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Midget Gems renamed

woodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 6,054 Disability Gamechanger
Story in the Telegraph saying they have been renamed after a disability campaigner claims the word is "hate speech" to people with dwarfism.

Is it me or are some people over sensitive? As far as I can see MGems have been around for 100 or more years.
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  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 5,716

    Scope community team

    Hi @woodbine

    Thanks for posting, this is an interesting subject. 

    The articles I have seen on this seem to mainly mention M&S renaming their midget gems, such as this one. I see it as a positive step and while I recognise your point that they've been around a long time, I think that word is often used in a derogatory way towards those who have dwarfism, and that negative use has only increased with time, I think. Perhaps when the sweets were founded the word didn't have as much prominence as it does now, and the society in which the word was first used was a very different one to the one we have today.

    I found this information on the history behind the word:
    the word “midget”.  The word “midget” was never coined as the official term to identify people with dwarfism, but was created as a label used to refer to people of short stature who were on public display for curiosity and sport." 

    With a background like that, it's understandable that the word is perceived to be quite insulting.
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  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,989 Disability Gamechanger
    edited January 13
    I guess as a business they are interested in making money above all else, if they think renaming their product will get them a few more sales they do so?

    I agree people are very sensitive these days though but also have to agree with what Ross mentions.

    I don't think calling them Midget Gems is hate speech though, surely there has to be an intent to offend for something to be hate speech? I think phrases like "hate speech" are thrown around so much these days that they lose meaning. Which is sad, because actual hate speech then doesn't get treated as seriously as it should do.
  • vikingqueen
    vikingqueen Member Posts: 624 Pioneering
    The world has gone mad!! 
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 11,607 Disability Gamechanger
    If it hadn't been mentioned, then it would never have crossed my mind that this 'might' have a negative connotation, & I certainly don't connect the word midget with achondroplasia or other forms of dwarfism (much as Ross has said).
  • TheAlien
    TheAlien Member Posts: 210 Pioneering
    As someone whose only 4ft 10in, I've often been referred to as a midget, in all of my 56years, its never once bothered me.

    I think this is another case of someone taking offence on behalf of someone else without actually asking if they're offended.
  • Libby_Scope
    Libby_Scope Posts: 662

    Scope community team

    I also think that it's an interesting topic and different views/opinions should be considered. However, I do believe that every individual will respond to these types of remarks differently, not everyone has the same coping resources/support to deal with comments such as 'being a midget' so I think it's important to bear in mind, that not everyone will be able to manage such responses and it might impact them in a negative way :)
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  • Garza
    Garza Member Posts: 149 Pioneering
    as has been previously said unless this had been bought up I would never had made the connection between the sweets and "little people", I wonder how long the seven dwarves have got until they are phased out, after all they are pretty negative stereotypes, sleepy, dopey etc 
  • leeCal
    leeCal Member Posts: 4,508 Disability Gamechanger
    So should we stop calling small versions of full size things dwarf as in dwarf trees or rabbits. 

    Or slightly confusingly from the Oxford dictionary ( Googled)

    plural noun: midges
    1. 1. 
      a small or minute two-winged fly that forms swarms and breeds near water or marshy areas.
      • 2. 
        a small person.

    Happy new year 🥳 

  • Sillymoo007
    Sillymoo007 Member Posts: 23 Connected
    Ginger nuts next 🤣🤣
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 8,234 Disability Gamechanger
    I absolutely get the midget is an offensive term for dwarfism. I also think the point is well made that some people can’t cope with name calling. My own standpoint has always been that language really matters. It’s why I repeatedly object, for example, to people talking about DMs “going with” a HCP report or some of the pejorative language used around the DWP. “Going with” is the very last thing a DM does abs it’s an appalling and simplistic, ignorant description of what actually takes place. 

    If you lose objectivity then there is much else you lose, starting with being a credible critic of DWP.

    All that said though and…this one has me flummoxed. If the advertising had been insulting to or exploitative of those with dwarfism then I could understand and would agree with challenges to that. This makes no sense at all though. Should @janer1967 @Ross_Scope and I all raise objections to “the blind leading the blind” for example? 
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 13,284 Disability Gamechanger
    @mikehughescq or even three blind mice just like baa baa black sheep was changed and black Jack sweets 

    Personally I don't get offended easily I even refer to getting legless (drunk) with my friends 

    I do however understand other people who do find these things offensive but sometimes it just goes too far 
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 8,234 Disability Gamechanger
    I agree @janer1967. I am very hard to offend. I understand that what dissent offend me may nevertheless offend others. This one just seems utterly pointless though.


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