It’s Short King Spring, Apparently

The internet has spoken, but perhaps we should take Short King Spring as an opportunity to rethink what really makes a short king a short king

Tom Holland and Zendaya attend Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man: No Way Home" Los Angeles Premiere held at The Regency Village Theatre on December 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Short King of the moment Tom Holland
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and the kings, the kings are getting shorter. That’s right, spring is upon us, which means it is once again time for the powers that be of the internet to slap a trend on a season and turn it into a half-baked meme. Small Penis Fall has come and gone, and now it’s time for the short kings — in other words, men 5’8″ and under — to have their season in the spotlight.

Multiple outlets, including i-D and the New York Post, have have officially declared it “Short King Spring,” citing a recent resurgence in short king visibility on TikTok. According the Post, the tag #ShortKing boasts more than 329 million views on the platform, with some attributing this recent wave of short king popularity to Tom Holland and Zendaya’s gender norm-busting height gap.

But what exactly is a short king? The trend is typically traced back to the summer of 2018, when comedian Jaboukie Young-White tweeted an impassioned ode to short men, declaring them “the enemy of body negativity” and hailing high-profile, low-stature stars like Tom Holland and Donald Glover among notable short king icons. An official Short Kings Anthem followed in 2019, and a short king dating app debuted the following year.

Generally speaking, the short king cutoff is usually somewhere around 5’8″ or 5’9″, recognizing men who have traditionally been thought of as less conventionally attractive or “masculine” than their taller counterparts. Still, while I’m all for trends that buck gendered, unrealistic beauty standards, I might argue that at this point in the short king era, we tend to use the term perhaps a little loosely. Not all short men are short kings; lack of stature alone does not a short king make. Rather, I would argue that a short king is a man of below-average height who carries himself with the confidence and swagger we tend to think is reserved only for men of higher stature. Not unlike “big dick energy,” however, short kinghood is not about in-your-face arrogance, but rather a cool, understated confidence.

Not all short men possess this quality, and that’s fine! You’re still valid and deserving of love or whatever. I’m just saying that simply being short does not necessarily grant you automatic short king status; you have to earn that. Some are born with it, some achieve it, but I don’t know that anyone simply has short kinghood thrust upon them just because the internet said it’s Short King Spring.

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