Size Matters, Peg TIttle
What if women were the taller sex? I suggest that this would make a difference in the power relationship between men and women. Ask any short man.
This short film is a five‑minute (approximately) collage of scenes from ordinary life. That is, ordinary life reversed ‑ one in which women are taller than men.
So every woman in the film must be taller than every man, except where specified; on average, the men should be 5’4″ and the women 5’10”. (Tap into women’s basketball and volleyball teams and men’s figure skating clubs and dance companies for extras.)
This is a silent film, though clearly dialogue is going on.
It is of utmost importance that the actors’ carriage not undermine the height difference. It should be mandatory for all actors to take a cross‑gender acting workshop.
For that reason, a woman should be director. Most women, more than most men, tend to be more aware of the nuances of body language that mark dominance and subordination. A woman director would thus be more apt to ask the actors to make the necessary corrections.
- The halls, classroom, and grounds of an elementary school: all the teachers are male; the principal is female; students are shown mostly in all‑girl and all‑boy groupings; when the group is mixed, boys and girls are the same height; all are engaged in gender‑neutral activities (I know that young girls play house and young boys fight, but showing this would confuse the point; young girls and boys also sit at their desks, stand around talking, walk down the hall, chase each other, etc.)
- A cafe: all the staff waiting on customers are male, as is the cashier.
- At home, in the kitchen: as she’s on the phone with an important call, she absently reaches to get something out of a high cupboard for a child, then does the same for him (he could’ve reached, but it’d be a stretch ‑ it’s just an easy reach for her, no big deal.
- At the office, in the lobby: a cluster of women executives walk in on their way to their offices; they nod or ignore male subordinates at reception.
- A dinner date: a man and a women are finishing dinner and the cheque is presented to her.
- Hospital admissions area: the nursing and clerical staff are male; the doctor walking past is female.
- The halls, classroom, and grounds of a high school: all the teachers are male; the principal is female; students are shown in situations somewhat similar to the elementary school scene, but now the girls are taller than the boys.
- A male‑female couple walking down the sidewalk: she takes longer strides than he does, so he has to walk more quickly; in fact, he has to half‑run to keep up, like a child (and perhaps he hobbles on platform shoes); the way they hold hands, she seems to be leading him, and is always just a tad ahead of him.
- At home, at dinner time: she and the older, taller daughter are at the table; the younger, shorter son enters from the kitchen carrying something, followed by the husband carrying something (nothing special, it’s just routine dinner time).
- Crowd scenes: these are sprinkled throughout the rest of the film, but it is imperative that they not begin about half way through so the viewers see the effect first (power relationship reversals) and only later the cause (only in the crowd scenes does it become really clear that women are taller than men in this world).
- At the office: a woman in her own office is engaged in serious business as a male secretary slips in with a message and a cup of coffee for her.
- Various offices at a university: most of the faculty are women (shown in classrooms or in their private offices); most of the admin and support staff are male (shown at desks in a more public area).
- A male‑female couple dancing: she leads.
- Hospital operating room: the surgeon and anaesthetist are women; the nurses are men.
- At home, in the living room: she’s in the larger of two chairs, reading the paper; she lifts her feet up off the footstool so he can run a vacuum cleaner between the chair and footstool.
- A male‑female couple posing for a picture: her arm is around his shoulders.
- A courtroom: the judge is a woman; the clerk is a man.
- At the office, in a meeting room (all of the women must be taller even when seated): the seven or eight women present are talking and deciding; the one or two men present sit silent, taking notes; a man half raises his hand for permission to speak, but is unacknowledged; a man reaches over to fill a woman’s water glass before filling his own, not because he was asked to do so but just as a matter of routine (the subordinate attends to the superordinate’s needs).
- A male‑female couple approaches a car; the woman gets into the driver’s seat; the man gets into the passenger seat.
- Election campaign shots: all candidates are women; the men are in the background and clearly aides.