Wednesday, August 03, 2011

PBS POV: "Big Enough", documentary about dwarfism

The PBS POV film “Big Enough”, by Jan Kravitz and Chris White (2005, one hour), explores the world of “little people”, specifically, dwarfs (who are medically to be distinguished from midgets). The PBS link is here.

There are several genetically passed forms of dwarfism, and most but not all are identifiable at birth and tend to be recessive.  The film presents the issue of dwarfs having their own children, some of whom turn out to have “normal” height and grow up in scaled-down homes. It examines the question as to whether it is “selfish” to have children, or to avoid having children in these circumstances.  The film also presented a family with an older dwarf child and two “normal” younger siblings.

One person mentioned being viewed as “spoiled” as a child and not doing enough for himself.

The film presents Mark and Anu Tambino, Karla and John Lizzo, Len and Lenette Sawisch, and Sharon and Ron Roskamp.

I grew up in the 1950s as physically “weaker” than I should have been for my gender, so I had experience with “disability” that is less obvious and more subtle and therefore presents its own issues. There was a tendency when I grew up to view inability to “perform” as a “moral” issue.  There was a certain attitude that people were supposed to be "perfect."  Yes, that did contribute to the view that I should not have children, which was devastating to my parents eventually because I was an only child.

Here is a clip from a similar film on the Discovery Channel, “Little People: Big Heart”, YouTube.

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