(Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
In four months, we’ve had three different prime ministers: Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and now, Rishi Sunak.
On October 25, the multi-millionaire officially took the top job, becoming the first UK prime minister of Asian descent and the youngest one too.
Nearly all of us have strong opinions about the government, but the public awaits to see how the latest leader of the Conservative Party will lead the country. His policies aren’t the only thing people are discussing though, the public have another obsession regarding Rishi: his height.
The new prime minister is 1.7m, which means that he’s 5ft 7 – and people have strong feelings about this. The average height for men in the UK is 5ft 10, a fact which has made the PM’s height the talk of the town.
Some people are mocking his height
— Ragged Trousered Philanderer (@RaggedTP) October 24, 2022
Oh wow, I knew Rishi Sunak was short, but I had no idea just how… pic.twitter.com/Rl4FLU8Ujy
— Heath (@LeastHesFunny_) October 25, 2022
today i discovered that rishi sunak is in fact short and i’m crying WHY DID I THINK HE WAS TALL pic.twitter.com/RX2dpVhDq3
— juliet (@huibane_) October 26, 2022
rishi sunak being short is more shocking to me than him being prime minister
— kokomelon (@kokokulsum) October 25, 2022
Fun thing about knowing Rishi Sunak's 5'6" is that it allows you to benchmark the height of everyone he meets against him https://t.co/BS59vBItpU
— Jack Bailey (@PoliSciJack) October 25, 2022
Others think the discussions around his height are unfair and mean
Why do people think it ok to comment on Rishi Sunak’s height? Heightism to mock and undermine. I know how hurtful this can be -my son was bullied relentlessly at school - just for being small.
— Leala Padmanabhan (@lealapad) October 25, 2022
Mocking Rishi Sunak for his height seems so…puerile. Go after people for things they can change like their stinking policies, but once you go personal you’re opening the gates for the racists to take over with much worse.
— Monisha Rajesh (@monisha_rajesh) October 25, 2022
There are a lot of things to make fun of Rishi Sunak for.
His height is not one of them, given that it's completely unconnected to his politics or his morals, which are a choice.
And yes, I'm side-eyeing anyone who's mocking him for being "short".
— Scarlett Parrish (@ScarredParrot) October 25, 2022
Rishi Sunak won't see your short jokes but your male friends who have been taught by society to be insecure and ashamed of their height from a young age will (unironically)
— Becki (@Becki_Holmes_) October 24, 2022
But some of the ‘short kings’ are celebrating
Cannot understate the significance of Rishi Sunak becoming Prime Minister to the short king community
— Alexander Brown (@AlexofBrown) October 24, 2022
Congratulations to the short king community today for their epic win (Rishi Sunak next UK prime minister)
— shaggy (@shaggyfire101) October 24, 2022
Full support to Rishi Sunak, we need more representation of short kings out there.
— Vi (@altyiran) October 24, 2022
Jokes about men’s height aren’t new, but they’re getting old. If you know it’s wrong to comment on women’s appearances, the same grace should be applied to men.
Men are more than just their height, but unfortunately, people do take the height of men into consideration.
A study conducted by the researchers at the University of St Andrews in Scotland found a link between height and the perception of masculinity. Whilst another 2005 study stated that men who said they were 6’3” or 6’4” got about 60% more messages on dating sites than men who were 5’7” or 5’8.
But the tide is slowly changing for short men. The term ‘short king’ increased during awards season when celebrity couples like Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas and Spider-Man’s Tom Holland and Zendaya took to the red carpet. Though both women are taller than their partners, they clearly couldn’t care less about height.
So the next time you want to critique Rishi Sunak, make sure it’s about his policies, not his height.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.