The newest person to join the cast of American Horror Story: Freak Show? None other than Jyoti Amge, the world’s smallest woman! At just over two feet tall, the 20-year-old actress might make a world of difference when it comes to body diversity on TV. I’m choosing to be optimistic about this, although there’s admittedly a cloud of doubt hovering over my head.
Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, the show’s creators, have a complicated history with writing diverse characters. I love that they have Gabourey Sidibe coming back for another season, since I was worried her talent was going to go to waste due to Hollywood’s bullshit beauty standards. I love that they’ve made Jamie Brewer one of the first actresses with Down’s Syndrome to be given complex and interesting roles. On the other hand, though… these guys are also responsible for Glee. The Glee that has a trans woman character, yes, but also the Glee that has a disturbing history of misogyny, biphobia, and racism. I clung to the runaway Gleek train for longer than most people, and each new episode felt like being in a bad relationship with a douchebag. If it weren’t for the girl power of Coven (which still came with a heaping dose of Ryan Murphy’s weird race issues, mind you), I would be done with that team of people forever.
I at least have enough faith in Murphy and Falchuk to believe that Amge’s character won’t be blatantly disrespectful– especially because the theme of Freak Show seems to be exposing how inhumanely these performers were treated– but I’m not confident they won’t do something shitty. For now, though, I’m going to allow myself to be excited. Fingers crossed.