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Old 06-25-2012, 01:18 PM
 
296 posts, read 199,517 times
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Default The Curious Case of Short Man Syndrome ("Napoleon Complex")

I really don't understand how that term was coined. People act like SMS is something that short guys are born with, when if a shorter guy has to act more aggressive to get an ounce of respect, he seems to act that way because of social conditioning, because people throughout life typically treat him like less of a person than average height or taller people. Basically, Short Man Syndrome doesn't exist and is just a term that is used to demean shorter males. Yet it is used commonly as if it is a scientific fact that short guys all have a "complex".

Short men have a rather unique case in modern days - It's a case of the discriminators blaming the discriminated for their discrimination. Many act like a short guy is short due to his own fault and treat him with a lack of respect accordingly. I mean if one were to tell a homosexual that it's his fault for being discriminated against for being gay and "oh well that's life", that'd be ridiculous right? But when it comes to short dudes, it's like "Oh, you're short, deal with it. You should have been tall."

I see this height obsession as worse of a problem than "fat shaming" considering weight is something that is most often under the control of the person, and if a fat person is being discriminated against because of weight they can do something about it. Personally, I feel making fun of someone for factors outside their control (race, sexuality, height, etc) is total bull****. Height is something that nobody has to work for, yet taller people are given this social privilege as if they've demonstrated some great feat stemming from their own personal ability, and short men are often treated as if they are personally to blame.

So how do all of you feel? Personally, it seems that the "Napoleon Complex" is something people who don't prefer short men use to justify it.
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
10,662 posts, read 8,093,455 times
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I do think the Napoleon Complex exists, although I believe it is more of a "chicken or the egg" situation. Of course it's not a diagnosed syndrome, and perhaps my "perceptions" are my own prejudices at work (height being one of the more noticeable traits to use; "Well, he's compensating because he's short.")

Sure, not all short men show this, but obviously enough have over time to make it a "thing." To me, it is something that could result from decades of the "short shaming" you mention. I work with a man in his 50s who is 5'4", and I am consistently amazed at how many grown-up adults (men AND women who should know better) comment on his height or make short jokes.

Of course, he laughs it off and joins in a bit to maintain good humor, but I can't believe that people continue to do it. He is an Alpha male type, always needs to be in the middle of the action or leading it, but he obviously has dealt with the comments and probably worse all his life.

You are correct that it seems to be still a socially acceptable group to target. Personally, I also do not like to ridicule people, especially for things they can't change. But it is still prevalent.

Last edited by Wmsn4Life; 06-25-2012 at 01:52 PM.. Reason: typo!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-25-2012, 02:28 PM
 
818 posts, read 680,526 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmsn4Life View Post
I do think the Napoleon Complex exists, although I believe it is more of a "chicken or the egg" situation. Of course it's not a diagnosed syndrome, and perhaps my "perceptions" are my own prejudices at work (height being one of the more noticeable traits to use; "Well, he's compensating because he's short.")

Sure, not all short men show this, but obviously enough have over time to make it a "thing." To me, it is something that could result from decades of the "short shaming" you mention. I work with a man in his 50s who is 5'4", and I am consistently amazed at how many grown-up adults (men AND women who should know better) comment on his height or make short jokes.

Of course, he laughs it off and joins in a bit to maintain good humor, but I can't believe that people continue to do it. He is an Alpha male type, always needs to be in the middle of the action or leading it, but he obviously has dealt with the comments and probably worse all his life.

You are correct that it seems to be still a socially acceptable group to target. Personally, I also do not like to ridicule people, especially for things they can't change. But it is still prevalent.
Couldn't have said it better.
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:05 PM
 
Location: PA (work in NJ)
6,244 posts, read 7,376,835 times
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There is no scientific, psychological term "Napoleon Complex" or "Short Man Syndrome." I've never heard people talk about these terms as if they are a real phenomenon, but since I work in mental health, I hope that's because people know better.

It's sometimes used to describe a short guy who is overly aggressive, but there is no evidence that short men are more likely than tall or average-height men to be overly aggressive or domineering.

I think it just goes like this:

--Average height guy acts like a domineering jerk, he's an a$$h0le.
--Short guy acts like a domineering jerk, he must have Napoleon complex.
--Woman acts like a domineering jerk, she's a b*tch.
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:11 PM
 
Location: Montgomery County, MD
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I think Napoleon Complex is somewhat real. I was short as a kid and had to act tough as to not get beat up. Growing up in rough circumstances causes that a lot. Some short people also just happen to be jerks and would be even if they were taller.
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:35 PM
 
