Height has a lot to do with how someone interacts with the world. Since people base a lot of first impressions on appearance a height that contrasts with what someone wants to look can cause them to be angsty, which can be expressed in different ways. This can come in two forms:
- This character is short, shorter then everyone else in the cast, they can't go on rollercoasters, are nearly a head shorter, and they are frequently mistaken for a child, that's how short they are. In extreme cases their shortness makes them unable to function in the world and causes them to frequently get accidentally kicked in crowds, unable to get to high places or other such things. They sometimes compensate for this.
- This character is tall, they tower over people, nearly a head taller, they constantly bump their heads on low objects, and have trouble finding clothes that fit. This is much more common in females than males due to how short height is associated with feminity.
Compare Tiny Tyrannical Girl
, Mister Big
, The Napoleon
and Huge Schoolgirl
. See Weight Woe
when a character is self-conscious about their width instead of their height.
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Anime and Manga
- Edward Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist is so insecure about his short height that it is by far his most well-known Berserk Button, often to the point that he'll assume any "insults" regarding it aimed in his direction are far worse than they really are.
- Sachi Hayashi from the College arc of K-On! frequently shows a sensitivity to her own height, almost to the point of Single-Issue Wonk whenever words like "height," "tall," and "big" are brought up. One of her Character Tics is crouching lower when she starts to get shy.
- Azumanga Daioh: Chiyo and Sakaki cover both ends: the first is a Grade Skipper so she's a lot shorter than the rest of the cast, the second is a Huge Schoolgirl with the usual too-tall complex.
- Nitori from Wandering Son becomes dysphoric over her height once she begins hitting growth spurts.
- In Dragon Ball, Commander Red of the Red Ribbon Army was so angsty about his height that intended to use the eponymous objects, not to complete his world takeover, but to wish himself taller.
- This is the reason Aisaka Taiga (who is one of THE biggest examples of the Tiny Tyrannical Girl) of Toradora! does NOT like being called the "Palmtop Tiger."
- In the opening sequence of Jewelpet Twinkle, Akari scrambles to cover her height (153 cm), but this is never addressed in the series proper.
- Pink from Jewelpet Kira☆Deco! was very short when she was younger and the memory still causes her a bit of angst.
- Kud from Little Busters! is a fair bit shorter than the rest of the cast, a full head shorter than the already short protagonist, and it's one of the things she often comments on in her occasional mumbled insecure rambles.
- A large part of Lovely Complex, with the male and female protagonists being very short and very tall respectively. It doesn't help that several characters are a Shipper on Deck for them.
- The Golden Age DC superhero, The Atom, was in reality Al Pratt. He was only five feet and one inch tall, constantly being taunted for his size. Even after a boxing coach helps him become stronger, Pratt continues to get teased at his college over his size.
- Downplayed in Bait and Switch. Eleya mentions in chapter three that she usually feels awkward on a dance floor since she tends to tower over her partner. In this case, though, her dance partner Gaarra is actually a few centimeters taller.
- In Blue Sky, Wheatley gets upgraded from a spherical, fairly small computer body into a Hard Light humanoid body that is over six feet in height. He doesn't like this — getting used to limbs is hard enough without the excessive length — and he really wants to just fit in with humans.
- Felix in "Good Enough". It's tied up with his concern that he's too "cute" and not good enough for Calhoun.
- Celestia expresses this regarding her own height and mass in the Triptych Continuum. She gains a benefit in that it can be very easy for her to intimidate — but that's it. The other side of the scale contains an inability to easily have an eye-to-eye conversation, looming without meaning to, neck cramps, an entire society built underscale to her comfort requirements, designers who claim her proportions are elegant and then mentally lock up upon having them in a fitting room (followed by charging quintuple for any dubious results), and so on down the line. One of the more comedic moments in A Mark Of Appeal has her accidentally admitting that she's created diagrams for use in the unlikely event of her ever having sex, just to make sure nopony gets hurt. (They're apparently rather simple to memorize, have never been seen by the general public and if Celestia has anything to say about it, never will be...)
- A Hard Day's Night :
- Norm, the Beatles' manager, complains constantly about his assistant's height.
Norm: Stop being taller than me!
Shake: I can't help it.
- Ringo is seen to be concerned about his height as well.
George: What's the matter with you, then?
Ringo: It's [Paul's] grandfather. I can tell he doesn't like me. It's cause I'm little.
George: Ah, you've got an inferiority complex, you have.
Ringo: Yeah, I know, that's why I play the drums - it's me active compensatory factor.
