Does size really matter? When it comes to boys and men, the answer is a definitive yes, says journalist and author Stephen Hall. Standing at "five-foot-five and three quarters" himself, Stephen says a man's height has a big influence on his life. Gayle talks to Stephen about his new book, Size Matters: How Height Affects the Health, Happiness, and Success of Boys and the Men They Become.
Stephen says he wrote the book largely based on his own experience as a short male. He recounts a playground game he played in sixth grade, where players were required to tackle others as they were running across the field. Stephen says there was only one boy in the school who he could tackle—the only boy who was smaller than him.
"It was through that process that I realized that there is a hierarchy, especially for boys, that is attached to your physical size and ability," he says. "And what happens is you begin to incorporate, psychologically, a difficulty fitting into this hierarchy, which becomes a social hierarchy if you're on the smaller end of the growth chart during those periods, especially during adolescence."
Stephen notes that boys' height in their younger years does play a part in their success in later years. "The timing of growth is as important as the actual physical dimensions of it and so adolescence is a particularly fraught physiological period for a lot of men [not only] if they're shorter than average but also if their pubertal development and growth spurts come later."
Published on December 13, 2006