Location: State of Relaxation
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I've known a number of really short guys. Only one had the Napoleon Complex. All the others were perfectly comfortable with their height, and it came across. They projected an easy confidence. One was really charismatic. Women swarmed around all but the one with the complex.
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:43 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
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My uncle is short and he has an attitude, always has owned big cars...etc. I think that alot of short guys are that way because they want to prove that they are just as much of a man as taller guys are.
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Old 06-26-2012, 07:21 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Over-compensation is nothing unusual, whether you're too too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny, too weak, too poor, too whatever...Most of us have probably felt the need to compensate because we're insecure, Lord knows I have at times (not so much the height thing, although I'm shorter than a lot of guys and it definitely pops up a bit now and then).
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:12 AM
 
224 posts, read 299,579 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShortDoctor View Post
I really don't understand how that term was coined. People act like SMS is something that short guys are born with, when if a shorter guy has to act more aggressive to get an ounce of respect, he seems to act that way because of social conditioning, because people throughout life typically treat him like less of a person than average height or taller people. Basically, Short Man Syndrome doesn't exist and is just a term that is used to demean shorter males. Yet it is used commonly as if it is a scientific fact that short guys all have a "complex".

Short men have a rather unique case in modern days - It's a case of the discriminators blaming the discriminated for their discrimination. Many act like a short guy is short due to his own fault and treat him with a lack of respect accordingly. I mean if one were to tell a homosexual that it's his fault for being discriminated against for being gay and "oh well that's life", that'd be ridiculous right? But when it comes to short dudes, it's like "Oh, you're short, deal with it. You should have been tall."

I see this height obsession as worse of a problem than "fat shaming" considering weight is something that is most often under the control of the person, and if a fat person is being discriminated against because of weight they can do something about it. Personally, I feel making fun of someone for factors outside their control (race, sexuality, height, etc) is total bull****. Height is something that nobody has to work for, yet taller people are given this social privilege as if they've demonstrated some great feat stemming from their own personal ability, and short men are often treated as if they are personally to blame.
Really don't know where to start. Yes I agree with you and the whole discriminating against people because of race, sexuality, height, weight, etc is all bad. However despite you saying for instance its ridiculous to discriminate against someone for being gay that is what happens on a daily basis to probably every gay out there. Same for any non-whites or multi-racials. I'm multi-racial (white & American Indian) and I get discrimination from both of my races and everyone else too. I'm a little short woman and I get treated like a child for that and told shortness isn't desirable by a few I've tried to date. Strangers will laugh at me when I come walking up so can't help but think its because of the height.

As for Short Man Syndrome my first introduction to this was at the gym when a guy I have never spoken to marches up and says "you shouldn't be lifting them heavy weights". I was so aghast that a complete stranger would try to tell me what I am "allowed" to do just because I'm female, so I said nothing till I told another female bodybuilder about it. Her response was "yeah he has SMS". I did notice I was lifting heavier dumb bells than he was so maybe it was an ego thing. I noticed several other short men are like that at the gym where they seem to walk around with a huge chip on their shoulder. So as a short woman I don't know what to say other than it could be a combination of discrimination but also the guy may have a lousy attitude and just thinks people dislike him for his height. I did meet a guy who was only 4 foot-something and every bit as manly as taller guys. Actually he was quite a stud.
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:23 AM
 
Location: New Jersey
8,739 posts, read 4,248,233 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShortDoctor View Post
I really don't understand how that term was coined. People act like SMS is something that short guys are born with, when if a shorter guy has to act more aggressive to get an ounce of respect, he seems to act that way because of social conditioning, because people throughout life typically treat him like less of a person than average height or taller people. Basically, Short Man Syndrome doesn't exist and is just a term that is used to demean shorter males. Yet it is used commonly as if it is a scientific fact that short guys all have a "complex".

Short men have a rather unique case in modern days - It's a case of the discriminators blaming the discriminated for their discrimination. Many act like a short guy is short due to his own fault and treat him with a lack of respect accordingly. I mean if one were to tell a homosexual that it's his fault for being discriminated against for being gay and "oh well that's life", that'd be ridiculous right? But when it comes to short dudes, it's like "Oh, you're short, deal with it. You should have been tall."

I see this height obsession as worse of a problem than "fat shaming" considering weight is something that is most often under the control of the person, and if a fat person is being discriminated against because of weight they can do something about it. Personally, I feel making fun of someone for factors outside their control (race, sexuality, height, etc) is total bull****. Height is something that nobody has to work for, yet taller people are given this social privilege as if they've demonstrated some great feat stemming from their own personal ability, and short men are often treated as if they are personally to blame.

So how do all of you feel? Personally, it seems that the "Napoleon Complex" is something people who don't prefer short men use to justify it.
well from what I seen of you, you're the one obsessed with height. You definitely talk about it more then other folks on here. Out of all the user names in the world you chose one that directly relates to your height. I'm not saying this isn't an issue, b/c I beleive it is for shorter men, but ironically the ones I see mostly going on about it are the ones with the so called "Napoleon Complex," that they claim not to have/doesn't exist.
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