September 19, 2018

Does having a large head make you look short?

I'm thinking of this question a propos of Stormy Daniels's discussion of Donald Trump (blogged here). I've never thought about this question before, even though I have a large head, which I've only ever thought of as a problem when shopping for hats...



... which is the main point of that video. But I'm seeing some discussion from body-builders who worry about the distortion of perception from a large head: Your body will be perceived as smaller.

And here's a woman angsting over the opposite problem (in Elle, a fashion magazine):
I'm convinced that [my head is] too small for my body, and only if I'm at an impossible-to-maintain weight (for me that would be 123 pounds for my 5'7" height) do I look balanced....
Hmm. There's a benefit to having a large head. You can weigh more. (Also factor in the added weight of the head itself!)
Actors are known to have large heads, which are thought to translate better to the screen, and the actress as determiner of beauty ideals has never been stronger....

"Hmm," [says casting director Meredith Tucker], "I saw Carey Mulligan in The Seagull on Broadway and thought, Here's this amazing actress, but she'll never make it on screen; her head is too small. Then she did. So I think it's a myth." She pulls away from the receiver to consult her associate. "Yes!" she hollers. "It is true." I hear the words "Philip Seymour Hoffman" in the distance....
Actors are big heads on the screen, and it doesn't seem to matter too much if they are short. Maybe it's preferable for them to be short. And once you get some shortish, big-headed actors in the movies, you don't want to bring in actors who will distract viewers into thinking about head size.
[T]he head, the female head in particular, it turns out, is a locus of much social meaning. Stanford professor Londa Schiebinger... tells me that... [c]apacious skulls were viewed as a sign of greater intelligence and thus the ability to reason. Women, who have smaller skulls than men on average, were said to have limited reasoning capacity, a belief presented during the suffrage era as an argument against our getting to vote. The theory hit an impasse when data grew and it became evident that women have proportionately larger skulls than men. But science in the service of the patriarchy found a way out. "Who else has proportionately larger heads?" Schiebinger asks. "Children! So this became a way of labeling women as more childish than men, rather than smarter."

One could argue that figures such as Betty Boop were a particularly reassuring sex symbol. As unchallenging and loving as babies. Have I not always coveted a bouffant, or at least more hair, because it inflates the head and helps achieve the sexy baby effect?....
The sexy baby effect... That doesn't sound right.

44 comments:

Earnest Prole said...

To the contrary, being short makes you look like you have a huge head.

Tommy Duncan said...

Meanwhile there is an "active shooter" up the road from Ann in Middleton.

Curious George said...

A long cock can also make you seem short.

Achilles said...

Do DOJ employees who use DOJ resources to look for targets of angry leftist mobs have huge heads?

Again they don't think they can be fired.

I bet she gets fired. Because her head is big of course.

Skippy Tisdale said...

"The sexy baby effect... That doesn't sound right."

Don't knock it. All you need is duct tape to keep them from exploding.

rehajm said...

Giada de Laurentiis has a big melon.

tcrosse said...

Does this head make my ass look fat?

rehajm said...

Well that's a huuuge noggin'

Curious George said...

"rehajm said...
Giada de Laurentiis has a big melon."

Two, actually.

Rob said...

Former actress Nancy Reagan had a melon practically the size of her torso. I don’t know how she managed to hold that thing up.

Curious George said...

Merv Griffin hired Vanna White and Pat Sajak for WOF because they had big heads.

rehajm said...

Two, actually.

Only two posts before somebody cranked that hanging curve! Well done....

Yancey Ward said...

I heard yesterday that Trump has a huge head, and it apparently makes him look short.

Bruce Hayden said...

