I often skip the status updates on LinkedIn due to a reoccurring theme that they are focusing only on self-promotion, or very little originality. This photo caught my eye and made me smile. So, I clicked to read more.
(Note, I decided to try and give the man some privacy as the entire premises made me feel uncomfortable.)
Here’s a brief synopsis: During a speaking engagement in Vietnam, Baroness Monepicked up a child, only to find out he was an adult. Not looking too concerned, the gentlemen seemed to enjoy the attention- and the photo. I say seemed to, because I was not there. I could only go on sense and what the Baroness had penned about the experience.
What struck me, was the post itself, and the comments that followed. I want to believe the update was almost a mea culpa- in saying, “I can’t believe this happened.” But the use of the MONKEY emoticon had me gasping. I had to look up close to make sure Baroness did indeed, use a monkey.
That certainly appears to be a monkey. Hesitant, but wanting to know if my reaction was off-base, I read the comments. Many called out Baroness for using this as a P.R. stunt, being insensitive to the man in the photo. No one, (in my quick glance and several scrolls) made mention of the monkey icon.
But, there was so much more. ELF jokes. Claims that he is, “cute!” Silly suggestions that perhaps Santa didn’t know he left the North Pole and bursts of, “hilarious!” “lucky guy!” and “too funny!” filled the feed.
It was almost too much to believe. Some claimed, “This is the best day of his life!” I couldn’t wrap my head around calling a grown man, “cute” or, “adorable.” Not online, and certainly- not to his face.
I stand a fierce 4’11”, (which in all sincerity is just a tad over 4’10”.) I claim the extra half inch as my own, just as I’ve forged through every short joke I’ve heard in my life. Shrimp. Small person. Midget. Instances of frat boys claiming, “how’s the shire?!” fueled a few polite disagreements in my early twenties. Those who are shorter are judged in business.
INC. Magazine claimed in 2014, that height mattered in business- at least in climbing the corporate ladder. Though non-scientific, the author found that on average, the height of many CEOs he looked-to or recognized, was 5’11”. From a more scientific perspective, the WSJ shared a piece in 2011, asking if height truly mattered. The answer was a resounding yes.
Tall people also make more money, studies have found. Arianne Cohen, author of The Tall Book: A Celebration of Life from on High, says tall people make $789 more per inch per year. What’s more, they may be more respected in the workplace because they act more like leaders. “
While I was disturbed at an emotional level- given the disrespectful tone in the comments, I was also in disbelief over the effect of many professionals coming together to dis-empower this individual. They all limited him to only one factor: His height. While he may or may not be a half-world away from my rainy afternoon in St. Paul, Minnesota, I wondered if he knew that his photo was on the internet for all to see and that the language being used to describe him, was limiting, condescending and unprofessional.
I approach the internet and business the same as I teach my daughter. Cinderella’s words rang in my ear as I wondered out-loud, whatever happened to having the courage to stand up for something wrong, and choosing kindness?
My father has always expressed that it is my duty to open a book to read into its true story, and that great, powerful beings come in very small packages.
I’d really appreciate if you never pick me up, if I attend your conference, Baroness. Thou small, I am fierce.