller guy,’” said Barnes, who is also transgender. “Height has impacted many trans men in my life. … I have seen them miss out on what I would say would be the possibility of great relationships just because of the height.”

This is especially true if impersonating a man is important to a trans man or person who identifies as masculine, said Zhikareva, who specializes in transgender care and counseling.

“When you date someone and you compare yourself to the stereotype, that you assume they’re someone who’s tall and strong, and you feel like you’re not up to the task, you’re going to have insecurities,” she said. These insecurities can, consciously or not, lead trans people to a self-sabotaging belief that their lack of height will prevent any hope of a second date, a mindset that cis men can have as well.

For shorter men in general, it can increase a sense of hopelessness, despair, and a spiral of bitterness over something physical they can’t change, which can further aggravate your risk of poor mental health. (Swipe Based Dating Apps Have been found contribute to higher levels of emotional distress, anxiety, and depression; a 2020 Pew Research survey reported that 25% of online daters said apps made them feel more insecure).

Even if you’re a short king who’s beaten the dating hurdles, the fight may not be over for you. California native Urwah Bangi (5’8″) and her husband Uwais (5’3″), who is originally from the UK, regularly post videos in their height difference on TikTok. Bangi herself never had height preferences growing up; her mother was taller than her father, and her height was simply not discriminated against in her home. But when Bangi married her husband and they started posting videos on social media, the hate comments from her were relentless.

“There were a lot of transphobic comments,” Bangi said. “[People online] They said that I am a lesbian in the closet and that [Uwais] he is a trans man because he is short. … They feminize it and masculinize me because of my height. If it’s a video of him doing something nice for me, they’re like, ‘Oh, she’s just a little girl. And if it’s a video of the two of them standing together, they’re like, ‘Oh, look at her standing with her kid’ or something stupid like that.”

Bangi now has all comments on her TikTok videos filtered and asks her husband or a friend to approve the comments; the hate can be too much to bear. She suggests that a fixation on height can lead to toxic behaviors and attitudes beyond dating apps.

What therapists think about height bias on dating apps

In recent years (especially during the pandemic), online platforms and dating apps have worked toward greater personal authenticity, compatibility, and real-life interactions. However, lurking within algorithms is a risk of becoming too shallow, at least for some people, Barnes said.

“I have friends who go on these dating apps and the superficiality comes out, and they are usually not superficial people,” he said. “[Most of] these apps are only designed to focus on looks, which is devastating because really everyone is there to find a relationship.”

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