How Not To Be A Dick To A Little Person

The most daunting challenge I face as a little person is navigating through people’s blatant disregard for my personal space and arbitrary offensive questions.
Publish date:
May 13, 2013
how not to be a dick, little people

I’m an actress and stand-up comedian who just happens to be a little person. I’m also a burlesque dancer, a Mexican American, and an unwed childless stay-at-home mom. Honey, I’ve got it all covered.

The main challenges I face as a little person are simply that I cannot reach or carry anything, which is fine by me because I have never been and will never be asked to help someone move. I also do not drive people to the airport but that has nothing to do with my size, I’m just a bitch. The most daunting challenge I face as a little person is navigating through people’s blatant disregard for my personal space and arbitrary offensive questions.

1. Do Not Refer To Little People As “Midgets.”

There is a lot of confusion around this word, so let me break it down for you. There is nothing wrong with the actual word, midget; it’s just a word to describe something that is very small, for example, Midget Carrots, Midget Car Racing, my ex-boyfriend is an emotional midget. The word midget becomes offensive when it’s used to objectify a person of short stature, as in Midget Tossing, Midget Porn, Midget Rentals, where you can literally rent little people for parties and events.

Some little people don’t mind being called midget, but I do. I’ve never heard the word ‘midget’ used in a positive manner; it always seems attached to some form of hostility. When was the last time you heard someone paying a compliment using the word midget? “Little person” is the universal dignified term for anyone of short stature, 4’10” and under.

2. Do Not Make A Little Person Feel Like They’re On Display For Your Amusement.

Trust me; I’ve caught my own reflection on a storefront window and thought, "What the fuck?" There aren’t a lot of little people in the world so it’s reasonable to be touched by the magic of a sighting. It freaks me out too when I see a little person, so I’m right there with you, but quickly take it in and be on your way. Some people do not know when to stop staring, to the point of ignorant gawking, and those are the people I just want to calmly and quietly go up to and say, “No one else can see me. I’ve been sent here to protect you.”

3. Do Not Try To Relate To A Little Person Because People Ogle At Your Punkie Hair, Piercings Or Tattoos.

People may rudely stare at you because you’re rockin’ a year-round Halloween Headquarters look, but don’t tell me you know the pain of being "different." You chose to manipulate your body to look freaky and draw attention to yourself, I didn't volunteer for this, so don't try to hop on my carnival of pain.

4. Do Not Ask A Little Person Their Height Upon Meeting Them.

Unless your eyes deceive you, there is no reason to ask a little person their height when you’re looking right at them. Would you walk up to a woman you never met and ask her weight? Would you ask a total stranger how big his penis is? Trust me, as many times as I've been tempted to do this, I have managed to fight the urge.

5. Do Not Call A Little Person To Tell Them You Just Saw A Little Person On TV.

My phone blows up every time there's a little person on CSI, like I'm the Goodwill Ambassador to Middle Earth. I mean, do I call you every time I see a fat ugly bald guy on TV? No, because I've got manners.

6. Do Not Take Your Little Person Friend To The Renaissance Fair.

It's been my experience that Renaissance Fair enthusiasts cannot turn it off. They are utterly enchanted by little people, as if we have the power to grant wishes or steal first-borns. I am a person, not a mystical creature, despite the fact that I’d kill to live in the Shire.

7. Do Not Tell A Little Person They Are Lucky They Get To Wear "Little" Clothes.

If you like what I’m wearing, luck had nothing to do with it. It’s been a lifetime of resourceful ingenuity, home stitching and bank-breaking alterations. "Luck" means you can find your size on any store rack. If you think I'm lucky to dress like one of Marie Osmond's porcelain dolls, you can go luck yourself.

8. Do Not Assume Little People Are Born To "Little" Families.

Sorry to crush your adorable Munchkin family fantasy but little people are most commonly born to average-size people. My father is 6’3” and my mother is 5’. I’m the only little person in my entire family, including extended.

9. Men, Do Not Hit On A Little Woman Because You Think You Will Be Well-Endowed In Relation To Her.

Sorry to burst your bubble, fellas, but little women do not generally have miniature fairylike vaginas; they vary in size just like any average woman.

10. Do Not Tell A Little Person You Have Fetish Fantasies About Them.

Approaching a little person with your perverted fetish is disrespectful and objectifying, and not in a good way. Personally, I’m too little and ethnic for fetish, S&M and bloodplay. Fetish is an average-sized person’s game. Only an average-sized person needs to manufacture the pain and humiliation that is our everyday lives, not to mention the fact that I can’t get past the Party City rubber suits; bells and whistles, no thanks! If you’re in an established relationship with a little person, then by all means have at it, as long as it’s safe and consensual.

11. Do Not Point-Out Things You Want A Little Person Riding In Your Car To See.

We ride low and can’t see shit. All I can see are the tops of buildings and trees.

12. Do Not Ask A Little Person To Be Part Of Your Freak Show/Sideshow/Circus.

It’s not exactly a compliment to be considered "perfect" for your old-timey inspired freak show. The popularity of neo-burlesque seems to have also sparked a romanticized nostalgia for early American circus culture on modern-day stage, music videos and film. I appreciate rich circus history; however, little people in early circuses were victims willing to exploit their afflictions to make a living. Not exactly my idea of romance. 200 years ago I’d be tap dancing like a monkey on a midway, but it’s the 21st Century now and, frankly, I’m the star attraction.

Yep, I get this kind of nonsense from people just about every day. I try to remain polite, despite the fact that I have a very short fuse (no pun intended.) So if you don't want to get kicked in the shin by a livid Lilliputian such as myself, read this article again and think of it the next time you happen upon a little person. And in case you forget the specifics, all you really have to do is remember one thing: Don’t be a dick.


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