Don’t bother telling Becky Murphy a short person joke; she’s heard them all.
For years, those jokes bothered Murphy. Five feet tall on a good day — which she says is code for “great posture” — it took Murphy years to feel comfortable with her size. It was a process she had to do on her own because there isn’t a lot of support for petite women.
And the support that was available wasn’t great.
“There would be articles in magazines that would say ‘Short girls always feel petite’ and ‘You can wear heels no matter what,’ but we’re so much more than that,” Murphy, 26, says.
So the Central City native started to list all the benefits that come with a smaller stature.
Shirts can be dresses.
You’re less likely to smell people’s bad breath.
You can sleep like a queen in a twin-size bed.
She added to the list over the course of a year, noting every benefit from the practical — kids’ clothing expands options and saves money — to the whimsical. After all, who’s going to win in a limbo contest: Murphy or LeBron James?
“Once I got going, I realized there were some things other people experience that I’ve never had to worry about,” Murphy says. “Hitting your head on a shower nozzle? Trying to fit into a dorm bed? I didn’t know that was an issue for people.”
Murphy’s revelations are published in her book, “I’d Rather Be Short: 100 Reasons Why It’s Great to Be Small,” (Plume; Oct. 29, 2013). Murphy, a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and writer living in Austin, Texas, says she wrote the book because she wanted it to exist.
“I’m OK with my size now but growing up, I really could have used something like this,” she says.
From the response she’s received at book signings and through social media, other vertically-challenged women feel the same way.
“At my first book signing, I met a mother of twin teen girls,” Murphy says. “One was 5 feet tall; the other was 4 feet 5 inches. That was the very first copy of the book I signed, and I was so self-conscious, but after she told me about her daughters, I felt so self-empowered, so full of self-love.”
It’s a feeling she hopes is conveyed to the readers of her book; some who may already be OK with their height and others still coming to terms with it.
“This process really has made me more confident in my stature,” Murphy says. “I hope it helps other people feel the same.”
As actress Kristen Bell states on the book’s cover, “5 foot 1 inch is the new 6 foot 2 inches.
Bell, who is one inch taller than Murphy, is known for playing the title character in the “Veronica Mars” television series. Murphy says signing a copy of the book for Bell is one of the most surreal moments of the entire book-publishing experience.
“That was really weird,” Murphy says with a laugh. “I mean, who needs my autograph, let alone her?”
Through social media — she can be found on Twitter at @beckycmurphy and on her blog at Chipperthings.com — Murphy has received other benefits of being short from her readers, but doesn’t plan to release a second book any time soon.
“What I’d like to do next is more public speaking,” Murphy says. “I’d especially like to talk to younger girls to help them accept their size. I wish something like that had been around when I was younger.”