To celebrate Dwarfism Awareness Month 2019, I’m sharing some of the photographs from the ‘You’re Just Little’ exhibition which debuted in 2018. The exhibition shows the challenges, obstacles and societal assumptions that Dwarf people face on a daily basis.
THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTOGRAPH
My hubby had been trying to tempt me to the newest Lidl in town (who says romance is dead!?!) and this particular day I agreed.
The photograph shows part of a very high checkout. I’m guessing the supermarket in question have made them this height for the comfort of average-height shoppers, or perhaps so their staff can stand while working, yet it doesn’t make a pleasant shopping experience, let alone accessible for someone like me with dwarfism.
Can you imagine what it is like trying to pack a bag for life and then pick that heavy bag up and place it in a trolley that is too deep for you to reach in? Pretty difficult for someone who is 4ft 4″ (133cm), the body size of an 8 to 9-year-old child, impossible, if like others in the dwarf community, you’re smaller than that.
I imagine that most people go to the supermarket with a list, and stock permitting, will be able to buy what they went in to get. For me, it’s an operation in what can I reach today? You can imagine the frustration when I can’t reach a particular ingredient or that item is just out of reach. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve come back from a shopping trip feeling battle weary. I won’t even go into the issues shopping trolleys, carrying shopping bags and what it takes to travel to the shop in the first place in this post.
Why don’t you ask for help?
As a Dwarf person, you learn to get over your pride and ask for help. Yet you can guarantee that the particular aisle that you need to reach something, there will be no-one about. Finding a member of staff is pot luck as well.
I stand about the same height as an average-height person sat in a wheelchair, yet I am not offered the support when I do the shop. Certain supermarkets are more aware with helpful assistants, though a good few stores seem to skip ‘how to help your customers discretely and sympathetically’ training.
Well, you could shop online!
Yes, though when you’re watching the pennies, budget brands tend not to offer home delivery service… leaving you reliant on having someone with you to help or paying someone, such as a personal assistant.
A task that the non-disabled take for granted and as a given poses many challenges for a Dwarf person in terms of personal safety, difficulties moving around and being able to be independent.
Follow the photograph’s stories throughout Dwarfism Awareness Month
Each day I share an insight into the stories and the main themes that each of the photographs represents to help celebrate Dwarfism Awareness month.