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Channel 4’s Seven Dwarves

I’m afraid the majority of this series has passed me by as I’ve had other things to deal with over the last few weeks, but I managed to catch the first episode of Channel 4’s Seven Dwarves, which was apparently made by the same people who made My Gypsy Wedding.

For some reason this didn’t fill me with hope for the show.  I’d read the press releases for the show and it says it attempts to highlight the challenges faced by people with restricted growth.  My first reaction to this is why the hell call the programme Seven Dwarves and why the hell film the show’s participants in the one setting that people with dwarfism are most identified with???  Talk about reinforcing current stereotypes Channel 4!  Could it have not been titled something a bit more challenging for the viewer? A look at how short stature people are portrayed in theatre and on TV? Then again, this is the broadcaster that brought us Big Brother and needless to say I’ve been steaming at the ears just about the title.

It really gets me that restricted growth people have very few roles in mainstream media and when we are, we are portrayed as mythical creatures to be either feared or revered or as characters for pantomime and to me, while I get Channel 4 is trying to highlight that we are human just like everyone else, I  feel like the programme is being fed to the viewer in a way that the production company assumes people will be able to digest in through current prejudices and stereotypes.

Enough of me ranting, to be fair, my only main complaint about the first episode was that there was too much bad language.  And I was so uncomfortable at seeing other people with restricted growth dressing up as Ompah Lumpas and miniature versions of major characters.  But hey, who’s the one making a living from what God has given them? I’ve got my bets on who is having the last laugh.

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6 comments

  1. Another little lady says:

    At last I’ve found someone that agrees with me! I am achondroplasic and have been so wound up by this series. Each of the individuals portrayed within it are probably great people but why oh why do we have to have the starting point of them all living together and doing performance-related jobs. It’s a good way for them to earn money but it reinforces the stereotypes I’ve been fighting for years.
    I thought the programs about Jaz went a huge way to show someone of restricted growth integrating into the community – one step forward and three back I’d say.

    • Little Lady says:

      Thanks for your comment Another Little Lady. Sadly I haven’t been able to watch most of the series as I’ve had other more demanding things going on in my life. In some ways I get frustrated that us people with restricted growth are only given bit-parts as mythical creatures or play up to the seven dwarf stereotype. However, the restricted people are making the most of what God/Higher Being/Insert your preference here has given them and are making some sort of living from it, though it doesn’t make it any easier for all of us restricted growth people who have to deal with ignorant attitudes as part of the fall out from such ‘entertainment’ roles. Plus there are too few other role models in the media or public eye apart from Jazz and her Mum, Bev, and Ellie Simmonds to counterbalance the fantasy roles. Yes, I agree, 1 step forward, 3 steps back, however I do feel that things are improving, if only slightly.

      • Layla says:

        I also have Achondraplasia and I am so glad to see that others feel the same way as me about this programme. People who are of average height don’t seem to realise that this affects us and that we get the abuse from it. It’s all well and good some dwarfs making a living from dressing up as Oompah Lumpahs and Mini-me but it doesn’t help the situation. My above comment was aimed at Mark by the way.

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