Dwarfism: Why They Are Looked Down Upon?

Posted on September 20, 2010 in Society

By Y. Modini:

When struck in a traffic jam while commuting to my college in a bus, I saw this “little” girl. She is so gorgeous but people around me were scanning her whole body. In rude terms, she is known as “dwarf”. Is it a sin to be just a few feet short of an average human? Instead of naming such persons as “LP” or “Little People”, midget or dwarf, why can’t we simply call by their own names? Be it in the fairy tale “Snow White”, “Gulliver’s Travels” or the famous Animal Planet TV Series “Pit Boss”, the dwarfism are stereotypically depicted although some of them exhibit the novelty, others entertain viewers.

There is a yahoo group called “Parents of Little People” which discusses the problems faced by those little kids and the anguish expressed by those parents. Even some of the parents consider the condition as a bane for the whole life. Many parents seem to take offense to comments like “What’s wrong with your child?” or “Isn’t it sad that he has that disease?” etc. They say that their child is perfect the way they are and that instead of wanting to change the child, more effort needs to be focused into changing society to be accepting towards people who are different. There are things like extended limb lengthening surgery that can add up to a foot onto a person’s height and while some people with dwarfism are pursuing the surgery as an option to help them become more “average height”, most of the dwarfism community seems to be quite anti-surgery as the costs, risks and pain of the surgery are high and they can outweigh the benefits. In a country like ours where fair skin and zero-size body structure are over-rated, dwarfism is considered to be life-long stigma.

In most of the cases, the reason for such condition is due to genetic mutation, that do not have a definite cure but people can thrive for long fulfilling life span. It might be an exaggeration to conclude that those people are always naturally “young” while others spend their months of salaries for staying young. Marriage issues have turned to be herculean task for such people and then the “Indian“ way of expecting more dowry from girls is seen.

I have come across an impressive one liner— “Dwarf planets are planets, therefore dwarf people are people” which points out the problems faced by such persons in public places. As a human being, it is therefore our responsibility to create sense of independence and self-esteem right from the start.

One must understand that these people face many health-related complications like delayed development of motor skills, temporary stop of breath during sleep, weight problems, curvature of the spine, bowed legs , leg numbness etc., to list a few. And it would be absolutely inhumane on our part if we create societal complications for them.

In a nutshell, dwarfism is not any mental or intellectual ability and such persons are generally of normal or even higher intelligent levels and it should not be a reason to underestimate them. We adore dwarf rabbits, dwarf Persian cats, dwarf hamsters and even the bonsai art of miniature trees but is it not worth a million dollar question of not adoring such “little” people?

Modern Man, Are you listening?

Image courtesy: http://www.soompi.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=111775