@MadMinnie Oh, if you want to go around messing with people’s heads, you’ll for sure be able to lol. The goal is for you and these people to end up needing each other, but that doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it. You can be nice, of course, but you can also be manipulative and mean if you want, or just mess with people for the lols.
Besides, MC’s death wasn’t exactly peaceful or natural – regardless of the MC’s personality pre-death, not giving the option to be a more mean/angry spirit wouldn’t really seem fair, you know?
I’m not talking average statistics, I’m talking about average as in personal, lived experiences.
The girls are 5’5”, 5’7”, 5’10” and 6’. The guys are 6’2”, 6’3”, 6’4” and 6’6”.
I’m a woman and I’m around 6’2", I’m considered tall in my country but not to the point that anyone living here stops and stares because it’s so unusual. I did have some Chinese tourists taking pictures of me and my friends like we were circus animals though… that was fun.
I see plenty of women in my day to day life who are around my height, some shorter, and yes, some taller too. Especially in younger generations. For men it’s a similar deal. My current class in college has the shortest girl standing at 5’6"-5’7" while the shortest guy is 5’9". And he complains about feeling short.
So no, those heights didn’t strike me as unusual because I’m surrounded by people of similar heights every day. I’ll admit 6’6" is pretty tall, but still not to the point that it’s ridiculously rare.
I do wonder how necessary this bit of your post really was though. I mean I wouldn’t have said what I initially said if it wasn’t true for me, so you could guess that I at least know people around those heights. Was it really necessary to refer to them (and me) as basically freaks of nature giants who have an unnatural height? Trust me, opinions may vary of course, but I don’t know anyone who would find such remarks any more flattering than short people find the word midget.
I doubt you were intentionally trying to imply that, so no hard feelings if that’s the case, but it’s not a nice thing to be told.
Fair enough I mainly wanted to check in case it was unintentional. When creating your own ethnicities, you certainly can set the averages wherever you want, and the group is small enough it doesn’t have to be perfectly representative, either. It would be interesting to see this by contrast with other groups in your world, too!
I’d note it is still a fairly high gap between average male and female height in your examples, but again, we wouldn’t exactly expect a perfect bell curve from such a small number of people anyway
I was mainly bringing it up because it does seem like fantasy often exaggerates heights to a point where I guess I feel almost left out? I just feel like I would be so tiny while I’m used to being, well, if it’s a group of both men and women, kind of in the middle. But if this is specifically a group that’s supposed to be on the tall side, I don’t mind, as long as that’s noted.
(People do also often report their height just slightly taller than it is—I remember reading an article about statistical tendencies for this on dating profiles—so I also wonder if this skews perceptions of what the averages really are.)
I guess I could make it a bit of a complaint not about this example, as I was saying above, because having it so Iorians are a tall group of people is totally valid, but when it comes to a bunch of stories in aggregate, it can feel like tallness is shown as more desirable, like being short or even average doesn’t even belong
It also doesn’t help when there’s so many media portrayals where short characters are portrayed as inherently laughable, like in Shrek where the message seems to be “you’re okay no matter what you look like unless you’re short in which case HA HA HA” or the more recent adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, in which Mr. Collins seems to be so objectionable because he’s short, rather than because of being such an unctuous person with an odious personality as seen in the miniseries adaptation
This is a bit of a tangent, but really, where are all the smaller sized dashing princes and rough-hewn warriors?
Were those lists just by country? That would miss a lot of variation.
I was trying to find the average height of the Maasai, but different sites disagree with each other and I can’t find anything reliable wikipedia claims 6’3" but that’s tagged with “citation needed,” and I saw 6’ elsewhere
I have to say, that’s reading his comment in an uncharitable light It’s in reference to averages, not saying that there’s anything odd about any individuals having those heights, and certainly not calling people freaks. He is just corroborating what I brought up about how it’s not the statistical average—which is different from personal averages, because random samples are never going to be perfectly representative (unless you know poll-level numbers of people, I guess). And saying that fantasy does let you choose averages yourself, one of the perks of worldbuilding, with the note about dragons being a standard way of expressing the freedom of fantasy, with a “” noting some whimsy.
And it is worth saying that fantasy stories have a habit of depicting unrealistically high average heights; that’s why I had that whole spiel earlier. And saying that it’s fine to portray this group that way was an important part of the post too.
I guess you were seeing it as talking about “people around those heights” but it’s all about “the average height,” so I really don’t think you’re talking about the same things at all
The lack of variety in heights has the same issues as a lack of variety in race, ethnicity, personality, sexuality, hobbies, profession, or any other aspect of their character that might come up: it’s leaving a whole heap of people uncatered to!
