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  • Writer's pictureBeccy Fox

He's Your Husband?

Several years ago I was given a lovely book called Stanley Paste. It is a children’s picture book by Aaron Blabey that challenges a stereotype that is rarely talked about: that, in heterosexual couples, the man should be taller than the woman. Stanley is a short boy who wishes he was taller and he meets Eleanor Cabbage, the “tallest person he had ever seen”. Eleanor wishes she was shorter and can empathise with Stanley, and they become great friends. It is a lovely tale about celebrating differences, empathy and being caring. It is particularly poignant for me, because in this story I am Eleanor and my husband is Stanley. In stockinged feet, I am almost a foot taller than my husband.

At the beginning of the academic year, I have an introduction session with new staff. In this, the first thing I always do is share my story and include in that one of my favourite photographs of our wedding: my husband standing on a beer crate to give me a kiss. The photo is full of happiness and laughter and always gets a good laugh with the new teachers: a laugh of fondness and joy. It is a super ice breaker with a new team and really gives them a good snapshot of who I am.

This year, I am joining a new school in a new country, so we will be introducing ourselves to a lot of new people. Without doubt we will prompt a reaction. I know we are a “different looking” couple. I know we challenge stereotypes. Not only is he much shorter than me, he is Indonesian and so we are a different colour. We have been together for so long we sometimes forget how funny we look as a family. People do sometimes stare. We notice people trying to work out the relationship. Luckily we are both confident people, we are a very happy family and so the attention really doesn’t bother us, in fact we often enjoy it.

We are bringing up our son to know that we are a bit different, to celebrate that difference, but to also understand that some people may pass comment, and how to handle that with empathy and good humour. Hopefully in our small way we are chipping away at the sexist height stereotype that still holds strong.


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