Friday, September 19, 2008

Article Response

NOSSA Response to this article:

Dear Mrs Winkleman,

This letter is a response from the National Organisation of Short Statured Adults (NOSSA) to your article ‘Take It From Me’ of 26th March 2008.

You are, by any account, an extremely succesful person, holding a degree from one of the best universities in the world, with a glittering CV as a TV presenter, newspaper columnist and fundraiser. We would like to ask you to imagine, being as honest with yourself as is possible, that you had been born both short and male, and that you read an article in a respected newspaper claiming all of this success was proof you suffered from ‘short man syndrome’. You were driven solely by an inferiority complex regarding your height.

Of course, you are neither short nor male, so this accusation will never be a reality for you. Indeed, if it was, we know it would be false, as you would have achieved everything you have being a not particularly short female. But please imagine the frustration this would cause you; to have all of your achievements explained not by intelligence, ambition or decency, but by an inferiority complex you knew you didn’t have.

We would like to point out that Napoleon was in fact slightly above average height at the time, the myth being the result of enemy propaganda, which in itslef highlights the bigotry short men face; if you want to portray someone as ‘bad’, then ‘short’ is a good place to start. A column for a respected British newspaper should be much better researched than yours, expecially one with such an arrogant title; ‘Take It From Me’. You could at least get the facts right.

Your claim that Napoleon was known as ‘short arse’ to his friends is, it logically follows on, a complete fabrication of the truth. ‘Le petit caporal’ is the closest they came to calling him this, but ‘petit’ in this case does not literally mean ‘small’.

But lets assume you weren’t so horribly wrong, and that Napoleon had been short. You claim he suffered from ‘short man disorder’. We ask you, how could it ever be proven, 200 years after his death, that Napoleon acted in the way he did because he was short? Even if a short man does happen to be an aggressive type, this does not mean it is as a result of his height. How do you explain a tall man’s aggression? Genetics? Upbringing? Could these not also be true of a short man? Looked at another way, many tall male celebrities would be accused of having ‘short man syndrome’ had they happened to be short. But since they aren’t short, but still aggressive, we know it would be completely false.

You then acknowledge that the thoery ‘had been dismissed as recently as 2007, but a recent study shows that it’s a very real syndrome’. The study you dismiss concluded tall men are more aggressive, the one you use as evidence concluded short men are more jealous. We ask you which one is more relevant to the theory of ‘short man syndrome’? Surely the answer is obvious. The fact that you dismissed the study that debunked the theory, then go on to endorse the theory which ‘supports’ it (even though it deals with jealousy, not aggresion), shows a deep prejudice against short men. You surely cannot deny this charge.

The Wessex Growth Study is probably, scientifically speaking, the fairest study, as it controlled for factors such as gender and socioecnomic status, and it concluded that no personality functioning can be attributed to height. Please take a careful look at this. Surely your arrogance cannot extend to dismissing such research.

If you had written a similar article about a syndrome black or gay men suffered from, would you honestly expect to hold on to your job?

Finally, your teasing of Jamie Cullum is just plain childish. He, like you, got where he did through his own hard work. You may or may not be aware that he is a mere centimetre shorter than you are. Your claim that his ambition was motivated by an inferiority complex regarding his stature is disgusting and further demonstrates your bigotry. The laws of averages, which are obviously beyond you, suggest that every so often, short men will be succesful. As someone who wants to be seen as an honest children’s charity worker, please imagine how it would feel for a short, ambitious teenager to read your article. If you do have a conscience then surely you feel some regret.


NOSSA - National Organization Of Short Statured Adults, Inc.
Church Street Station
PO Box 1187
New York, New York 10008-1187
United States Of America
1-888-NOSSA-EZ (1-888-667-7239)
Group email:

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