After watching an embarrassing number of viral TikToks centered around the new—and highly controversial—Netflix film, “Tall Girl,” we were confused about the phrase “men’s size 13 Nike’s” and why it was significant. We decided that it was time to investigate.
For those unfamiliar with the new release, “Tall Girl” follows high school junior Jodi Kreyman (Ava Michelle) as she deals with the “struggles” of being a six-foot-one-inch teenage girl.
The movie starts with Jodi narrating what life is like for her as an “oppressed,” tall, blonde, white, upper-middle-class girl. It is during this narration that she says the now infamous line: “Think your life is hard? Imagine being a junior girl wearing size 13 Nikes. Men’s size 13 Nike’s.”
At this point, we had to pause the movie to make sure we did not hear the dialogue incorrectly. Did Jodi really just say that her peers discriminated against her for her shoe size?
Sure, Jody. Tell that to minorities facing racial discrimination everyday. Yes, Jodi. Your unfortunate shoe size means you are at the pinnacle of suffering. You have our condolences.
As the movie continues, we learn that Jodi believes her height has prevented her from ever finding a boyfriend, despite the fact that her 5-foot-7-inch best friend, Jack (Griffin Gluck), has vied for her love since they were young.
Jodi quickly decides she actually can find a boyfriend when she meets her school’s new Swedish foreign exchange student. At six feet two inches, Stig (Luke Eisner) somehow manages to be the only boy at Jodi’s school above six feet tall. The movie then follows Jodi as she competes against the most popular girl in school for Stig’s affection. Despite first choosing her enemy, Stig realizes that Jodi is actually the one for him. By the end, Jodi realizes that she only liked Stig for his height, and (predictably) ends up with her short best friend.
Of course, yet another movie is pushing the narrative that Jodi, an awkward girl, can only learn to overcome her insecurities and feel proud of her “flaws” when a guy validates her. While Netflix tries to create the facade of being a progressive company with an empowering message, in its’ core, the film’s plot follows the overdone storyline where the knight saves the damsel in distress.
The cliché plot is not the only problem here. We are the first ones to admit that we love a stereotypical rom-com, but the issue is how far the screenwriters and directors went to convince viewers that Jodi is worthy of sympathy. First, let us look at the casting.
There is no way that the directors coincidentally casted Jodi’s sister, as well as the entire high school and family, with actors around five feet tall. The scenes over-dramatized the bullying Jodi endured, to the point where her obstacles were entirely unrealistic. The insane over-exaggerations caused the film to lose any credibility of actually shining light on hardships teens have to go through.
Overall, the film was a gross exaggeration of the struggles of a six-foot-one-inch girl. These exaggerations not only diminished the integrity of the film, but also caused it to be boring. The fact that Jodi’s height made her the object of oppression is an insult to those who face actual discrimination and also creates a lack of sympathy for Jodi’s struggles with her height.
The movie failed to shed light on what it is like being a tall girl, and in the end, the TikToks were more entertaining than the movie.