Many of the debates we’re forced to have around topics like disability are the result of literally lacking the words to explain what we mean. The words “cure, treat, prevent” all imply a condition is bad. So, if I give my child HGH to ensure she isn’t too short when she grows up, am I “treating” her shortness? Or am I just improving her height? My new SNF post looks into that question:

Crack open any text on bioethics and I can almost guarantee that the “is shortness a disability” example will be somewhere among the pages. Shortness (and deafness, which The Dish is also exploring at the moment) sits right in the blurry space among disability, disease, and normal. How short is “too short?” Why is 5’2″ too short for a man, but not a woman? The answer is pretty much: because we think it is. Human height does fall along a bell curve, but it varies around the world and throughout history. Yet, at some point, being short goes from a relative and descriptive term (e.g. I am shorter than Yao Ming) to a normative one implying a disability.