Through a filtered lens: unauthorized picture-taking of people with dwarfism in public spaces
(2018) Disability and Society, 33 (2), pp. 218-237.
People with dwarfism often encounter discrimination in their daily interactions with strangers. Staring, harassment and infantilization are some of the behaviours they have reported to encounter. Through two qualitative research studies conducted in 2013 and 2015/16 it was revealed that people with dwarfism also experience strangers taking unauthorized pictures of them. This article explores this phenomenon in depth, utilizing the perspective of individuals who have experienced it first hand and analysing the relevant socio-historical influences. These include the history of the photographic exploitation of ‘abnormal’ bodies, and the cultural construction of a ‘dwarf’ as an object of entertainment. This article engages gaze theories in gender and race and ethnicity studies as well as a discussion of Foucault’s interpretation of the ‘panopticon’, positing that the advent of the cell-phone camera in the twenty-first century has altered how ‘abnormal’ bodies are recorded within oppressive ideological beliefs. © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
abnormality; culture; disability; Dwarfism; gaze