Perhaps it’s being short of stature that leads to a sensitive radar on my part to terms that are used at the expense of people who are lacking in height.

When I hear the word shorty in hip hop songs, it’s usually used with regard to the male singer’s girlfriend or women in general. Yes, as a woman she’s typically shorter than her typically taller male counterpart, so is that a simple observation of height difference among the genders, or is it a term of control and marginalisation on the part of a certain group of society not known for its sense of equal rights?

I’ve no idea. There are plenty of women who are way taller than many men. I guess you have to ask the woman being called shorty, how she feels. I’ve been called ‘half pint’ or such terms before and while I’m sure in some cases the intent was to bully or intimidate I’m not in the least cowed by it. It is what it is. I’m shorter than the average adult male, whatever average is.

Incidentally, it transpires – clicking on the following link will take you a gif you may not want your grandma or 7-year-old to see – that in Hip Hop the term shorty has more meanings than girlfriend. It can also refer to a girl, boy or other kinds of ingenue. Smaller, more vulnerable people in other words.

Just sayin’.

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