By Mariah Burton Nelson
Many thanks to Mariah for this essay, and to Kara for posting it here. Footnote 1 alone was astounding. We really, really need to stop tampering with healthy biological development. It continues to be remarkable to me how many people cannot grasp this simple idea.
Thank you for telling your story, Mariah. What a damning record for patriarchy: Men must be strong, women weak, and there must be no exceptions and no overlap. I’m so glad you found your way around the rules, despite the odds.
Excellent. Without sexism and homophobia, without stultifying sex roles and stereotypes, the trans phenomenon wouldn’t even exist.
There's an entire book about this earlier medical scandal https://www.amazon.com/Normal-Any-Cost-Industrys-toManipulate/dp/1585426830?ref=d6k_applink_bb_dls&dplnkId=f1f5a59c-0320-4418-aa48-ac0f56c45e23, it's fascinating.
There will always be some doctors (and parents) who confuse the possible with the appropriate.
I'm glad the author has forgiven her mother. One thing the book demonstrates is how unable anyone is to predict the future: the mothers worried about their tall daughters not finding a husband couldn't not have possibly predicted how much the women's movement would change society.
So often we worry about the wrong thing...
Great article about some of the weird things that can happen if you are a girl in a tall family.
I'm also from a tall family and can relate to some of the items discussed.
Going against the grain a bit, however, not all tall people end up being athletes. My daughter is 5 foot 10 inches. She likes weightlifting as a hobby, but is not all that interested in competitive athletics.
Today, it is not all that uncommon for tall women to date or marry people who are slightly shorter or the same height, so I think that traditional stigma against being tall as a woman is more or less almost disappeared.
Professionally, I have found that being taller as a woman (5 foot 8) is a bit of an advantage.
My mother was 5 foot 9 and was a teenager in the 1950s. My maternal grandmother was also tall (5 foot 9). I think there was a bit of social stigma for them, but overall, I don't think it had a significant impact on their ability to socialize or form meaningful relationships.
In my own experience, having to deal with people who had trouble with me being taller helped me realize that you can't worry too much about what other people think. It helped me be more independent and able to ignore the trivialities that many people engage in.
I find the current gender role stereotyping of the trans movement to be an extraordinary regression to the most extreme forms of gender role stereotyping. For instance, why do most trans people who want to present as being a woman choose to have blond hair?
How very telling. Thank you for this fresh perspective. I have also read about girls being told by the various people pushing transition that they will grow taller if they block their puberty and take testosterone. And as so many of our female beauty icons, models not least, are taller than average, I think this is also behind the radical rise in girls being conned into 'transitioning.'
A hold your seats a moment - I read years ago that it was not uncommon in Sweden to give tall girls estrogen to halt growth. There is an epiphyseal “plate” near the end of long bones which grows and elongate long bones, and solidifies when the body has high estrogen levels. Girls grow earlier than boys but estrogen levels rise faster than in boys. In boys, estrogen sufficient for solidification doesn’t occur until there is substantial testosterone (which “aromatises” (converts) to estrogen; high steroid use by bodybuilders paradoxically creates very high testosterone levels, and breast tissue called “bitch tits”. In boys, steroid use literally stunts them via steroid-derived estrogen shutting down their growth plates.) Whew! The only approved use of puberty blockers is in pre-teens which have started puberty and would be extremely short if their body produced high estrogen too early.
Boys who were castrated to be singers in the 18th and 19th century grew extraordinarily tall because there was almost no testosterone (adrenal glands only) to become estrogen to suppress growth.
Girls who take testosterone will still have plenty of estrogen; their bodies convert excess testosterone to estrogen which regulates growth. Estrogen also controls bone mineralization. Shutting down all estrogen ruins growing bones. It also shuts down developing sexual neural structures. They will not become sexually responsive.
Boys who take estrogen will be stunted, same logic. They will not grown to natural height. If their testosterone is shut down they will not develop any sexually mature neural structures, which activate with testosterone.
The only way to control the side-effects or testosterone is with aromatisé inhibitors, but now you’re in the world of shutting down the entire endocrine structure of a child and replacing it with something totally synthetic, not knowing what the required levels are to grow and function.
Experimental is polite word for this horror.
Sylvia Plath once said she married Ted Hughes because he was the only man she fell in love with who was taller than she was. (There were other reasons, but that one was significant enough to her to mention it in her journal.)