1st Edition

Midgetism The Exploitation and Discrimination of People with Dwarfism

By Erin Pritchard Copyright 2023

    There exist problematic attitudes and beliefs about dwarfism that have rarely been challenged, but continue to construct people with dwarfism as an inferior group within society. This book introduces the critical term ‘midgetism’, which the author has coined, to demonstrate that the socio-cultural discrimination people with dwarfism experience is influenced by both heightism and disablism.

    As a result, it unpacks and challenges the problematic social assumptions that reinforce midgetism within society, including the acceptability of ‘midget entertainment’ and ‘non-normate space’, to demonstrate how particular spaces can either aid in reinforcing or challenge midgetism.

    Drawing on the tripartite model of disability, this book demonstrates how midget entertainment is framed as a non-normative positivism, which makes it an acceptable form of employment. Using autocritical discourse analysis, the book exposes, examines and responds to excuses that are used to reinforce midgetism, thus critiquing the numerous beliefs influenced by cultural representations of dwarfism, such as people with dwarfism being acceptable figures of entertainment.

    It will be of interest to all scholars and students of disability studies, social history, sociology and cultural geography.

    1.Introducing midgetism.  2.Midgetism and midget entertainment.  3.The freak show and its legacy.  4.Modern-day freak show: midget(ism) wrestling.  5.'But it's a job for them': the inexcusable excuse for midget entertainment.  6.'It’s just a joke': in defence of midgetism.  7.Fighting midgetism.  8.Conclusion: the problem of midgetism and how to fight it.


    Erin Pritchard, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in Disability Studies at Liverpool Hope University and core member of the Centre for Culture and Disability Studies. Her work specialises on dwarfism and she considers herself to be an activist for the equality of people with dwarfism. Her previous book, Dwarfism, Spatiality and Disabling Experiences, explores the socio-spatial experiences of people with dwarfism in public spaces.