One problem with a big head (7 3/4 hats, 7 7/8 helmets, plus a long Welsh length) is that it tends to require a large neck. For me, that meant 17 1/2 inch or so neck. Even 18 at one point, though I am now down to 17, as I near 70. With a long torso, I have relatively shorter limbs, which made buying non-custom made dress shirts problematic. My problem, now, with dress shirts, is that I have enough of them that I will probably never need to buy another one in my lifetime, and in several years will likely look like one of those older men whose collars are noticeably too large for their necks (the opposite of the situation you see with young men, in maybe their early 20s).

Fernandistein said...

That doesn't sound right.

Because it's not right.

Males have larger brains than females, even when corrected for body size, and brain size is positively correlated with intelligence.

"This leads to the expectation that males should have higher average levels of intelligence than females. Yet the consensus view is that there is no sex difference in general intelligence.

An examination of the literature shows that the consensus view is wrong. Among adults, males have slightly higher verbal and reasoning abilities than females and a more pronounced superiority on spatial abilities. If the three abilities are combined to form general intelligence, the mean for males is 4 IQ points higher than the mean for females. Among children up to the age of around 14 yr the sex differences are smaller because girls mature earlier than boys. The evolutionary selection pressures responsible for greater intelligence in males are discussed."

Michael K said...

who worry about the distortion of perception from a large head:

They need that genie who was rescued by the lifeguard from the bottle washed up on the beach.

She was so grateful, she told him she would grant his wish, no matter what it was.

He said, "How about a little head ?"

John Burger said...

This is an hysterical post. I have been chuckling about it all morning long. Thanks. I needed a good laugh.

jvb

PM said...

When you see movie stars in public, the majority seem to have larger-than-normal heads.
Either their heads are actually large or seeing them off-screen is a visual trick similar to the size of the moon on the horizon.

walter said...

Most women have small ears....

Char Char Binks said...

You're just a woman with a small brain. With a brain a third the size of us. It's science.

Earnest Prole said...

Giada de Laurentiis has a big melon.

Giada de Laurentiis has a normal head on a teeny-tiny body. It's a feature many stars, both male and female, share: their heads are larger in proportion to their own bodies, but no larger than anyone else's. Go back and look at some of the stars of old and you'll see the width of the head is nearly the same as the width of the chest. It's a feature that seems freakish in person, but it works on screen.

n.n said...

Small ears make you look tall.

A long nose makes you look short.

mccullough said...

Barry Bonds hat/helmet size grew two sizes after he started taking steroids in 1998.

Given Bonds career through 1998 season, he’s a top three player of all time.

With the bigger head he was the greatest hitter ever. Put up numbers that were greater than video game Babe Ruth.

Webgrandma said...

Big heads run in our family and my little grandson has such a big head that he used to start crying the moment it was time to get his shirt changed as he knew it was going to hurt to pull the shirt over his head. I distinctly remember getting shirts stuck trying to pull them off over my head as a kid. Now, it's just a matter of trying to find hats that fit (not so great with ladies' hats, I'll tell you that). There's supposed to be some correlation between IQ and head size but Mr. Webgrandma would then be much higher in the IQ department than me, and that just doesn't work out.

Barry Dauphin said...

On Seinfeld, Elaine was accused of having a bid head. The cab driver couldn't see out of the rearview mirror because her head was so big.

n.n said...

A fat wallet is known to improve height perception.

MayBee said...

Merv Griffin said people with big heads film better. That's why he liked Vanna White-- she has a big head like Marilyn Monroe.

Josh Brolin has an enormous head. After I saw him in person, I could never look at him as handsome again, even though I used to see him as such.
Cameron Diaz also has a really big head. She looks kind of cartoonish.

Char Char Binks said...

I'd heard that actors had big heads, but I assumed that was figurative.

mikee said...

Vanna White of Wheel of Fortune supposedly was hired because she had a large, large head, according to Merv Griffin. https://books.google.com/books?id=-7G83_SBxRkC&pg=PA102&lpg=PA102&dq=vanna+white+hired+because+of+smile&source=bl&ots=cJV5a_oR8f&sig=3WxUJgEZ4LNTa5vzoMKl2_g31ZA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjQivWb2sfdAhUKQK0KHSwIBQsQ6AEwH3oECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=vanna%20white%20hired%20because%20of%20smile&f=false

CJinPA said...

