Though some of you reading may think, “Well, everyone has issues in adolescence such as acne, glasses and braces,” the difference is that acne may clear up, you can buy contact lenses, and braces eventually come off, but height is essentially forever. Some girls traumatized by the impact of being tall in their adolescence carry baggage with them that affects their romantic lives well into adulthood.
Brown cites some men’s discomfort with dating a tall woman as one of many challenges. There are others, though. Some studies have found that tall people, particularly women, appear to be at greater risk for certain cancers. But those aren’t the kinds of concerns likely weighing on the mind of some 12-year-old girl who is in junior high, being made to feel ashamed or awkward because she is taller than her classmates.
Despite the fact that all sorts of successful women benefit from height — models and basketball players, to name a few — that is not much comfort to the average girl, who is not going to become a supermodel or WNBA star anytime soon.
Which is what makes the rise of the Obama girls as budding style icons and role models so awesome. They both seem to embrace their height, and no doubt a big part of that comes from the fact that they have parents, like my own, who celebrate their daughters’ long legs and stature. The president joked about Malia’s growth spurt in a speech in 2010 when he said, “Even though she’s 5 feet 9 inches, she’s still my baby. And she just got braces, which is good, because she looks like a kid and she was getting . . . she’s starting to look too old for me.”
Who knows? Maybe, thanks to Malia and Sasha, more girls will hold their heads a little higher and stand a little straighter and take pride in literally being above it all.