Popular Netflix film ‘Tall Girl’ stirs controversy

Netflix portrays being tall as an issue, big enough to make a movie about it, but is it really something we should be focusing on?

Ansley Morris, Staff Writer

In the past few years, there has been an increase in movies and TV series attempting to raise awareness of teenage issues. Bullying is a popular topic among these films. About a month ago, Netflix released a new film called Tall Girl. The movie revolves around the struggles of a “vertically-blessed” high school girl who stands at an impressive height of 6’1″. 

Teens across the nation who have watched the film are giving their opinions, especially on social media, on what has surprisingly become a controversial film. They believe that if Netflix is trying to raise awareness for a social issue, it certainly shouldn’t be about a teen girl being victimized for her height. 

The popular tv show 13 Reasons Why was released by Netflix in early 2017 to try and raise awareness for suicide prevention. While this TV adaptation may have received some backlash for its murky message, it still got people talking about teenage suicide, which is a good thing. 

Height discrimination, however, isn’t necessarily a pressing issue when it comes to what social issues people ought to be talking about. 13 Reasons Why had the right idea in making a series about a topic that needs to be talked about. It may have been a little controversial, but nonetheless, it got people talking. The same cannot be said, however, about a movie about a teen girl who’s victimized for her somewhat abnormal height. 

One of the opening lines of Tall Girl is spoken by the main character, Jodi: “You think your life is hard? I’m a high school junior wearing size 13 Nikes. Men’s size 13 Nikes.” 

While this seems like just another harmless teen rom-com, there’s been a significant amount of harsh feedback in response to this flick. People aren’t happy that it seems to be raising awareness for height discrimination when there are many more important issues going on in the world right now. For example, lots of people would love to see a movie or tv show raising awareness for sexism, racism, poverty, and other pressing world problems.  

The cast of the new film, Tall Girl.

Jodi, the protagonist, is a tall, white girl being portrayed as a victim, and that’s where the criticism has come in. Many high school students have even made videos online making fun of the movie’s attempt to turn an abnormal shoe size into a serious struggle. 

While she may not quite be as tall as Jodi, sophomore Lirina Peters is 5’11″, and said, “My friends have messed around with me and joked about my height, but I don’t take it personally. I know it’s all just a joke, it’s not something to be taken that seriously.”

It’s not a new concept that people might be made fun of for their differences, but Tall Girl takes a minor issue and completely overemphasizes it.

When things are unnecessarily blown out of proportion, it never ends well for anyone involved. Whether it’s your mom freaking out about chores, you getting a bad grade on a test, or just basic high school drama among friends, sometimes things just are made a bigger deal of than they need to be. Generally, when this is the case, there isn’t a positive outcome.

It’s important to stand your ground and stay confident when faced with adversity, but being taller than average is not as big of a deal as it’s made out to be in this new film. Yes, it can be tough being outside of the basic standards and expectations of society in regard to being the “right” height, weight, or even having perfect skin; but variation in height shouldn’t control someone’s life as much as it does for the character in the movie. 

Some think that more prevalent issues would’ve served as better topics to base a movie off of, like poverty, racism, sexism, or even cyberbullying. A film talking about the struggles of a tall girl is not what our society needs to be focused on right now. 

In this light, junior Sophie Preston said she “would love to see a movie or tv show that is based around raising awareness for more important ongoing issues, like climate change.” 

A physical attribute can affect people, but a trait like height shouldn’t affect someone’s status in society as much as it does in Tall Girl. Netflix had good intentions on this one, but unfortunately, the streaming company didn’t quite hit the mark on creating a main character that faces real adversity.