I remember Merv Griffin said he knew Vanna White would be great for Wheel of Fortune because you want on-screen people to have a big head. After all these years I can finally unburden myself of that information.

CJinPA said...

mikee said...

How the hell did we come up with the same memory at the same time?

JMW Turner said...

Check out Humphrey Bogart's oversized melon in proportion to his compact body.

Чикелит said...

My hat size is 2XL. I’m also an Aries. Anybody got a problem with that?

rcocean said...

Bigger heads = bigger brains = more intelligent.

The proportion of head size to rest of body is irrelevant.

Elaine on Seinfeld, (J.L. Dreyfus) has an astoundingly big head. Which the show made fun of.

Big heads for movie actors don't matter, since they have tricks to make them seem tall or taller. Bogart was only 5-8, so they he had sit on a cushion or stand on an Apple Box when doing love scenes with Bergman.

rcocean said...

I once told a co-worker he was surprisingly intelligent given his small head.

He didn't the humor.

rcocean said...

Rush Limbaugh has an enormous Head. Its the size of a pumpkin.

Dustin Hoffman = big head on a tiny body.

richlb said...

Recently (maybe 2017) the musician Richard Marx married model/MTV announcer Daisy Fuentes. Yes, it was a wedding that probably made more sense in 1997 than 2017, but it happened. When I discussed this with someone and tried to explain who they were, I googled an image of the couple. Boy, Richard Marx has an abnormally large head. And it wasn't just one picture - multiple photos (including from their wedding) show his huge melon. He must cry himself to sleep each night on a large pillow.

C Hayes said...

I am a middle aged female and sun sensitive. the only place i can find hats that provide some sun protection is in the mens' golf section. super XL. I don't ever recall in my life putting a hat on my head that was too big. sadz
And thanks for posting the Mike Myers clip. Sputnik!

Mike said...


Former actress Nancy Reagan had a melon practically the size of her torso. I don’t know how she managed to hold that thing up.


What I remember from shaking her hand (1984) was how very tiny her body was. Hands like a China doll. And yes, quite a melon!

The Godfather said...

You know, I've never noticed a large head on anybody I've met in real life. I've noticed tall, I've noticed short, I've noticed fat, I've noticed thin, I've noticed bald, I've noticed hairy, I've noticed big feet, I've noticed little feet.

The kid in the movie clip didn't have a big head; he was a white kid (Irish?) with big hair. Like Kapernick, who I guess wants you to remember that this pale guy is BLACKKKK!

Ipso Fatso said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WIvZu4dPQQ

Joey Dee & the Starliters. Read the comments about Joey's head size.

madAsHell said...

My name is Bill, and I have a large head.

All kidding aside....

The Byrnie Utz Hats in Seattle closed on Labor Day after 80 some odd years. I scored a really nice Stetson.....fuck yeah....a cowboy hat. I was happy to find one that fit!!

It's funny, I'm a curmudgeon, but everyone wants to say "hi" to the guy in the white cowboy hat!!

JCCamp said...

No one has mentioned this yet?

Sherlock Holmes postulated, rather famously I thought, that a suspect had a very large head, and thus, had far higher than average intelligence, because big head = big brain.

Which apparently demonstrates that Sherlock Holmes had a small cranium (just to be clear which we are fearing to when using 'head').

Along those lines, was Mr Potato Head notoriously bright?

Wilbur said...

I've seen three people in person that immediately struck me as having a huge head:

1. O.J. Simpson - Saw him on a golf course and up close in the pro shop several times.

2. Pro golfer Thomas Bjorn - Unsurprisingly, also on a golf course.

3. Former Miami Dolphin, now local sports radio host Joe Rose. Famous for his giant noggin.