The Metanarrative of Dwarfism: heightism and its social implications

Pritchard, Erin (2021) The Metanarrative of Dwarfism: heightism and its social implications. In: The metanarrative of disability. Routledge, Abingdon. ISBN 9780367523190

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This chapter explores the metanarrative of dwarfism using an auto-ethnographic approach to examine its implications within society. This chapter focuses on three strands of the metanarrative of dwarfism, which are all constructed by heightism. It draws on numerous representations of dwarfism within the media and literature, to demonstrate how each strand of the metanarrative is constructed or challenged. The first part focuses on terminology, arguing that the media reinforces the belief that smallness is an inferior trait within society. The second strand focuses on the humorous construction of dwarfism, using the character Mini-me as an example of how people with dwarfism are constructed as humorous within the media. Moving on this section also draws on the 2003 film Elf to show how films can be used to challenge the humorous stereotype of dwarfism. Another strand of the metanarrative, is associated with sexuality. Drawing on ‘Maybe the Moon’ and ‘Mendal’s dwarf’ this chapter shows how people with dwarfism are constructed as asexual due to heightism and infantalising perceptions of dwarfism. Using Bolt’s (2019) notion of the ‘unforbidden relationship’ the chapter demonstrates how the literature exposes socio-cultural beliefs about dwarfism and sexuality. In each section I draw on my own experiences to demonstrate how the meternarritive plays out within society.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: dwarfism, disability, representations, sexuality, humour
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of Social Science
Depositing User: Erin Pritchard
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2021 12:22
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2021 12:22

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