Why Do People Hate on Couples in Which the Woman Is Taller?

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Sep 26, 2018

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Sonam K Ahuja recently posted a photo of herself and her husband, Anand Ahuja, on her Instagram. It’s not that remarkable, for two very attractive people – in it, they pose sleekly in black and sunglasses, a combination that automatically makes anyone 38% hotter. I would have scrolled past with the typical mindlessness of social media use, had the comments not grabbed my attention. Amidst the high fives to Anand for marrying a hot chick, the fangirling over Sonam’s undoubted style, and the grotesque comments about Sonam’s breasts – all expected — was a (slight) surprise: “It doesnt look good when wife is taller than husband [sic],” one commenter remarked. “She should avoid wearing heels. Its embaracing for anand.”

We’ve been here before – repeatedly. Often with Tom Cruise. Most recently with Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas. And each time it’s worth asking – why are we so intent on tearing down tall women with shorter men?

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👫 @anandahuja @giorgioarmani #everydayphenomenal

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To be fair to commenters, it’s not about the fact that Sonam is taller than her husband. (She is 177cm; he is 175 cm; it’s weird that Google knows that.) That’s okay. It’s her choice to accentuate her height, by wearing high heels, that is the problem.

“don’t wear heels if u look taller than ur husband”

“U should not wear heels when u are standing with ur hubby…btw u r my fav. couple” (to judge?)

“I think sonam shuld devoid wearing hills.” (Actually, I agree with that last one. Geologic formations are a hard look to pull off.)

Forget that Sonam is tiny by virtually every other standard than height (can you imagine how much more virulent comments would be if Sonam were any less thin). Her femininity is in question – because it’s determined by how much she effaces herself to enhance her male partner. The irony is incredible – high heels, one of the ultimate symbols and benchmarks of femininity, are being used to undermine … a woman’s femininity.

But while ironic, it’s not surprising. Femininity — arguably society’s measure of success at being a woman — is determined by how well women deliver on their obligations to others. Women are never their own; who they are and how they present themselves reflects on their husbands’ masculinity, their children’s success, their families’ honor. This is the deep wellspring of gender inequality that feeds all other, more tangible, examples of disparity.

And perhaps that’s why we hate so much on these tall women with shorter men. Many people see Sonam K Ahuja choosing to stand even taller next to her husband and see a threat to the status quo. After all, if women start choosing not to be responsible for everyone else, who will be? (Answer: literally everyone; welcome to equality.)

At the end of the day, Sonam probably just wanted to wear heels because they went with her outfit. Sometimes equality means choosing what you want to wear without a thought to how it will make someone else look. It’s telling that so many people find that most basic choice threatening in a woman.

And it’s ironic that these champions of Anand Ahuja’s stature, by holding a wife responsible for her husband’s masculinity, are doing more to emasculate him than his wife’s heels ever could.

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Written By Liesl Goecker

Liesl Goecker is The Swaddle’s managing editor and has been living and writing in Mumbai since 2010. She is passionate about women’s rights, everyone’s health, and caffeine.

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