It’s not that an RO that conforms to traditionally masculine ideals of towering height and imposing physique is necessarily a bad thing, but if practically every single one of them is like that…
Mystery! Very Sherlock Holmes-y, reminds me of ‘The Hounds of the Baskervilles’ and such. Possible supernatural elements, deaths, disappearances. Rose Red sounds like a name of a village/small town to me, where said phenomena occur.
@Hazel , it makes me think of Snow White’s Rose Red being pissed off about something and casting a curse of someone out of spite. Sorry, just the first thing that came to mind.
I agree with basically all of what you said (and what @will said too). We need more positive focus on short characters. It always annoys me to no end when shortness is pretty much a laughing stock, as you said using Shrek as an example.
I mean… You don’t control height. Being tall isn’t something impressive that you had to work for to accomplish. Being short isn’t some sort of failing. Both are just genetics, for the most part. Big whoop. But heaven forbid if we don’t try and make some group feel bad about themselves for once.
With regards to the following:
Look, I get that there’s probably no ill intent at play here and I acknowledged that in my last post. I said that in that case there are no hard feelings, and I mean that. I don’t assume that about you or anyone else either, everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt. So please keep that in mind while reading the rest of my post (I mean, assuming you do )
Which I’m hiding because it got long and I will spare people the off topic talk if they want to avoid it.
Also, fair warning if anyone’s sensitive to this: I mention some not so nice words about heavy set people and short people to demonstrate a point.
The way you word certain things can definitely come across as more rude than you intended, and personally, I think it’s useful when people tell you as much because it’s the only way to learn about other people’s experiences. Especially because there are so many writers here, learning about what makes people tick seems really useful information to have.
I can appreciate you sticking up for someone you feel was wronged, I really can, but your argument seems a bit flawed. “It’s about averages, not individuals,” but without individuals, there are no averages. That average is made up 100% by the individuals in the country. The number didn’t just pop up out of thin air, it’s based on people. Indirectly, you’re still talking about individuals. And fiction and reality aren’t so far apart that you can say something about a fictional race without also implying something about the real people who are like them. Let me just give you some examples.
If you called a relatively short race a race of midgets, imagine how someone shorter than the shortest character would feel.
If you called a heavier set race of humans Hutts, imagine how someone around that weight or heavier would feel.
I could go on, but honestly, I don’t want to because even typing them up as examples makes me feel bad towards those people. But surely most people are sensitive enough to these groups that they recognize the words used above as rude and unnecessary.
Now ask yourself whether adding a whimsical smiley after calling people who are lighter or around the weight of that heavier set person a race of Hutts would take away that sting. And ask yourself whether it would make that short person feel better if you told them that, technically, you weren’t calling them a midget, you were calling the race consisting of people taller than them midgets.
With all due respect, you and I probably aren’t talking about the same thing here either. I don’t mind people talking about statistic averages. I clarified what I meant when I used the word average and explained why it was like that to me. But it doesn’t offend me in the slightest when someone says “That’s not an average height,” or “This race sounds really tall,” or even “I’ve never seen a woman over 6’,” because sure. All those things could be true to you.
The only qualm I had with his post was the choice to refer to people as giants with unnatural heights. I questioned whether that choice of wording was really necessary. He made his point perfectly fine with those statistics, he could’ve easily referred to this race as just really tall, and said people tend to make characters tall in a way most people won’t relate to.
There’s a big difference between saying super tall and unnaturally or unrealistically tall. I mean yeah, I am very tall, but I’m pretty sure I’m real and my parents didn’t slip me any growth enhancers as a child… in fact, my doctor at the time suggested they give their 6 year old child untested growth blockers that mess with her biology because “Well, we aren’t sure how she’s going to come out of this “treatment” but we predict that without it she’s going to be quite a bit taller than the average girl (at the time the predicted average was probably 5’5”?) and you wouldn’t want a giant for a daughter, would you mom and dad? Hopefully we won’t damage her too much in the long run with this untested drug but I’m certainly willing to make that gamble in order to make her meet the average standard!”
And now you hopefully get why those comments weren’t nice to hear for me and others like me. This was on top of being photographed without my permission by tourists, and talking to people online from overseas who gave unsolicited comments how undateable I was because they’d feel like walking next to a giant. Thank God my mom laughed in that doctor’s face for suggesting she put her child up as a guinea pig over something as ridiculous as height, because as it turns out, girls who were put on those drugs are basically infertile now due to their sex organs maturing too rapidly, and boys have increased chances of developing bone or heart diseases due to messing with their hormones. And that’s just the side effects they now know about. All in an effort to not have an unnatural giant as a child but a more average one. Which, joke’s on them because looking around on a given day shows they clearly failed.
