Yes, it is easier to go along with everyone on the ride and do what they are doing... it takes so much courage to jump. Which is why I think more often than not, we stay on that ride.
That ride is Hollywood. It is the movies we watch, the shows that are in our living rooms every night, the stars we know everything about, the magazines telling us who to look like and what to wear, the musicians filling our heads with words. It is everywhere.
I am stepping off that ride and I have an open letter to read... ahem...
I want to tell you something... something is not sitting well with my soul. I would like for you, Hollywood, to take one moment and step outside of your bubble and step into mine. Sometimes, it is just easier to understand if you look at someone else's perspective. And that is what I am kindly asking you to do.
I am not here to be rude or put up a fight. I just want to share something that make my heart hurt... and when the world is agreeing with you by supporting your movies, your stars, your magazines, your musicians... I am saying, "Stop for just a moment... I have something that needs to be heard."
I know you are so busy with the Oscars this weekend... but let's talk about that. The movie, Wolf on Wall Street, that you have nominated for Best Picture... there is a scene in this movie where "dwarf tossing" occurs. Little people are used as darts and thrown onto a dartboard for the amusement of others.
Let's let that last sentence sink in. Little people are used as darts and thrown onto a dartboard for the amusement of others.
Even the writer of the film admitted to how awful this scene is and how it reinforces the preexisting societal stereotypes of little people... but yet he still went forward with this unnecessary scene. (See his interview here.) The Little People of America pleaded with the director to take out this scene, but they ignored them. You ignored them Hollywood.
So, Hollywood... I know what you are thinking... so what? It's a movie. Just because it happens in a movie doesn't mean anything. And, I can do whatever I want.
I understand where you are coming from, and before I had my daughter, born with dwarfism, I would have perhaps thought the same way. And while you are entitled to do what you want... you are sending messages to millions.
Here's the thing. A scene in a movie with little people is very influential for our society and the treatment and views towards little people. Why? Because, dwarfism is rare. (1-25,000 to 40,000 people are born with this genetic condition. 80% to parents that are average height.) It is unlikely that the average person will have many experiences with a little person in their lifetime. And so, what is portrayed on TV may be their only exposure to people with dwarfism. And aside from the two reality TV shows featuring little people and Peter Dinklage... Wizard of Oz, seven dwarves and a Miley Cyrus performance may be it. Oh yeah, and The Wolf of Wall Street.
As a mama, I want my daughter to have equal opportunities in her life. Of course... don't we all want our children to be treated equally? What if, someday, the person interviewing her for a job has only seen a little person in a dwarf tossing scene? Will she be taken seriously? Or worse, what if someday she is mistreated because of her genetic condition? What if she is ridiculed, singled out or patronized?
I understand that I cannot prevent these things from happening and I know in my heart that they will happen. I also know I need to raise her so she has confidence in herself and knows how much she is loved. And that-- we will do. But I also believe that you have to stand up for what is right and wrong and it is in those moments of the craziness of that merry-go-round we call life when something hits a nerve and you realize... it just isn't right. And as her mama, I will stand up for her because that's what we all do as mamas. We love and we love and we love... and we also try to make the world a better place for all of our children when we see an opportunity to do so.
Hollywood, we really do have a long way to go before those with dwarfism are treated equally in our society. It makes me sad when you produce something that so many people will see and perhaps laugh at. Or not think twice. I wish for every negative exposure you would provide at least ten positive exposures. Little people need to be seen as they are... as doctors and lawyers and teachers and mamas and friends. Not as silly characters. Or play things or anything less than human beings. And yes, it also takes little people to stop taking condescending roles... absolutely.
And your Oscars night will go on with the glitz and the glam and the celebrities patting themselves on the back for another "great" year in movies... But... if this letter doesn't make it to you Hollywood or if it gets ignored again... I hope someone somewhere between me and you reads this and thinks twice about supporting your film. Wolf on Wallstreet is not the Best Picture. It is a shame. And it is ok to say, "No, thank you." Not anymore.
Just an average mama 2,000 miles away from Hollywood
Here's my family...