"Status", "Respect", and "Hierarchy" According To ...

What is it that humans use to create "Hierarchies"?

What is the CRITERIA that humans use to determine who deserves "RESPECT" and who does not?

We all like to say that "respect" is about character, about intelligence, and about wisdom.

But... is it?

We all like to say those things, but most of us know better... human beings tend to replace genuine respect with FEAR, especially in groups and cultures where bullying is present and common.

So... Philip weighs 120 lbs (54 kg) and stand at 5' 4" (1.63 m).
John and Mike stand at 5' 9" and both weight around 175 lbs.
John and Mike tend to treat Philip like he's a "kid brother", like he's less experienced and less grown-up, and not as "tough", based solely on his smaller size. John and Mike find this kind of funny, Philip finds it annoying and aggravating because they're always bossing him around, making jokes, and treating him like he's a weakling or a child, but when he stands up to them they make fun of him even more. When he complains about it to other friends, they tell him he's being "too sensitive". No one else says anything at all about it, not even Philip's relatives.
John and Mike literally treat Philip as if he is not as much of a "real adult" as they are, based solely on their size differences.
This dynamic of disrespect might have been cute when they were all younger, but as adults, this dynamic gives others the impression that Philip actually IS less capable, less experienced, and weak.
When John, Mike and Philip go together to apply for a job in a construction company to make money for college, John and Mike get hired, but Philip does not. The employer saw their social dynamic and bought into the display of John and Mike being "superior" and Philip being "inferior".

REALITY, however, is that John and Mike have ZERO experience in construction, except for fetching tools for John's older cousin once, but Philip has years of experience helping his Aunt and Uncle in their development and remodeling business. He wrote that down on the application, but the employer didn't take it seriously because he ALSO likes to feel "powerful" when he's around people who are shorter or thinner than he is. He bought into John and Mike's treatment of Philip because HE thinks the same way.

Now, when John and Mike get on their "crew", there are three people who are taller than they are. One of them is a woman with 25 years of experience. John and Mike treat the three taller people with something they believe to be "respect", but it's really FEAR. Fear of being on the RECEIVING END of the disrespect that they give to Philip.

After a couple of months, John and Mike start trying to treat the woman with disrespect; they interrupt her, talk over her, behave as if she isn't in the room when they're talking to other men. They pretend not to hear her instructions, or to not hear them correctly. They make fun of her behind her back, and try to make her look stupid in front of other people, questioning and doubting her in front of others.

John and Mike picked the wrong crew. After about a week and a half of treating their female coworker/supervisor with disrespect, they get fired.

However... that's not the whole story. When they get fired, another pair of workers get hired to replace them. The new hirees are a man and a woman, each with about fifteen years of experience. They're both shorter than John and Mike were, and shorter than the rest of the crew.

After a few weeks, the crew starts showing disrespect to both of them, similar to what John and Mike had been doing. But THEY don't get fired for it, or even disciplined. The two new hirees actually get "spoken to" by the boss instead when they begin to stand up for themselves. The boss also happens to be taller than they are. After a couple of months, the two new hirees quit, and open their own business (which quickly grows to a huge success).

In the meantime Philip has started working in an office with both male and female coworkers. There are others there who are the same height as he is, and they treat him pretty well, like peers. However, there are three coworkers who are shorter than he is, one male and two female. Soon Philip starts to join in with his coworkers in treating the smaller coworkers as if they are less capable, physically fragile and weak, and like they don't really "fit in" with the rest of the group. REALITY is that the smallest coworker is literally the most experienced, and the second smallest has the highest IQ in the entire company.

Eventually, the three smallest workers leave, because they get sick of the childish treatment from their coworkers. Two of them start their own business, one of them earns their second PhD and gets hired by a competitor for a huge salary. Philip, however, stays with the company, making the same mediocre pay.

Status and Hierarchy among human beings is RARELY about intelligence, experience, wisdom, or ability. It's almost always based on extremely superficial VISUAL differences, such as height, shoulder width, weight, sex, hair color, and even the SIZE OF A PERSON'S HEAD compared to another.
Humans will often readily listen to and believe anything that a taller, larger person says over a smaller person, REGARDLESS of intelligence, experience, or actual knowledge;
they will even disregard their OWN KNOWLEDGE about each person and ignore the person whom they know for a fact has experience or expertise just because of their physical appearance and body compared to another person (or compared to themselves).

It's truly amazing, albeit disturbing, to observe.