Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

“She Finds People Like You Hilarious!”

Why Do We Laugh at People with Dwarfism?

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2021), 15, (4), 455–470.

Abstract

For centuries, people with dwarfism have been sought after for humorous entertainment purposes. Even today, dwarfs are employed within various forms of lowbrow entertainment that is unique to them. This begs the question, why do we laugh at people with dwarfism?1 Using superiority and inferiority theories, the article aims to demonstrate why we laugh at dwarfs by exploring both historical and present forms of dwarf entertainment. Laughing at dwarfs is a form of disablism that permits dwarfism to be deemed inferior within society due to their non-normative embodiment. The article demonstrates some of the implications this sort of humour has upon how people with dwarfism are perceived and subsequently treated within society. The article calls for a more ethical consideration of the humour used in relation to dwarfism with the entertainment industry.

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Author details

Pritchard, Erin