Thursday, November 15, 2012

Does Quebec have short-man syndrome?

   Quebecers are shorter than other Canadians.This is something anybody living here could easily observe but the hard proof is surprisingly thin.
   Nonetheless at least three studies back up this notion, although none with great statistical precision.   
   The best study on the issue of Canadian male tallness was from Guelph Ontario,* which analyzed prison records and other health data to note that Quebecers have historically been slightly less tall than Ontarians.
   And another study from 1991 also suggested that Quebec males are shorter and thinner than other Canadians.
   But Quebec men are getting taller. Montreal-based health statistician Patrick Laprise approached the issue in a study from 2007, in which  he noted that the average Quebec male grew from 5'8 1/2" to just over 5'9" between 1987 and 2005.
   Size has become increasingly harder to determine, as immigration has skewed the numbers because many Asians and Latin-Americans are often of a slightly smaller-stature.
    So making geographically-based generalizations has become more difficult as the population becomes increasingly diverse.
   (In case you're curious, I stand 5'10 1/2". Pretty average. But I've thought about height recently, as some parents on my boy's hockey team believe that their sons' lack of size is proving a disadvantage.)
    Unlike in the USA where the taller guys usually gets elected president, some of Quebec's most important figures have been tiny. The first PQ cabinet couldn't go to La Ronde without the attendant pulling out the yard-stick.
   This might lead some to ascribe old cliches about the Quebec's leadership being plagued with a Napoleon complex, or short-man syndrome, as it's also known.
   The fact is that we should probably study tall-man syndrome instead.
   Taller males live lives of entitlement.  Only about one in 25 North American males are 6'2" and over and they are massively over-represented in the upper-reaches of business hierarchies.
   Tall men generally live easier lives, earn more money and get promoted higher in business hierarchies.
   So none of this works to the advantage of the Quebecois, who have traditionally been of smaller size.
   One of the central tenets of short-man syndrome suggests that men of smaller stature are more aggressive and belligerent to compensate for lack of size. However studies have shown that taller men actually lose their temper quicker than those of small stature.
   The one trait, however, that was clearly associated with men of smaller stature was jealousy. In controlled experiments, smaller males had their jealousy mechanism tripped more easily than the taller men.
   So ... jealousy.. could that be our thing here?  
* (Kranfield & Inwood "The Great Transformation: A Long-Run Perspective on Physical Well-Being in Canada")


sidesaddlegirl said...

I'm 5'9" and all my boyfriends in Montreal were shorter than me. A LOT shorter than me. Probably didn't help that I also used to wear my platform shoes too so I was well over 6' in them! The tall guys weren't interested in me (I tried, they all wanted my petite 4'11" best friend!!) so I had to accept that I was the "trophy girlfriend" for these short guys, lol.

Rich said...

Jealousy? Or insecurity?

..."couldn't go to La Ronde without the attendant pulling out the yard-stick"


david m said...

wow, i'm 6'2 and given my middling station in life, i worry where i'd find myself today had i not had the height boost.

Nahla said...

fantastic, I am 6'2 and given my middling post in your life, i stress where i'd discover myself now had i not had the height improve.