There are many choices for reality television now – nearly eighteen years after the premiere of Survivor, which kickstarted the genre in the United States in 1997. We can thank shows like Survivor for leading to a plethora of unscripted entertainment.

Though the concept of reality television veers away from documentary by putting its subjects into somewhat contrived situations, we still see mostly unscripted interactions. The drama that results is either entertaining or upsetting, depending on your personal preferences.

Little Women: LA brings viewers into the lives and homes of Terra Jolé, Tonya Banks, Elena Gant, Christy McGinity Gibel, Traci Harrison Tsou and Briana Manson. Their navigations of Los Angeles are both unique and familiar – we all have arguments with friends and family, but not all face the health challenges of dwarfism.

Dwarfism is defined by the advocacy group Little People of America (LPA) as an adult height of 4 feet 10 inches or under, as a result of a medical or genetic condition. From watching this show, a viewer can learn more about the medical condition and some terminology: Achondroplasia, the most common form, and Pseudoachondroplasia, a type of short-limb dwarfism.

Todd and Christy Gibel

Todd and Christy Gibel

Some people dismiss reality television for being nothing but drama-squabbles. Little Women: LA has shown that if nothing else, introducing a new community to a large audience can lead to more understanding and acceptance.

Many (if not most) viewers probably had no idea how offensive the word “midget” can be to those with dwarfism. This show gives an emotional perspective on just how hurtful that choice of word might be. Midget is a slang term, not a medical one, and it was the descriptive term applied to P.T. Barnum’s dwarfs used for public amusement during the freak show era.

It was great to hear the women discuss the use of the word by comedians and to show that there is still argument even among those with dwarfism on how it should or should not be used.

It’s this glimpse into the lives of others that can lead to greater compassion, support and love for fellow man. And sure…we all have trouble in our relationships and it’s nice to see how much we all have in common.

I encourage my readers to learn more about Little People of America (LPA) – a nonprofit organization that provides support and information to people of short stature and their families.