Tall vs Short Male Main Characters in Fiction
When was the last time you read something – anything that prominently featured a short male main character – that wasn’t a fairy, elf, or other mystical creature? Probably wasn’t recently, if at all.
If you flip through the dust jackets of popular fiction, male main characters are always tall, dark and handsome. There is a glaring absence of their vertically challenged counterparts. Recently, I wrote a post about things I would like to see more of in fiction and short men made my list.
So now that you’ve cast your short male main character there are a few things that you need to know. Height affects more than just a man’s inseam. According to a study done by sociologists from NYU there are major differences in relationship patterns between tall and short men.
The study, which examined data from 4,500 families from 1986 to 2011, collected data to determine if height made a difference in a man’s relationship. Short for this study is being less than 66”or 5’5 and tall is defined as being taller than 73” or 6’. It turns out, there are major differences.
Short men marry later in life and are 32% less likely to divorce. They are also more likely to marry a less educated and younger woman. Shorter men also apparently do less of the household chores but earn a higher income. Sociologists theorize that because height is seen as a manly attribute, they may use their income potential to keep traditional gender roles intact.
Tall men on the other hand marry sooner in life and are at an increased risk for divorce. They also marry better-educated women who are closer to their age. It appears taller men may use their height in exchange for better-educated spouses, while short men cannot.
Granted this doesn’t apply to all couples, this is interesting to think about when plotting your stories featuring short males as a main character. Thinking about height in terms of real data will most likely change the traits that you assign to your short male MC.
What do you think?