Monday, July 12, 2010

Top 10 Sexiest Men (Under Five-Feet-Five)

Society’s chronic overpassing of the shorter man is, as many other unfortunate habits of human behaviour, explained with all the authority of Darwinian reasoning. Apparently after all this time, physical dominance in males still determines who sits at the top of the pecking order, and women are still searching for able-bodied mates to provide for them and offer protection. Shorter men earn less than taller men, and are less likely to be elected into a position of power; a tall man as leader is seen as being strong and assertive, whereas a shorter man is commonly viewed upon as being a pushy tyrant, accused of suffering a sort of Napoleonic complex (remember Lord Farquaad in Shrek?). Heightism however extends beyond ‘comical’ discrimination, manifesting itself in more severe forms around the world, cited as one of the underlying causes of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. Close to one million people were murdered, and it is believed that one of the reasons that political power had been conferred to the minority Tutsis by the Belgians was because they were taller, and were therefore considered superior and more suited to governance. More recently, the Vietnamese Government launched a $40 million programme, vowing to make its population taller, and therefore more ‘beautiful.’ Women are never cooing over the ‘short, dark and handsome,’ but is this really because of our biological wiring? The idea of glorifying men according to their physical stature seems outrageously primitive, and it may be possible that shorter men are instilling self-fulfilling prophecies constructed by the subconscious prejudices of our societies today.

Our beloved presidents and captains of industry rarely exhibit the broad shoulders, chiseled jaws and Herculean bodies supposedly required for a position of power, so it is very likely that it is not the stature of a person that presents the problem, but rather the constructed bias directed towards the shorter man. Discrimination experts point out that the vast majority of us harbour deeply rooted feelings of negativity towards shorter men, and that heightism is burdened with the same weight as other very important biases such as race bias, or gender bias. When we are young, we become exposed to the discourses of tall boys deferred to the image of maturity, while shorter ones are quickly dismissed as being childlike. The connection between height and status is even embedded into our very language, with respected men of ‘stature’ being ‘looked up to’ amongst his lesser peers. With such ideals forcible instilled into our subconscious, it’s no wonder that many men begin to act accordingly. However, things do appear to go either way. Is it a coincidence that a seemingly disproportionate number of our brilliant thinkers, artists and creatives have stood shorter than the average male? Whether or not as a means of compensating for their apparent shortcomings, shorter men have often made up the greater part of the more interesting personalities in history, and even the unfortunate examples of Charles Manson, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler and the Marquis de Sade (of which, to me, the lack of ‘fortune’ is quite debatable) do not prove otherwise. The appeal of the following men, all of whom stand under five-feet-five, certainly surpasses the mere incident of being 'cute':

10. Woody Allen

The notorious yet fascinating American screenwriter and director offers a very distinct style to the world of cinema, and is heralded as one of the most influential directors of all time.

 9. Ludwig van Beethoven

German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven contributed some of the most stirring compositions, lingering between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music. How would we know drama without Symphony No.5?

8. Pablo Picasso

Co-founder of the radical and influential Cubist movement, the Spanish painter created some of the most moving and terrifying pieces of artwork and is unsurprisingly one of the best known artists of the twentieth century.
7. Charlie Chaplin

The interesting life of Charlie Chaplin undoubtedly came with becoming the largest screen legend of the silent era. Regarded as the "only genius to come out of the movie industry," Chaplin succeeded to bring comedy to a war-torn world.

6. Voltaire

Writer of the biting French satire Candide, the witty writer and philosopher of the exciting French Enlightenment advocated civil liberties such as freedom of religion and free trade, and is up there (so to speak) with the likes of Locke, Rousseau and Montesquieu.

5. Martin Scorsese

At the forefront of contemporary American cinema, Scorsese captures beauty in violence and reason in madness in his exquisite and provocative films.

4. Harry Houdini

His mysterious acts crafted the Hungarian-American magician into no less than a legend. Living and breathing magic, he became a worldwide sensation, and the source of guidance and inspiration for every magician after him.


3. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

As the most enduringly popular composer of classical music, very few could disagree that Mozart’s symphonies rest upon the brink of godliness.

2. T. E. Lawrence

Otherwise known as Lawrence of Arabia, the British Army officer is famous for the dashing role he played in helping the Arabs against the Turks during the First World War.

1. John Keats

England's young, nineteenth century Romantic poet bewitched later writers with sensual imagery and an elaborate choice of words. "I have two luxuries to brood over in my walks, your loveliness and the hour of my death. O that I could have possession of them both in the same minute." - Yes, Keats definitely deserves first place!


  1. I was about to get all over you for not being PC, but I read on. Great post! There were a lot of wonderful skilled height challenged people in your post. (wink wink)

  2. Oh sharon I can't believe I forgot my last post so quickly!! What I meant was "vertically challenged" of course :P

  3. It's short French men who seem to attract beautiful women. Look at Sarkozy and Carla Bruni. Several female readers of my blog have said they find Sarko attractive. I think his eyebrows might have something to do with it.

  4.!/spitpressfbJuly 12, 2010 at 11:23 PM

    Good to know it's the smart and beautiful girls who appreciate us smaller folk! Lovely post


  5. Speaking for my self as one among the lower end of the male elevation scale, I can reveal that there is also the lesser mentioned hypothesis that suggests that a man's height is often inversely proportional to the size of his... well, I'll just say that I most intimately encourage more research be done on this thesis.

  6. I've never been attracted to anyone tall, whatever their gender.

  7. Cool list! I didn't know that Lawrence of Arabia was under 5'5". That's interesting.

    Of the guys on your list I'm not a fan of Woody Allen (because he creeps me out) and Picasso (because he was simply a creep). Everyone else is cool.

