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  • Writer's pictureChris Mads

All hail the (short) king

Welcome to Short King Spring! I should preface what is to come by saying that I can take no credit for the advent of either the phrase or the event I am talking about – obviously.

The term “short king” was coined in 2019 by Jaboukie Young-White, who hailed so-called “short kings” as “the enemy of body positivity”. Taking ownership of one’s identity and body has been a big – and growing – trend online and in society for the past few years and the Short King idea tapped into that in big way. No pun intended.

The idea of a Short King, as Young-White put it, was not just someone lacking in stature, though that is a requirement, but also one who owns their height and approaches the world with confidence nevertheless. The aim, as The Guardian put it at the time, was to “flourish in the face of conventional male beauty standards.”

I don’t think anyone, for a moment, is suggesting that short men are among the most persecuted in society, but I can confirm from experience that attitudes towards short men remain anywhere from dismissive to somewhat demeaning. You only have to look at the number of online dating accounts which tell a man not to bother if he is less than 6ft to see what I am talking about.

But all that is changing, apparently. Now Young-White’s Short King season has been seized by TikTok’s community to create Short King Spring, the response (or precursor) to Hot Girl Summer.

This is primarily driven by those high-profile short men who are leading the way in the ideals of the Short King. Chief among these are high profile stars such as messers Tom Holland or Joe Jonas who not only own their height, but have taken on that most unthinkable of public taboos – dating someone taller than them.

See also the likes of Kit Harrington, who admitted he let taller cast members ruffle his hair on the set of Game of Thrones. The key thing is owning your size and not going to ridiculous lengths to hide it – see Cruise, Tom.

The truth is that the world is full of Short Kings: If you draw the line at 5’8”, as most lists seem to, you get such icons and stars as Stanley Tucci, James McAvoy, the aforementioned Mr Jonas, Robert Downey Jr and Ed Sheeran. If you take it lower to the 5’6” or 5’5” threshold you find yourself with Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars, Daniel Radcliffe, Jamie Cullum and Josh Hutcherson.

So, Short Kings of the world, our time has come. Carpe Diem. Seize the moment. And let’s hope no one has put it on the top shelf.

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