Heightism In The Media sign now

In our culture, there is a bias against short stature, and a glorification of those taller in stature. The result of this prejudice is discrimination against short people in a variety of areas, including politics, business, dating and sports.

In our society, we favor the tall over the short and the thin over the fat. With these biases, its no wonder that people tend to round up their height 53 becomes 54- and round down their weight 122 pounds becomes 120 pounds.

So many of us are striving to more closely approximate the tall, thin ideal paraded on television, in movies and across fashion runways. The average fashion model is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 117 pounds, while the average American woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weights 140 pounds. As a result, many women are walking around feeling too short and too fat.

Meanwhile, the average American male is 5 feet 9 inches tall. An advertisement for height-enhancing insoles in men's catalogues, point to the drive for inches even in tall men. The advertisement begins with the question, Who wouldnt like to be taller? and goes on to say, Im 5' 11, and even I notice that at parties or in social situations, the tallest guy seems to have an advantage. If a man two inches taller than the average is a potential consumer of the height-enhancing insoles, it is undeniable that the pressure for more inches and the glorification of tall stature is deeply embedded in our culture.

The National Organization of Short Statured Adults or NOSSA is a non-profit organization of men 5 foot 7 inches and below and women 5 foot 2 inches and below in height. NOSSA is a united organization of short men and women from around the globe, promoting the message of self-empowerment for all of its members, providing a supportive environment in which to share experiences, and committed to opposing heightism in society. Heightism is based on the belief that short statured people are inferior and undesirable.

In 2003, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of human growth hormone (hGH) for healthy short children in an attempt to make them taller. There is nothing medically wrong with these children; they produce normal levels of growth hormone on their own. They are simply short, most often because their parents are short.

But being short isnt the problem. The real difficulties lie in the social bias against short people. Are we willing to treat the victim of a social prejudice with medical technology that supports and reinforces that prejudice? Are we willing to take a healthy child and turn him or her into a patient in need of treatment? We live in a culture that is obsessed with being tall and thin and now the pharmaceutical companies have jumped on the bias against short people. They calculated that they have a built in population to treat that could boost profits significantly, because there will always be those who fall into the lower height percentiles on a bell shaped curve.

Treatment involves subjecting the child to growth hormone injections an average of six times per week over a period of five to ten years at an average cost of $20,000 annually. The treatment may be physically and emotionally harmful, and at most, the child may gain between 1 and 1, if any extra height is gained at all.

To treat the fourteen to twenty thousand children in the U.S. who suffer with classic growth hormone deficiency (for whom treatment is based on a medical need) the cost would be approximately $182 million annually. With the FDA now deeming girls with a predicted height of 411 and boys with a predicted height of 53, eligible for hGH treatment, the number of potential treatment candidates jumps to 1.7 million children at an annual cost (i.e. revenue) of $22 billion.

There is profit to be made by exacerbating the height prejudice so rampant in this culture.

What we need is education for those who discriminate against short people, not the genetic engineering of the victims of that prejudice.

We, the signers of this petition, are disgusted by the continued perpetuation of heightism in society. We respectfully request that action be taken immediately to stop the spreading of damaging messages in the media about short stature. We also want the use of cosmetic endocrinology for children to stop. For more information please visit the website of NOSSA - National Organization Of Short Statured Adults, Inc. at http://www.nossaonline.org

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Bessie RasmussenBy:
People and OrganizationsIn:
Petition target:
Entertainment Industries Council, Inc.

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