Men on Pedestals: Bruno Mars, Men on Pedestals: Tom Cruise

Series of two tapestries made out of velvet. 118x82cm each, 2021.

Men on Pedestals are a series of two black and grey velvet tapestries. On each tapestry, a man stands on a so called scully box, a small platform, so they appear taller. In this case, they want to appear taller than their female co-star.

I’ve been fascinated by this fact. Why is it so important that men appear taller than women? Men in general are slightly taller than women in general, but there will always be short men and tall women. This is normal. This is natural. Still, when we only see images generated by Western media that depict the man in a heterosexual relationship to be taller than the woman, we will internalize those images and start incorporating them into our way of thinking. This results in some women not wanting to wear heels because then they are “too tall” compared to their partner, or even dating apps like Bumble where one can list the preferred height of a match. This causes you to not see the profiles where the other person is too tall or too short. You might even miss out on the love of your life because that person might be one centimeter too short….

The tapestries both measure 118x82cm and are both made completely out of velvet. At the bottom of this page, I’ve listed a very interesting column on the history of men on boxes.

A short history of men standing on boxes

Lucy Mangan
Thursday 26 April 2007
The Guardian

The official story was that the height difference between BBC reporter Steve Rosenberg (5ft 6in) and German MP Silvana Koch-Mehrin (6ft 4in) made it difficult for the cameraman to get both into shot. However, it is hard not to suspect that there were darker forces at work here. After all, history is stuffed with examples of short men going to great lengths to hide their stumpitude – especially when women (literally) enter the picture – although before now of course they were rarely snapped by passersby with cameraphones and the evidence of their subterfuge gleefully published in the next day’s Bild.When titchy but famous Alan Ladd (5ft 6in) appeared in 1957 with the strapping but lesser-known Sophia Loren in Boy on a Dolphin, viewers remained blissfully unaware that the crew had dug a trench for her to walk in so that she would not dwarf the star. Similarly, in the following year’s Deep Six, the director stood Ladd on a series of boxes so that he appeared the same size as his fellow actors.

More recently, of course, it has been Tom Cruise (5ft 6in) who has had to beef up his height in various ways. Rumour had it that he too boxed clever in order to match up to female lead Kelly McGillis in Top Gun, and he endured much ridicule (and rumours of heel lifts) whenever he appeared in public with his second wife, Nicole “the Porcelain Beanpole” Kidman. By the time he married Katie Holmes, another decidedly willowy woman, he appeared to have arrived at Ladd’s happier solution of making the lady next to you stand in a hole. The wedding pictures showed Katy, with a long dress hiding her feet and the surrounding ground, for the first time looking the same size as her husband.

And was it coincidence that Prince Charles (5ft 11in) had his official engagement picture with Lady Diana taken on the steps of Buckingham Palace so that he could stand on the one above, gaining an extra few inches over his 5ft 10in fiancee?

If you don’t have a box, step or trench-digger, of course, gentlemen, do remember that you can always employ the favoured method of short Gallic generals and remodel Europe in your own image instead. Nothing says “big man” like establishing the modern equivalent of the Napoleonic Code wherever you go.,,2065602,00.html