Thursday, March 18, 2010

Little people: Midgets Have It Tough

Since this is St. Patrick's Day week, I thought I'd share a "little people" article I found in an old magazine I picked up. 

Here, from Pageant magazine #8, the August-September 1945 issue, is "Midgets Have It Tough." (As far as I can verify, never before shared on the web!) The article is well-meaning, but sometimes condescends to its subject. An ironic stance, though a distasteful one.

As always, I'm interested in comments. But this time I'd especially like to have comments from anyone who has achondroplasia, diastrophic dysplasia, SED, growth-hormone deficiency, or is close to someone who does.


toyranch said...

I once saw a roundtable discussion on PBS about bigotry (no pun intended) between an African American, a Jew, a woman, a gay man, and a dwarf. Each of them started off stating the worst their race/group had suffered through history as their benchmark into the discussion. Slavery, the holocaust, suffrage/wage discrimination/etc, gay bashing/holocaust/etc were all brought up and it came to the dwarf who said "my people have been given as gifts for centuries."

Max the drunken severed head said...

Was there a way to exchange them, I wonder?

toyranch said...

There is a new theme park in China with all midget and dwarf performers.

Max the drunken severed head said...

"Hello. Can I exchange this gift I got from my aunt for something in an extra large?"

Anonymous said...

Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you will not have a leg to stand on.............................................

Nan Rodgers said...

Let's see...where do I start? LOL!! Actually, rather than be appalled at the article I was amused because I kept in mind this article was written nearly a century ago.
No, I'm not a little person, but my husband and soul mate has achondroplastic dwarfism as does his mother.
I remember when I, too, thought there was a difference between a dwarf and the "M" word. (I refuse to use that word because in the LP society it has become a derogatory term. I quickly explain to un-enlightened people that people of small stature prefer the terms dwarf or little people.
The author's explanation of how little people become so is comical. Most dwarfism is of a genetic origin.
Yes, LP's live fast and furious, but I think it is because they feel they have to in order to garner respect from average people.
My husband acted, traveled with a famous rock band in the 80's and was a circus clown. The stories he has told me of things he has seen and done are nothing short of astounding. The best part is a lot of his friends recount the same stories, and part of it is documented in a book by the lead singer of the band.
I could go on, but won't. I just wanted to add, however, that I am glad that we have shows like Pitt Boss, Little People Big World, etc. They show that LP's are like us, just in a smaller package.
BTW...I'm a short AP, 5'0" on a good day, so I tend to relate on occasion with what my husband and mother-in-law go through.

Max the drunken severed head said...

Dear Ms. Rodgers--

Thank you very much for sharing your comments and anecdotes. Despite my joking around with my friend in the comments above, I've never felt that anyone of an especially short stature was anyone to be treated any differently than anyone else. And even as a kid, though fascinated by the sight of someone of uncommon size, I imagined what it was like to an adult be of such a size, and how much a drag it must sometimes be, with everything designed for taller folks, and being the object of stares.

I can remember when "midget" lost favor and "little people" became the term of respect. It surprised me, since the term "little people" had been associated with Ireland's mythical leprechauns. And in my life experiences, I'd never heard "midget" used as a direct epithet towards little people. (I'm sure it must have been so used, since it became disliked by little people.)

Anyway, bless you for leaving your comments.


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