Stigma isn’t always about the obvious problems facing our society.
It could be argued that the most insidious stigmas are those that are so common as to be invisible.
Comedians are always “on” or people in glasses are awkward.
These seemingly trivial stereotypes still affect our perceptions of the world around us and can impact not just how we treat others, but how we feel about ourselves.
So, when social pressure turns to insecurity, how much should you adjust yourself to accommodate for the other person?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) thrown_away_confused when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some outside opinions.
“AITA for wanting to wear heels when my boyfriend doesn’t want me to?”
OP began with some backstory.
“Me [Female 20] and my boyfriend [Male 26] are the same height when barefoot and we just recently got together.”
“We did not meet online, he knew how tall I was before he asked me out and he has seen me in heels too.”
“I was actually wearing heels the day we met for the first time and was definitely taller than him.”
She explained why this might be a bigger problem then one might think.
“We both have nice jobs and are involved in a few uni projects and therefore get invited to suit and tie events almost bi-weekly.”
OP even defended her desire for heels.
“I am a feminine woman, I thoroughly enjoy dressing up, it makes me feel beautiful and powerful.”
“Heels are a big part of that for me, I love feeling tall and noticeable. Since there is plenty of occasions for me to wear them, I have several and it is not a one-off thing.”
“My boyfriend, however, recently asked me not to wear them.”
“He has not given me a specific reason apart from that he does not want me to be taller than him.”
“Partially I understand, but my point is – I like them, I paid good money for them and you knew how tall I was before you started dating me!”
She was left to wonder.
“WIBTA for wearing them anyway?”
Having explained the situation, OP presented her hypothetical to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some responses were very direct.
“Nta – wear the heels”
“Unless of course, it’s for a date on a construction site… Then wear the high-heeled steel caps” ~ teebs86
Others were surprised at boyfriend’s insecurity.
“Someone so insecure as to be threatened by being with a woman taller than they are should have sorted themself out before they got together with a woman taller than them.”
“Now he wants to change you. Ha, tell him they make lifts for men if he feels the need. NTA” ~ ParsimoniousSalad
“It’s so weird, guys who are the same height or slightly taller than the woman they’re dating seem to be the most insecure about height.”
“The guys who are significantly shorter seem to give no f*cks and happily date their taller girlfriends without complaint.” ~ DiTrastevere
“He’s insecure and taking it out on you.”
“He doesn’t date girls his own age because they won’t put up with that immaturity. I’d move on. The world is your oyster.” ~ Schopenhauer_Down
Commenters suggested the couple talk through the issue together.
“Have a conversation with him on why he feels uncomfortable with you looking taller than him and talk it out.”
“I’m on the taller side as a woman and I’ve been with a man my height who absolutely loved to stand next to me when I wear heels to events, you deserve to be with someone who appreciates what they have.”
“Maybe show him pictures of celebrity couples where the woman is taller? (think Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas for example)”
“Also this might be an exaggeration but I’d be wary of other ‘orange’ flags that you might have turned a blind eye to in your relationship.”
“Good luck sorting this out, and enjoy the heels!” ~ agirlisn0one
“You two need to have a firm talk.”
“He knew your height, you wore heels on your first date.”
“I’m fed up of men trying to minimize women, too tall( no heels, slouch in photos), too successful ( keep it quiet, don’t tell my family about your promotion).”
“Never minimize yourself in any way for a man. I hope he can deal, this is just a blip.” ~ Hob-Nob1974
There were also personal stories.
“As a 6’2 woman I say NTA and wear the heels if you want to.”
“Why is he dating a woman as tall as him if he gets insecure about that? Nah.”
“I am taller than my partner by default and we rock it, he has no problem being shorter than me.” ~ RadiantEarthGoddess
I’m definitely taller than my boyfriend in heels.
When we first started dating, I put on a pair of 120mm heels and stood over him, and he thought it was so hot we didn’t even make it out the door for dinner ~ sweetsundays
“My wife is a centimeter taller than me without heels and even more so when wearing heels.”
