Tall women often feel pressure to be skinny and be the “right kind of tall” and not intimidate men, according to several taller women.
Speaking on Lunchtime Live, Aoife, who is five foot 10 inches, said she’s received awkward comments about her height since she was 12.
“I had my growth spurt early, and I wasn't naturally thin,” she said.
“So, I was always the ‘fine cut of a girl’, the big girl.
“And when people say big it doesn't necessarily always mean tall, so I got this idea in my head, even though I wasn't overweight, that I was big, and I was like a monster.
'Weight is definitely a factor'
A combination of insults and off-the-cuff remarks deeply impacted Aoife’s body image for years.
“Weight is definitely a factor in it,” she said. “Taller girls are more conscious of it.”
“I’d be called a ‘fine cut of girl’, and I’d say to people if you’re cutting brown broad and you got a fine cut, it wouldn’t be a skinny one.
“At one point I was under nine stone, and that was purely down to this idea that in order to be acceptably tall, you have to be skinny.
“That's the kind of danger in these kinds of things.”
Writer and Broadcaster Barbara Scully told the show the women in her family are all well-above the average height and have heard comments like Aoife for most of their lives.
“There is an issue in that people feel free to comment on your height in a way that they wouldn't comment about any other physical attributes,” she said.
Barbara’s daughter is six foot two inches, and she told Barbara it’s “mainly men” who comment on her size.
“This is going to sound sexist, but this comes from literally 50 years' experience: Men do find you intimidating just because of your height,” she said.
“Men are not used to looking up at women, and they do find you intimidating.”
'Power' of being taller
Barbara said, however, she has come to learn about the “power” of being a taller woman as she gets older.
“I think maybe you only really appreciate that when you get older,” she said.
“I was six foot tall from the time I was 15, and at the time I did find it difficult.
“You’re outside the norm and back then there were no tall clothes ranges at the time.
“But now I wouldn’t swap it for the world because I understand the power that is associated with being tall – people will never forget you.
“And you are not as vulnerable when you're a woman if you're tall or taller than most men and that's a sad fact.”
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