A man who is 5 feet 6 inches tall needs to earn an additional $175,000 per year to be as desirable as a man who is about 6 feet tall
— Rob Henderson (@robkhenderson) January 5, 2021
This study was written in 2006 by the University of Chicago, so it’s… old. In internet years, that’s 400 years ago. But it reared its controversial head again today because Rob Henderson tweeted it, I guess. So I feel obligated to present it and offer some thoughts.
First, as a 6’3” male, I feel the need to tell you my height before I continue. Mostly to just let you know I’m tall. You can’t see me, so I wanted you to know.
With that out of the way, I’ve always had a soft spot for shorter men. Really has to suck. You hear stories about these guys putting themselves through brutal limb-lengthening surgeries, and you realize just how much it must affect their sense of self. Like it or not, we put a premium on height in this country. Especially now with dating apps where people list their heights and we reduce them to the stats of their own dating baseball cards.
The good news is that shorter guys can overcome those odds by… (checks chart) simply making an extra $175,000/year! Hooray! Talk about a quick fix. That’s much easier than having a doctor break your femurs, throw a couple fishing rods in your shins, and spending a year learning to walk again. What’s more, you’ve got that added push to prove yourself when you’re 5’6”. Napoleon was exactly that tall and he practically conquered the world to make up for it. Tall men like myself rest on our laurels, happy to retrieve the carry-on bags from overhead compartments for elderly women. That’s all the affirmation we need. Never once have I thought “I need to invade Russia.” God knows how much land I’d have right now had I stopped growing in 7th grade.
The study also mentions that men don’t want to date women who are taller than they are. But I sent this to a friend and he immediately responded to say that if Mackenzie Bezos were 6’10”, he’d be able to overlook it. Or underlook it maybe? Tough to see over a 6’10” person. God help the family sitting behind Mackenzie Bezos-Bunyan at the Boyz II Men concert.
This is the part that really stuck out:
Maybe the most striking numbers are with regard to income-ethnicity trade-offs, as shown in Table 5.6. For equal success with a white woman, an African-American man needs to earn $154,000 more than a white man. Hispanic men need an additional $77,000, and Asian men need an additional $247,000 in annual income. In contrast to men, women mostly cannot compensate for their ethnicity with a higher income.
Asian men need an additional $247,000 in income to have an equal shot with white women. WOW. That’s a LOT of money. I’d say shame on white women but then they added that women cannot compensate for their ethnicity with a higher income. I don’t even know how to read that. Does that mean that men won’t let money factor into their decision to date women of a different race, which is admirable? Or does it mean that men are so close-minded that no amount of money would change their mind about dating interracially?
Lots to unpack. If you’re keen, that study is 62 pages long. Have a day.
PS- I don’t know what sort of backlash this publication received in 2006. But I’m fairly confident that if the University of Chicago were to publish this study today, the entire university would be bulldozed to the ground.