6 Nigerian Men On Being Body Shamed For Their Height

September 27, 2021

We asked Nigerian men about their experiences being body shamed because of their height.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. Sam

I’m 6’3, but out of my six brothers, I’m the second shortest. Because I was an athlete in secondary school, I was quite skinny, so I got my share of names like “longy”, and “electric pole”. A particularly nasty school prefect once called me “tall fool”. I was also constantly mocked for my knocked knees even by some family members. As much as I hated the bullying, I like to think that it’s what has made me a strong person.

2. Rotimi

I started growing super fast when I was a child. I grew faster than everyone my age and the grown-ups around me would tell me that I’d be really tall when I grow up. Then when I was in SS1, I stopped growing as fast, people caught up. Family members would ask why I wasn’t tall, some of them would randomly say things like, “And you’re a very fine boy o, it’s just that you’re short” out of the blue. I’ve also had my share of rejection from women who have told me I was not big enough for them. I’m not sad that I’m not tall. I’m sad because my expectations for my height didn’t come to pass because I started puberty early.

3. Musty

I think the body shaming of short men is a societally accepted thing that people laugh about a lot, but shouldn’t be funny. I have been body-shamed a lot, by both men and women, both in playful and serious situations and even though I’ve gotten used to laughing at the jokes, it doesn’t hurt any less.

4. Ilias

I once asked a girl out and her response was “I only go out with men and not boys”. I sort of understood that she was taking a jab at my height, but just to be sure, I asked her to clarify and she said, “You can’t seriously call yourself a man at that height. You don’t even have a beard too.” You know the funny part? I’m taller than her.

5. Teslim

I don’t see people making fun of my height as body shaming anymore. When I was younger, I used to feel bad about it, but now, I just laugh about it, and genuinely feel no hurt. When jokes about short men fly around, I don’t feel bad. I have a sharp mouth, so when people insult me for being short, I find some flaw in them and talk about it as well and that way, the insult goes round.

6. Gbe

My friend posted a picture of me and one of her friends reached out because she thought I was cute, so she got my number. When we eventually met, she acted really weird, like I’d done something wrong. I thought she was shy, so I gave her space and let her be.

A few weeks later, my friend told me that the reason her friend was acting weird was that she thought I was too short for her and didn’t like short men, and that was also why she didn’t talk to me after our date. I think I was slightly taller than her.

David Odunlami

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