“In the 23 years we have been togheter I have never considered asking her to stop wearing heels. Why would I when she looks stunning wearing them?”
“Even in a universe where I felt uncomfortable with a woman taller than me I would have no right to dictate what she was wearing, and neither has your boyfriend.”
“Tell him you love him and respect him, but that you will not let his insecurity dictate how you dress.” ~ Nordlibris
“My boyfriend and I are also the same height and I actually love not having to crane my head every time I want to look at him or kiss him lol.”
“I actually do wear heels very rarely now because I personally don’t enjoy towering over him (for the reason mentioned above), and it’s actually really nice to wear flats most of the time and not having to suffer sore feet.”
“But again, that’s MY personal preference.”
“My boyfriend would never tell me not to wear heels or b*tch about me being taller than him.”
“In fact, anything else would be quite the turn-off for me.”
“I get that we all have our insecurities, but that is for each of us to deal with on our own (e.g. by not dating someone who likes wearing heels and would be taller than you when doing so).” ~ PrinceOfPamplemousse
Commenters were concerned with setting a dangerous precedent.
“First it’s the heels he doesn’t like.”
“Then it is your make-up or the clothes you wear.”
“Next he won’t like your friends and your hobbies. Do you see where this controlling behavior is going?” ~ ParticularReview4129
“Your bf doesn’t get to dictate what you wear. Huge warning sign for future abuse.”
“Tell him that his insecurities about his height don’t determine your wardrobe.” ~ kenzie-k369
“And that’s borderline abusive.”
“Like, not quite there, but testing the waters.”
“First no heels, then wants a say on what kind of clothes you wear, than makeup.”
“Then do you really need a job? I can take care of you. Are you even thinking about kids? And so on so forth.”
“You get the picture. Might not be that, but it already gives me ick.” ~ sis3838
While a few were just confused by OP’s boyfriend entirely.
“What I find the strangest about this whole situation is that he literally knew how tall you are and how tall you are in heels when he started dating you.”
“It’s weird that he didn’t factor that in at first.”
“To be honest, this is what some women find unattractive in shorter men; that bitter insecurity that leads them to resent taller women or when their partner is taller than them in heels.”
“It’s such a petty thing that it’s a big turn-off, personally.”
“I’m quite short and so is my partner, though he’s still taller than me; but despite being on the shorter side, he’s totally okay and comfortable with his height and I know he would never get upset if I wore heels that made me taller than him.” ~ HistoricalAd4089
Freedom of expression was strongly encouraged.
“If you want to wear heels wear them.”
“God if you want to wear a banana suit to a black tie event then wear it.”
“Wear absolutely anything you want because it’s a huge part of self-expression and that should never be filtered (with a few obvious exceptions of course).”
“It seems to me like he isn’t feeling ‘manly’ enough when you are taller than him.”
“That’s definitely a him issue and not your responsibility to fix but that being said if it’s a relationship you want to be a lasting one and build better communication perhaps just a conversation where you reassure him, or let him know he is ‘manly’ to you.” ~ Little-Squirrel-16
Some responses did show consideration for OP’s boyfriend.
“I have a little empathy for the boyfriend.”
“People talk about him being ‘insecure,’ but I’m willing to guess that what he hates are the negative looks he gets when he’s out with a taller women.”
“Specifically from guys. It’s a real thing.”
“All the posts here imply that he should just get over himself, as if that’s easy.”
“OP, you’re NTA and of course you should express your beautiful self however you want.”
“And I encourage you to talk more about this with him.”
“I hope he can open up to you about it.”
“There is cultural shame around being shorter than ‘your woman.”’
“A short guy” ~ Medit8or
The challenges in navigating the social pressures of a constantly watching world are not to be minimized, of course.
However, always remember that the most important expression is self-expression.
Do not diminish for anyone.