Sunday, June 20, 2010

Week Three

Week three of The Half-Pint Brawlers on Spike TV. Not many news hits about the program since TMZ and the New York Post stirred LPA's statement about the wrestlers' use of the word midget into controversy around the show. But there was a post on a site called 411 Mania, a site that comments on trends in media, music and other entertainment.

The post on 411 included a review of episode three of the Half-Pint Brawlers and even offered some commentary on Little People of America's response to use of the m-word on the show. LPA had written and stated that use of the word midget on the show reflected stereotypical, stigmatizing portrayals of little people. The 411 poster wrote, "I can't help but find the LPA's stance just a tad bit hypocritical." The writer suggested that the influx of reality television featuring little people, just like use of the word midget, also reflects objectification of little people. T
he networks are motivated to produce shows for little people because of a "these people will entertain us just because they are short" mentality.

In terms of the belief that reality television involving little people is related to a lingering fascination with looking at people of short stature, the 411 writer is not alone. Others within the little person community have voiced similar comments. From what I have observed, many people of short stature are tired with the overwhelming number of little people reality programs, and roll their eyes when yet another casting request from a producer who claims to be ready to "show the world that little people are no different than anyone else," makes the rounds through the networks of little people.

I agree that motivation behind the development of so many shows with little people may have roots in the same fascination with physical difference that stimulated the demand for little people in the circus and the freak show. Yet, in the circus and the freakshow, little people played a one-dimensional role, allowing little room to break out of categorization defined by physical difference. With reality television, characters are allowed to build other dimensions, enabling them to break away from narrow categorization. With this in mind, no matter the intent, the end result of reality television featuring people of short stature is that we are able to transcend traditional, stereotypical categorizations of little people -- categorizations embodied by and impossible to overcome through the word midget.

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