Friday, July 29, 2016

Where are the Tall Girls?


In books, I mean.

Other people may not be nearly so sensitive on this subject but I am very tall, as women go—about 5'11”. And it seems like especially in YA all the heroines are these little tiny things (the Mistborn series is the latest of many) or else no height is mentioned... believe me... if the heroine was tall, it would be mentioned.

Nancy and Barb--note how Barb stands out
I suppose the culmination of this thought, though, was watching Stranger Things last week. I thought Nancy was an emaciated pixie. But somehow, next to her, Barb just looked large. And I so identified.

Now I never made Barb's hair error—gads--being large enough to be somebody's mother makes you want to be DAMN sure not to have their mother's haircut. The glasses were bad, too, but that is just an 80s side effect—everyone with glasses had those. But yeahnana on the hair...

Anyway... that big friend that the boys never looked twice at? That was me in Jr. High and High School. And the closest I get in books is Lady Brienne, but Lady Brienne WANTS to be a warrior—her size suits her. What about the tall girls aching to be normal? The ones who didn't want to be basketball players, where tall becomes a super-asset. And I'm not talking side kick, or worse, nemesis (why are tall girls the villains?)

Anybody have any book recommendations for me with heroines that are TALL?

How I feel in every picture ever...

13 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Hart - I have a friend who is 6' or so ... and when we go out - she has to really slow down - I can't keep up! Her 2 daughters are tall too ... I am glad I'm not that girl in the 2nd photo ... the human is (just) growing taller ... I'm glad usually I'm small-normal - but sometimes I could do with being 6' or 5' ll" ... then I could see! Cheers Hilary

Mason Canyon said...

Being only 5'4", I've always wanted to be taller. I'd never thought about it before but you're right about short girls being the heroines and tall girls being the villains in stories. Time for tall girls to take charge and become the heroines.

Thoughts in Progress
and MC Book Tours

Ann Bennett said...

I hear ya. In sixth grade there were three of us who were the tallest. We were about 5 foot 2. The other two stopped growing. I continued and am 5'10". You might have me beat by an inch but I bet my nose and feet are bigger. lol
There are much worse things in this world.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

Sorry, no books come to mind, but as I think about it many books have shorter heroines--or average height.

Andrew Leon said...

I never really picture the women in books as being any shorter than men, just in general. The Dresden Files is an exception, because Dresden is super tall and the cop lady is super short.

You also never find short guys in books.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well, I never stated a height, but I imagined Athee almost as tall as Byron in my series. Tamsin was shorter in Dragon though.

Terra Hangen said...

I never thought about this before; I am 5'4" so perhaps that is why. I've never noticed the height of female characters before but now I will start looking for that.

Hart Johnson said...

I do think people more average height-ed think about height less.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

In my current WIP, my heroine is pretty tall. I didn't specify in the writing but in my character profile I have her at 5'10". My daughter is a tall 5'9" so I get what you're talking about.

Kathleen Valentine said...

Have you ever read Kiana Davenport's books? most of her women are over 6' tall--just like she is.

erica and christy said...

Ha! And I'm 5'1" and tend to write characters who struggle with seeing over the crowd like me, but I can say that Erica felt like the girls in your pictures when standing next to me when we took the profile picture for our blog! Growing up, my best friend was 6' and we definitely looked like an odd couple. Christy

Flicker said...

This probably isn't your type of thing, but most of Barbara Pym's heroines are tall, as was she. In "Excellent Women" Mildred complains that "no sink has ever been built high enough for a reasonably tall person" (she's doing the dishes). In "Less Than Angels," one heroine, Catherine, is quite short, but the secondary heroine, Deirdre, is tall. Prudence in "Jane and Prudence" is tall, Wilmet in "A Glass of Blessings" is tall, etc., etc.

Carrie-Anne said...

Lyuba, the female lead of my Russian novels, is 5'9. Since I created her when I was only 13, her original height was 5'11, before I kew that's an extremely unusual height for a woman. I sized her down two inches to try to be more realistic. I have a few other female characters who are 5'7, and had a few discontinued characters who were like 5'11 and over six feet tall.