‘Bootgate’ is bigger than DeSantis — there’s real bias against shorter people

Is Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis a victim of height discrimination?

That might be the real question worth asking in light of the current social media-fueled debate over whether DeSantis is boosting his height by wearing boots with heel lifts. The issue has been dubbed “bootgate,” which was trending on X.com (formerly known as Twitter) on Halloween, and has been the subject of much speculation online.

But underlying the guesses and gossip is the very real matter of how one’s height affects their ability to get hired, or the salary that they can earn. It’s an issue that has been studied in-depth. A 2020 report in the journal PLOS One looked at data from thousands of Chinese adults, and found that “one additional in height is associated with a 1.30% increase in annual salary income.” Or as the Salon website noted, that means “a 5’6″ person making $50,000 every year would earn an additional $2,000 for each extra inch of height.” headtopics.com

Other studies have shown that being taller increases the chances for promotion at work, or positively influences perceptions of leadership capabilities. In other words, short individuals are often penalized for something beyond their control. But the issue of “heightism,” as some call this form of bias, is a complex one, because people may not even realize they’re discriminating against these individuals.

“Heightism is an implicit bias, one we may subconsciously harbor or, indeed, internalize, without realizing it,” wrote Aysha Imtiaz in a story for the BBC website. Of course, DeSantis already has a job as Florida governor, and he previously represented the state as a U.S. congressman. But now he’s vying for president — and history suggests that taller candidates are favored in the race to be leader of the free world.Not that Ron DeSantis might even be considered short. A Politico report said he stands at 5 feet 11 inches tall, based on information from Yale, his alma mater. headtopics.com

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