- Leo Valdez of The Heroes of Olympus is short and skinny, which does a number on his self-esteem, especially with his male compatriots all being tall and muscular save Nico.
- In the Lord Peter Wimsey novel Busman's Honeymoon, while Lord Peter is getting nearer the solution to the murder, there's this: "If I'd had more inches," said Peter, regretfully (for his height was a sensitive point with him) ..." The immediate context is that the murdered man was taller than Lord Peter, and Lord Peter thinks if he had been the same height or taller he could have figured it out earlier. His being shorter than others may have been mentioned a couple of times previously, but I'm pretty sure his height is given as 5' 10" (average) somewhere.
- Aliera from the Dragaera novels is short for her race, and you should never comment on this because she has an incredibly deadly weapon and will end you.
- Barney Miller: Officer Carl Levitt is only 5'6" and believes that this is the main reason he's never made Detective. Played with in one episode where the perp is a little person note who complains to Levitt that "you tall guys get all the breaks."
- Leonard from The Big Bang Theory is always complaining about how short he is, and is often mocked for it. Howard is also shorter than average and is made fun of for that, but Leonard is the only one who openly angsts about it.
- The Brady Bunch: Bobby had this in one episode, hating that he was little. But in the end, he and one of his brothers got locked in Sam's meat locker while picking up meat for one of the boys' delivery job and only Bobby fit through the window to get out and get help.
- Chummy from Call the Midwife is taller than just about everyone else in the show, including her husband. She doesn't spend a lot of time angsting about it, but it comes up from time to time that she's always felt clumsy and awkward in part because of her height.
- Degrassi Junior High episode 5, "The Great Race." The B-plot was Arthur and Yick being jealous of how tall Snake was, while he found his height made him unable to play soccer.
- Ruth Buzzi had this in a Donny And Marie sketch, where she and Patty Maloney were applying for a secretarial position at a cardboard box company. While Patty had no trouble with her equipment during the typing test, Ruth's tiny desk and chair collapsed under her weight.
- In an episode of Home Improvement later in the show's run, Randy complains to his father that his "little" brother is taller than he is.
- George Jefferson from The Jeffersons is visibly shorter than his wife Louise, and their maid enjoys needling George about his size. Calling him "runt" is George's Berserk Button.
- M*A*S*H: Radar is periodically embarrassed by or ashamed of his shortness; combined with others teasing him, this makes him very angry.
- Jennifer Mosely from Neds Declassified School Survival Guide has a whole subplot dedicated to her being much taller than the other girls at school. This becomes meaningless later in the series, when the other characters get older.
- C.J. Cregg throughout The West Wing. Lots of jokes through the seven seasons, but a few that come to mind are the episode when Sesame Street comes to the White House resulting in Big Bird jokes toward CJ, and when CJ takes over as Chief of Staff and she chides the interior designer who tries to give her a small desk.
- Connie of A Chorus Line suffers from this:
"Four foot ten, four foot ten
That's the story of my life
I remember when everybody was my size
Boy, was that great! But then everybody started moving up, and there I was, stuck at
Four foot ten, four foot ten
But I kept hoping and praying...
I used to hang from a parallel bar by the hour
Hoping I'd stretch
Just an inch more..."
- Lord Farquaad from Shrek is much shorter than other characters in his realm, for which he takes ridiculous measures to compensate.
- Cosmo G Spacely from The Jetsons is barely one-third of George Jetson's height, which adds to the triggers for Spacely to fire Jetson once per episode.
- In "Ewww, That's Growth" episode of Dexter's Laboratory, Dexter and his family want to go on a really big rollercoaster, but Dexter is denied due to being too short. The resulting angst drives him to become as tall as possible, eventually allowing him to finally go on the rollercoaster by the end of the episode. This backfires when he becomes so tall that he hits the ceiling at the very end.
- The episode "Biglet" from The Book of Pooh features Piglet getting fed up with being short, and starts wearing stilts, giant gloves, and a amplifier in his mouth.
- In the episode "A Pinch to Grow an Ed" of Ed, Edd n Eddy Ed and Edd try to help Eddy become taller when he is unhappy with people mocking his short height.
- Apparently Silvio Berlusconi is sensitive about his height in real life, and is always careful about camera angles and so on. When the playwright Dario Fo played him in his work Two Headed Anomaly, he wore a dwarf puppet-suit to make it extra insulting.
- The same applies to Nicolas Sarkozy. Except for the play part.
- Stephen Merchant believes his 6'7" height should qualify him for disability.