Weekend Observations: Women, Height & Power

We’ve all heard about the connection between height and power when it comes to men.  That is, the more powerful he is, the more likely he is to be tall.  We associate height with strength, control and virility.  Look at our country’s presidents if you don’t believe me.

I would argue (based off of personal experience) that the same is true for women.

Of course our culture doesn’t necessarily deem EXTREMELY tall women as beautiful.  But there’s something about women between  5′ 8″ and 6′ that makes them seem that much more powerful.

I’m of average height (5 ft 5 in) and my personality is pretty “tall”, i.e.,  I’m very outgoing, loquacious and dress to be noticed.  But among taller women, I feel — not just look– short!

Is female height becoming a signal of attractiveness now more than ever?  And can we attribute that new cultural ideal on women’s growing power in the boardroom?  Case in point: the much buzzed about ascension of ex-Googler, Marissa Mayer, to CEO of  Yahoo this week (by the way, she is  5′ 8″!)

But if my changing of ideals of female attractiveness, e.g., height, are indeed held by others, is that a good thing?  I’m certainly thrilled that women’s power in the business world is continuing to rise, but should women be adopting “male” traits or should we be ascribing “male” ideals on to them?  In other words, should I be “looking up” to tall women more than short ones?  Just as women are encouraged to assert their power in ways that are different from those of men, i.e., collaboration vs hierarchy, shouldn’t we want women’s physical attractiveness be based on traits that signal our special talents vs physical prowess?  In other words, I should be looking up to women who smile, who are animated and hold their bodies erect with pride, right?