Look behind you

June 14, 2007

Have you ever done that at a concert or a movie theater? Look behind you to see if you’re blocking someone’s view? Have you ever thought about it or even cared? How tall are you?

This post might sound a little bitter. A few days ago I saw this awesome show that featured progressive hip hop acts like the fantastic group Blue Scholars, Common Market, and Gabriel Teodros (whose CD I immediately bought after the show!). In the end, I was able to muscle my way through the front of the stage and saw the show up close, mostly inhibited. All’s well that ends well.

At the beginning of the show, I was worried. As I was pushing my way through the crowd, I saw that at the front of the crowd was this really tall, slender teen, who was over 6ft. tall. You could tell he was a big fan and was really enjoying the show. However, I couldn’t helped but be slightly miffed since his pure unadulterated enjoyment of the show, of being right in front, had to come to the price of me not being able to see anything. I’m 4’11”, that’s right not even 5ft. tall. Some people say I should just fib and say that I’m 5ft. tall but hey, i’m short and I got no reason to be ashamed. Other notable people of my height include Shakira (that’s right, she is that short), and Kristy Yamaguchi. Anyways, that’s for another day. Anyways, this dude was hella tall and I was hella short. This illustrates it:

See? The guy didn’t do it out of any malice, he was just oblivious, having no idea he was blocking anyone. I’m annoyed but not that mad. As I was walking through the crowd, there were other guys who were much taller than me, who turned around and must have seen me, but I guess it never registered in their minds that I am much shorter than them, and that I can’t really see any of the show. All I see is this:

I paid just as much money as tall people to see the show. I know the answer is too just deal with it and come to the show hours early and stake out a spot in the front and never ever leave or go to the restroom just in case someone will come and take it.

But why should I? Can’t everyone be able to watch the concert and be able to see? Does it really matter if you’re 2ft. closer to the stage or not? You can still fucking see if you’re standing behind me, whereas I see absolutely nothing! There’s nothing wrong with being considerate of other people. I love live music, but it’s hard when I have to shove my way through the crowd into the front just so I can see, and usually that involves me separating from my friends, who are uniformly taller than me, so I have to enjoy the experience alone.

As a tall person in front of me, when you turn around and see me how does it not occur to you that I can’t see? This is what I tend to angrily think in the crowds. However, thinking about it, your body type, how you look shapes how you view the world. If you’re tall, it probably wouldn’t occur to you that you are blocking someone because you’ve probably never been blocked. I’ve had discussions about this in terms of race and gender. Like how when you’re privileged it’s difficult to pick up on instances of racism and sexism because you’re not used to taking the brunt of it. However, after the Blue Scholars show, I was interested in thinking about other basic physical characteristics impact one’s personality. The way others view you impacts how you are like to an extent. As we can see with race and gender, how you look can gravely affect how you’re treated from whether a cab driver will pick you up or not or if someone will respect what you have to say. Height, weight, etc. also has an impact of how you’re treated and how you may view yourself.

I remember one time in class, we had this guest speaker, Del LaGrace Volcano, who’s this amazing photographer and artist. Here’s zir website with some of zir artwork. Zie is genderqueer, but passes as a man. In the class, we were discussing masculinity I think??? Or something about how zie passes or if people can tell and if that impacts how others treat him. Zie said that if anything his height had the most influence on how other’s treated zir has a “man”. Since zie is short, people don’t see zir as having the same amount of authority and masculinity as someone taller.
How would this impact you? If you were short, would you become more meek just because people always thought you would be like that? Or would you go the opposite extreme and be super aggressive to assert yourself, to command that respect? If you’re tall, do you feel oblivious to all this? Do you have a greater sense of entitlement, that the world was made for you because you can reach anything with ease? Would you have greater confidence because people look up to you (literally)? This is all very gendered too.

Weight is also an issue too. Skinny to fat, attractive to ugly, if you’re on the wrong end of the spectrum you’re virtually invisible. I’ve been fat most of my life and am still trying to understand how that may have shaped my personality. Am I shy because I felt so invisible? Sometimes you don’t notice how people are viewing you this one way, until someone different from you comes along and everyone suddenly pays attention to them, and only then do you realize that you were being invisible. What is normal to you is not normal to everyone else. Maybe I’ll rant more about this later, but this entry is growing and growing so maybe I should just post it now.

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One Response to “Look behind you”

  1. Francesca said

    I love your sense of humor and your thoughtfulness, and look forward to anything else you might have to write on this subject.

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