This piece is inspired by and dedicated to my little, little sister who spent her early childhood being called “fire plug” because my grandfather decided it would be funny to follow that nickname with “so low the dogs pee on her”. A woman who, even to this day, suffers the daily humiliation of her “I can’t reach that top shelf, would someone PLEASE get me a GD stepstool” syndrome.
I’m what most people would call short, vertically challenged or even fun-sized. Like most of us I have developed quite a thick skin when it comes to insults, short jokes or being called “adorable” with an alarming frequency. I’m not easily offended by such harmless daily jabs even if they are most often muttered by the people closest to me. I am “lucky” enough to be shorter than both my kids, an unreasonably tall younger sister, my brother and most of my nieces and nephews.
As a person of diminutive stature you get used to having to stand on your tip toes and being carded for alcohol well into your 30’s and 40’s. You also realize early on that you will often be underestimated because of your size. This unchecked prejudice against my kind may be why there is a stigma attached to certain people of the smaller persuasion who dare to aspire to positions of power. Napoleon complex, commonly referred to as “short man’s syndrome” is a psychological term often used to describe these people. As it turns out, Napoleon was average height for his particular time but that does not keep people of height from using this made-up defect to downplay his considerable military accomplishments. The persecution of my kind is real. Undersized people are the subject of ridicule and I would like to be on the ground floor in the coming revolution.
No longer will we be made to suffer your sizist insults and cruelties. We will NOT endure your comic images portraying us as hotheaded, stupid and/or violent with little to no provocation.
Nor will be subjected to a line-up so that we can be made fun of by our peers in popular media.
Perhaps we sit on the toilet with feet that don’t reach the floor, maybe some of us buy shoes too big and wear three pair of socks to hide our elven feet. So what if we need a pillow on the seat to drive most motor vehicles. For those of you out there that have suffered the indignity of being made to stand next to the “you must be this high” sign at amusement parks, this is your call to arms. (tiny arms, most likely) The time has come. We are everywhere and our sites are aimed at claiming our true place in the world at long last. For the rest of you, I suggest that you align yourself with the side of the oppressed and rise up against our oppressors or you too will be dealt with…one knee cap at a time!
Gerri Atkinson aka SisterThroatPunch!