    And how fascinating that two of the most famous musical geniuses of the last few centuries were both under 5'5". I wonder if there's a link between the short gene and musical genius?


  8. Interesting post!
    I think the most well-known example of a short man with a big ego and sex appeal was the french Napoleon Bonaparte. There's even a complex named after him 'Napoleon complex' (or short man syndrome).

  9. How interesting that the Vietnamese government has launched a program to make its population taller. How are they going to do that, I wonder? Fascinating post!

  10. Awesome post - that's quite a remarkable list!

  11. So what about us inbetweeners? Not short enough to attract and not tall enough either?
    Surely thats some kind of eliteism? Heightism?

  12. Hmm, maybe we should worry about 165cm film directors of note----it is not only height that Woody Allen and Roman Polanski have in common.
    I'm not sure about Beethoven but there seems to be something about height and composing--Mozart was 163cm, Shubert 157cm and Stravinsky 158cm--maybe it's being closer to the piano.
    There are a few more to add to the vertically challenged dictator-esk list---Ferdinand Marcos, Yasser Arafat and Gengis Khan---
    A man who deserved to be on your list is the greatest long distance runner of all time, Haile Gebrselassie----
    But to show that its cool to be short---Henry Winkler, The Fonz, is only 5'5" of 165cm
    Obviously none of these people are short on talent

  13. Such a well-written and thought-provoking post! I had no idea that Picasso was on this list.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us through your interesting blog!

  14. Very interesting list. There is sort of a bias against short men. Not on the part of everyone, but it's sort of an undercurrent. It's that way with other things perceived as "flaws," like body weight (too fat, too thin), breasts (too big, too small), and so on.

    Straight From Hel

  15. A very interesting list. I think that with the average height of males getting larger this is going to be more of an issue. I like to remember that the Romans concurred the world and they average under 5" 5' too.

  16. Hunh. I'm not really into to short men so much and I have to admit... Woody Allen is so not sexy to me. But Martin I could go for! :)

  17. Of course the Napoleon thing is a myth. He was actually 5'7" which was above average at the time.
    Napoleon depicted as short was British propaganda!

  18. Heightism, good one ! Very well written piece, as usual.

  19. I'd have to agree with Beethoven, Mozart, and Keats! Great list. :) Loved reading through it.

  20. No no no....not Woody Allen. ARGH!

    Other than that, I have no real objections. Didn't realize they were all so vertically challenged though

  21. haha wow people are very unsettled by Woody being on the list! It was wise to put him at 10

  22. Fabulous post! And that doctored painting of Napoleon is to die for!

  23. I LOVE this post. I didn't know all these fabulous men are/were short. I am under 5' and I have a thing for short men. (Looking at that picture of Keats, I'm wishing he were here and, well, alive.)
    On behalf of all short people, thank you for this post!

  24. "a tall man as leader is seen as being strong and assertive, whereas a shorter man is commonly viewed upon as being a pushy tyrant, accused of suffering a sort of Napoleonic complex"

    That's an interesting point.

    And, I'd like to propose an addition of Jon Stewart to your list.

  25. Valerie, what an original and excellent post.
    What I find interesting, is that at diferent points in history, the popular idea of female beauty is fixed as a particular ideal only for that ideal to be deconstructed as totally unappealing at a different point in time. So if we look at the paintings of Reubens and his contemporaries, female beauty is small breasted but with fulsome hips and thighs. The antehesis of popular cultural perception of beauty today.
    Yet, the fixed idea of the 'tall, broad-shouldered, chisel-jawed man, remains fairly fixed. This was the epitome of handsome amongst Roman Gladiatoirs (the pin-ups of their time).
    And, hands up, I am more attracted to strong, taller men - perhaps that says something about me! I am 5' 1" and my husband is 6'. I suspect its seeing Rhett Butler (Clark Gable)tower over Scarlett (Vivien Leigh)!
    And of course there is 'Little Man Syndrome' - in that smaller men are more aggressive as if to compensate. The 2 greatest gangster portrayals in movies were James Cagney and Edward G Robinson - both men under 5' 4".
    My mother, giggles, was dismayed when she read that Alan Ladd used to stand on a box in his films!

    I love the new colour layout by the way - coulodn't get along with the black/red text!

  26. Harry Houdini....i read an essay about the genius tricks of Houdini...i was too young to pronounce correctly his name.,.but still i feel the charisma of long ago read essay.,..(that i read with great effort but enjoyed a lot afterwards)

  27. It is all about attitude people... if you are a doormat, people will walk on you.. I don't care how tall, short, what color, what weight, what race, creed, sexual orientation, whatev... you are what you accept for yourself.. people don't define me, I define myself.. I set my goals, and go after them, and I don't whine and snivel about failures... Oh, and I am a successful, happy, 4'10", male, married to a beautiful woman of "normal" height, and we have created the wonderful life we wanted, on our terms. and extremely happy.. because we chose to be.. she was attracted to me because of my attitude toward life.. 25+ years ago.. I was given nothing in my life, I expected nothing. I knew I would have to work hard, be diligent be patient. Did I encounter uppity, shallow, narrow minded people ? you betcha... and those are the people I say "oh, too bad for them, they must have zero self fulfillment, how lonely they must be"... I ain't got time for those people... I have more important things to do than indulge someone else's dislikes and dysfunctions... There are lots of fantastic people to surround myself with... my gosh, it's not like the pickins' are slim in finding great people !! There exists more than one fish in the sea my friends... but positive opportunity doesn't just fall out of the sky.. You have to make it happen... My theory... we only grow until we are perfect.. and most people take a long time gettin' there.. Why Be Normal Anyway... How freakin' boring is that... Here's to keeping it short... we live longer too !! Carpe Diem