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Label Me, Label You

Label for me, Label for you.

…we all get them given, we all give them. 

I imagine even the nicest person in the world without prejudices will at some point make snap judgement about the people they meet…  whether it’s about someone’s manner in which they present themselves, how they behave or their accent.  Each of these judgements will hold perceived connotations.

So if someone is rather wiffy in the body odour department, one may assume that they are not that au fait with a bar of soap, or that they might have some sort of pituitary gland problem that causes them to excessively sweat. 

Whether we like it or not, people, that includes you and me, make instant judgements on the people we see and hear.  I’ll admit I’m guilty of said fact as the next person, which is at odds, with the labels that I, like other people of restricted growth, try to dispel every day of our lives.

So, here’s a short (pun intended!) list of labels given to us short-arses:

Restricted Growth
This label seems to be the least offensive.  Most people are unaware that this the label that is used by the Restricted Growth Association to describe people with short stature.  Personally, it’s my choice to describe the label I give myself. It isn’t steeped in age-long stereotype and prejudice as the next one.

Dwarf
Not keen on this because of the connotations given to it by people in general.   “Poison Dwarf” for example is used to describe a woman of short-stature who is perceived to be a not very nice person.  I think it gives off the impression that all dwarves are not particularly nice people.  I’ve seen examples in magazines where a male dwarf height is reflective of their supposed  lowly social standing and attractiveness to women.  And then there is the stereotype that we all belong to the circus or some freak show (usually reinforced by the media).  That said, it doesn’t seem quite as offensive as the term below, I think mainly because it is representative of the various restricted growth medical conditions.

Midget
I know there some sections of the RG community that would like to see this label banned from the entire vocabulary.  Understandably so given negative connotations surrounding the label.  The emphasis on the stature as something negative, rather than a difference to be celebrated.  Comedians quite like to use this term too.  I’ve noticed that it seems to have supplanted jokes about race or other forms of disability that it is now socially unacceptable to mock or doesn’t get the comedians labelled as being racist or disablist (oh the irony).   Strangely, this particular label didn’t used to offend me in my teens, but with the rise of what I’ll call the midget-bashing in certain quarters of the entertainment industry, the term doesn’t leave a nice taste in my mouth.

Little Person
Don’t even get me started on this one.  I know, I know, this blog uses the ‘L’ word, but please in wider scheme of things, it is not a particularly flattering label for describing someone with restricted growth!   Quite frankly, I’m not a child and don’t like the inference that this label makes to it.

Short-Arse
Quite a jovial term, usually said when someone feels comfortable enough to know when and when not highlight someone’s obvious difference. 

Vertically-Challenged
This one makes me laugh the most and it has for the 10 or so years that I’ve heard it bandied about.  This really is an example of political correctness gone too far.  Do you really think I have a problem standing up straight?  Maybe after a vodka or three or if my back or knees are playing up, but jeez, why not just add more stereotype to the list why don’t ya?

Hobbit
Mmmmm, mixed feelings about this one. It was strange to see the Lord of the Rings trilogy and see hobbits – felt like I was looking at mirror-image height-wise.  Frodo saved middle-earth, so I’m sure there is a lesson in there for you average-heighters that you don’t need to be tall in order to walk tall in the world.

Munchkin
Not sure about this one either.  It seems mostly derogative to me.

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