Tinker Bells have carved out influential roles for themselves as comediennes – Ruby Wax (5ft 2in), Joan Rivers (5ft 2in) and Dawn French (5ft); actresses – Imelda Staunton (5ft), Reese Witherspoon (5ft 2in) and Judi Dench (5ft 1in); and even childcare experts – Supernanny Jo Frost is just 5ft 2in.Not that being a Tinker Bell is the preserve of celebrity.

Hovering around the five-foot mark, Lady Gaga and her pint-sized peers are living proof that despite their size, they make up for it in sheer determination, says It was not really a light; it made this light by flashing about so quickly, but when it came to rest for a second you saw it was a fairy, no longer than your hand, but still glowing.

It was a girl called Tinker Bell, exquisitely gowned in a skeleton leaf…

But Gaga’s impersonation of Barrie’s creation – albeit in a sequined leotard revealing more of her figure than the author probably envisioned – indicates something Because Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (Gaga’s real name is almost bigger than she is) is one of the girls who, in a different way from Peter Pan, have literally never grown up.

These women, from all walks of life – from singer and actress Dolly Parton (5ft) to Labour MP Hazel Blears (4ft 10in) – have been petted and patronised from childhood, and emerge as undersized adults with an overwhelming need to prove themselves in a grown-up world.

It’s long been recognised that small men have a greater need to make their mark than tall men but, says psychologist David Lewis, director of research at Mindlab International, height has just as profound an effect on a woman’s character.‘The relationship between a woman’s height and her character is often overlooked and is perhaps more interesting than the more commonly cited “Napoleon complex”,’ he says.

‘In evolutionary terms, small women are as favoured as tall men: females between 4ft 9in and 5ft 1in and men who are 6ft 1in or more are the most likely to marry and have children.

As Judi Dench once put it: ‘I’ve been called square, dumpy, round, puckish-looking.

ome afternoons, when his kids aren't around and he doesn't feel like practicing with his band, Merle Haggard will load a pipe, climb onto his John Deere golf cart and take a ride around his property, 200 acres of rugged California ranch land at the northern edge of the San Joaquin Valley.

However much they might protest, and however high the heels they don, Tinker Bells know they have an advantage in life.

Even in bare feet, they are capable of achieving heights beyond the reach of many women who physically dwarf them.

He watches them silently, his head cocked in concentration.