This London mural of Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage has been around for a while. Dinklage’s success and visibility has generally been great for the dwarf community. Most of this is thanks to professional decisions made by Dinklage himself. He suavely excoriated dwarf-tossing last year when accepting his Golden Globe. He starred in the only good film about a character living with dwarfism in the real world. And his famous “I don’t have dreams with dwarfs in them!” rant continues to provide me with a perfect answer to those who still snicker about midgets on Facebook. But now that Game of Thrones has helped propel him into the mainstream, not all the attention given to his dwarfism is good.
Fantasy traditionally exiles men with dwarfism to the Friend Zone and Game of Thrones has finally taken a hammer to that. But it doesn’t feel like progress when shallow discussions of Dinklage’s sexiness treat him like a novelty. (And invariably trigger jokes and a sick fascination with the effect of height on certain sex positions.) In her superb list, “Things to Keep in Mind When You Come Across a Person with Dwarfism,” the girlfriend of a dwarf writes on Tumblr:
Don’t go out of your way, if they’re male, to affirm their masculinity by attempting to ‘bro down’ by gratuitously using words like ‘boss,’ ‘man,’ ‘sport,’ ‘champ,’ etc. in your interactions with them. It makes it obvious that you’re uncomfortable with their difference & are attempting to overcompensate.
Her complete list is definitely worth your time. (And oh man, do I remember the high-fives… ) But I’m not going to decide just yet whether the above mural embodies the patronizing attitude she describes. I want to hear what you think:
Feel free to explain your answer in the comments.