I will state again that I don’t think he (or you) had bad intentions with the things you said. I even get why midget feels meaner than giant to most people because on average short people probably get mocked over their height more than tall people. That doesn’t mean tall people don’t have their own not so happy experiences though. So with that in mind, again, is it really necessary to say those things?
Ending this here because I sincerely hope you get where I’m coming from better now. And once again, no hard feelings. I’m just trying to explain where I’m coming from with this.
I hope I’m not tooting my own horn or anything, but if people are still talking about my heights I can change them if that’s what people want… unless people aren’t talking about it still, then I guess you can ignore me. I didn’t mean to make people agitated by the heights that I imagined for these characters, I’m sorry if I made anyone feel negatively about them…
I’m sorry everyone. (Unless again you’re not talking about it still, and I’m just misreading this entire conversation. If so then you can ignore me.)
Makes me think of “Snow White and Rose Red,” and assume that there is a curse involved.
Okay, I think I read your post a bit uncharitably myself I get a bit defensive and I read it as insinuating more than it was
(He and I did talk about this, though, and I can definitely say there’s no ill intent at all! )
I think it complicates things a bit that “giant” and “dwarf” are both standard terms for fantasy races, which is a bit odd when you really think about it Given that those have such different meanings when applied to real people than in a magic setting they are… maybe not actually the best terms after all
I would suggest that averages can still have a different connotation, and that that was his context. Like one could say that it’d be unnatural if a fantasy race had an average lifespan of 120, without suggesting that people who live to 120 are unnatural. Or “it’s unrealistic that all your characters have green eyes” doesn’t mean it’s unrealistic to have green eyes. So, I do see where your reaction is coming from, and I can see that the wordings have unfortunate associations for you, I just want to note where that was coming from as well
I am definitely sorry about your negative experiences as well
Also he and I tease each other about our heights a bit sometimes, so that’s a thing
No! Don’t worry about it! I really just asked originally to make sure you were aware of it in the first place. Your explanation that it has to do with a specific group of people in your setting makes sense, and having other groups around who have different average heights makes it so you’re not just acting like shorter people don’t exist Having all your ROs belong to this specific group is fine if it works for the story. I feel satisfied by what you’ve said. The original inquiry was before I knew about that!
The stuff since then was more just feelings about fantasy that eliminates or renders short characters into laughing stocks
You’re making a bit of an assumption here ParrotWatcher is on the tall side himself (unless he went to Scandinavia or the Netherlands or among the Dinka or Maasai, I suppose). Pretty sure I’m the shorter person of the conversation
I don’t know if there’s a height choice for the main character, I’d expect choosing to be short to mean that more characters would be taller than me, and choosing to be tall would mean that more characters would be shorter than me
I was actually thinking more along the lines of the MC’s Chacter sets the average height (just among the ROs mind you). That way the Character can be around the same height as the reader, and all the ROs range in height relative to that. Though, I like how you interpreted my suggestion better.
As for my assumption, his comment sounded like height envy to me. Maybe I was just reading into it though as the oldest and shortest of three brothers at 5’-11". (Short is such a relative thing.)
It’s all good. We’re all human, and I get feeling defensive. (I really get it ) You guys sound like friends so I’d say it’s actually a good thing to be defensive over your friends.
As for your (his?) explanation, that’s fair enough. I’ll admit I didn’t really think about it like that, but it does sound like a reasonable explanation. I do have negative experiences with those wordings and I was having a pretty bad day when I read it, so I guess it just instantly sounded negative to me and made me feel a bit defensive too. Guess we have that in common. My friends tease me too, but I guess it’s different because I actually know them and their intentions whereas this was my first time seeing ParrotWatcher and I had no idea who he was or what to expect from him. (You can come back and chat here if you want by the way, @ParrotWatcher, it really is all good and I promise not to bite your head off. You also obviously don’t know me enough to know where this would go, so I do apologize if I scared you off…)
Let’s all just move on and focus on nicer things. We’ve all cleared up our intentions, and I feel a little bad for making @Eleana worry about her story. It really wasn’t about that for the record, as @Dartknight said, people just have miscommunication and end up arguing sometimes. Definitely not your fault. The comments about relatively short characters being treated as laughing stock too often wasn’t about your story either.
Finally, I do like both of those ideas!
I’d just want to scare people a little. Making doors creak ominously, blowing out candles, that sort of thing. If I get to do those things every once in a while, I’d be perfectly content being cooperative the rest of the time really.
I do too, especially as it was my comment that spawned this … @Eleana, your idea sounds great, don’t worry!
Yeah, agreed! Getting options that are mischievous but not too violent or mean would be fun there’s a whole range. Especially if you can choose whom you want to mess with while being cooperative with others. I suppose there could be a risk of a character eventually thinking “oh, it’s just that prankster ghost again ” but it turns out to actually be another more dangerous entity…