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As A Very Short Person How Can I Appear Stronger And Tougher?

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bluefortress | 16:20 Fri 26th May 2023 | Body & Soul
7 Answers
I hate the fact that people won’t think twice about saying or doing as they wish to me because of my size. I am female, small framed and only 5ft in height. People often say I am ‘tiny’, I have been called a midget. I used to work in a mental health/forensic service for some time and on a breakaway training course the facilitator asked who, out of the group, would they choose to attack and why. Almost everyone pointed at me and said because so am smaller, weaker etc.

I find it difficult to accept and when a I find myself in any type of conflict I always think that the person wouldn’t have said that to me had I been bigger. It secretly angers me a lot.

The thing is during exercise/at sports clubs etc people are often surprised at my upper body strength, with a bit of training I can do 14 pull ups and climb a rope with just hands/ without using my feet. I think I am more broad shouldered than a lot of women but for some reason they still see me as weak due to my height.

I often wonder, without looking too ‘unfeminine’ is there anyway I can look a bit stronger to people? For example with a bit more strength training/body building, or will seeing some definition not really change people’s perception?

I remember being a young teenager and was always proud of being physical fit and strong but as I didn’t grow as big as everyone else I have lost that identity


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Hold your head up high, and try to look confident.
I'm not sure that strength would really endear you to anyone, and when you are still 5ft and elderly, (as I am) people are great towards you, especially reaching things off the shelves in supermarkets.
Forget about concentrating on your physical attributes and concentrate instead on your mental attributes.

Good advice from Barsel:
//// Hold your head up high, and try to look confident. ////

Try to look people in the eye and maybe speak a little louder, so as not to come across as meek and timid.
A friend of mine is 72 years old, small and looks a pushover. She is also a Black Belt Karate instructor working on some even higher qualifications. She doesn't make an effort to look a bit stronger (she looks old and a bit overweight) because she has inner knowledge of her capabilities.
Somehow people seem to know she isn't feeble - I pity any yob who took a swing at her or tried to steal her bag.
How about learning something like Kung Fu?
Question Author
Thanks Joirdain, that is cool re your friend and learning a martial art is a good idea (as a teenager I did a bit of karate got to orange belt then I started to get bored at the sessions. I am thinking of getting back into it.

See my desire to look stronger is not just an idea generated by be to show off. It is due to other peoples words - before I applied to work in mental health peopel told me to wear a big blazer for the interview so that I looked like I could hold my own.

My manager advised me not to walk down a path on my own at lunch time as I was ‘only small’. I felt annoyed and told her that I was strong she said ‘yes but they don’t know that’.

I just hate that people think I am weak. As you said I should learn a martial art again I will have a look for some classes on Monday I think.

I tried to take up karate many decades ago. Gave up as one couldn't really trade blows with spectacles on, and just became a punchbag unable to distinguish a feint fron a blow without them.

Best advice, speak softly, carry a big stick, and look 'em straight in the kneecap ;-)
Question Author
Old geezer - Im sure I remember people wearing glasses in karate sessions. That being said I remember the sessions I went to being very slow motion there wasn’t much sparring/fighting. I think you should get back into it

It's understandable that you may feel frustrated or dissatisfied with your stature.

Without exception, everyone has their own unique challenges and insecurities. It's important to be kind to yourself and focus on the qualities that make you a remarkable individual, irrespective of your physical stature.

I would urge against 'looking tough'. This could be misinterpreted as aggression, arrogance, or a lack of empathy. This can create barriers to effective communication and understanding, potentially leading to conflicts or misunderstandings.

It is how you present yourself when communicating with other individuals and the way you act in certain situations. That is the key.

Hope this helps :-)

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