Published: 29th June 2021
Tall girl problems? Here's why you will definitely relate to the comics on Xena Ramakrishnan's Insta page
Xena Ramakrishnan runs a comic page on Instagram called The Higher Point Of View (@tallgirltoons). Here's why you should definitely check it out
When I called Xena on a Sunday afternoon, the first thing I asked her was, "How tall are you?"
"Six feet, two inches," she said promptly.
Xena Ramakrishnan is a tall girl - an exceptionally tall one at that, in a country like India. If you wish to find something relatable on Insta then you should definitely check out her page (No worries, short girls are welcome too, trust me, the toons are hilarious). Xena's page The Higher Point Of View (@tallgirltoons) has cartoons and comic strips that are all about tall girl troubles, especially the utterly ridiculous things you hear when you're taller than 'so called' Indian standards.
Comic artists online have definitely mastered the art of giving us the "feels" in only a few panels of drawing and Xena fits into that category quite aptly. "I started the page when I was in college, in my second year when my summer vacations were going on. Being tall, I was always the subject of plenty of jokes and I had somehow gotten used to it. But one day at a mall, I was with my friend, and a lot of people passing by made comments about my height, and that made my friend uncomfortable. She asked me if this is normal. For me, it has been happening my entire life and I never took it as an offense. I have seen a lot of tall girls for whom the experience has been translated poorly, they have been shamed, bullied for their height," she begins.
And she started realising how rampant it was when in college, "I noticed a lot of girls on campus at NIFT Bangalore, who were also tall and felt that being called out for their height made them self-conscious. That's when I thought of drawing these comic strips. Creating relatable quotes is something, but having it turned into something that you can laugh about with your friends, was not done much. I already had a few scenarios in the back of my head that I wanted to put out and see — do a lot of people relate, does every tall girl find these jokes lame? When I started posting, the response was quite overwhelming and it was from across the globe. My follower count increased and touched the thousand mark within months. People constantly encouraged me to do more, they felt they weren't alone, being tall isn't as odd or bad as a lot of us make it seem," shares Xena.
Xena mostly creates her comic strips taking inspiration from real-life experiences, but she also receives a lot of anecdotes, stories that people share on her DMs and credits them when she uses those. "They become ecstatic as it makes them feel heard. I would also like to be more regular than I currently am, ideally posting once a week at least," she adds. The 22-year-old is a Bangalore-based designer and her comic strips would quite likely remind you of the ones we would have read as children in newspapers — black and white, figures speaking with speech bubbles. "When I created the main tall girl character for my page, she coincidentally looked like me, but it wasn't my intention though. I made her black and white and it was a choice because it started off as an Indian thing but a huge part of my demographic is girls abroad from numerous countries and places. Giving her skin tone would have made it a lot more restrictive. The character also doesn't have a name either. I feel it's way more relatable when she doesn't have a skin tone, a name, or is of a specific colour. I would leave it for my audience to decide how they want her to look. It also gives a feel of a comic book," she explains.
She has had to answer her quota of weird, ridiculous questions about her height in her life. "Firstly, shorter people feel being tall is the absolute best thing. Once a girl from Sweden messaged me, there the height margins are much higher, she was 14-15 years old and six foot eight inches and she couldn't find a partner. She wrote about how she wanted to experience teenage romance like her friends but couldn't find a boy to match her height. I resonated with her because I also believed that romance wasn't for me since I was too tall until I realised that's not true. I have been extremely lucky though to have a lot of people reassuring me around. One of the most bugging things is that how they associate you with being a sportsperson because you are tall. Someone once called me Amitabh Bachhan. The other constant in your life would be your relatives enquiring now and then about choosing a life partner who is taller or at least as tall as you. How difficult that is, how you would ever get married — the questions don't seem to end. That's not the priority in your life, people shouldn't make height a barrier or some kind of a disadvantage," she shares.
Xena wishes to continue creating such relatable comic strips and hopefully, it could turn into a comic book someday. "Maybe even come up with customised merchandise and if I am too ambitious, maybe even an animation series," she concludes.