If you look at the couples around you, you find that most men are taller than their women.
This isn’t just a coincidence, nor it is it as simple as taller is better, although the research does show some preference for taller men.
In line with this idea that height is an indicator of good evolutionary success, researchers found that taller men were more likely to have at least one biological child compared to shorter men (Pawlowski, Dunbar, & Lipowicz, 2000).
Culture also plays a big part in what we like and what is valued in society.
This was a far smaller percentage than expected by chance, showing that there is some selective preference for taller men.
It is also noted that height is a “masculine” characteristic.
What’s interesting is how women use height in gauging their attraction for men.
It turns out that height, like many other factors, depends on the individual – their own physical characteristics and what they’re looking for in a mate. Let’s first start with the tendency for women to prefer taller men since this idea is a common expectation.
In evolutionary terms, a larger man may have been able to provide more protection to their offspring, have greater genetic qualities to pass on to their future children, and thus may be awarded with greater social status.
Women may learn to value men who are rewarded in society.
For example, taller men may be seen as more powerful and attractive, so women who are with taller men benefit by attaining a higher social status.
In addition, if height signals physical dominance, it is likely that taller men make women feel smaller, protected, and perhaps more “feminine” as well.
With men being taller on average compared to women, you might expect that most women would end up with taller men just by chance.
However, researchers found that of the 720 couples in their study, only one was comprised of a taller woman and a shorter man (Gillis & Avis, 1980).