Ava Mac ‘21
Three out of one hundred people are twins. Chances are, you have met a pair. You have also probably seen twins on television or in movies. Maybe Zack and Cody or Mary-Kate and Ashley.
When the media portrays them, it sets up stereotypes about twins that most of the time, are not true and end up being larger than life. These stereotypes can actually be quite harmful, or simply annoying for twins all over.
First of all, fraternal twins are often annoyed by the fact that they must look like each other to be twins. Brenna Tarlton, twin sister of Kylie Tarlton, explains that when people find out that they are twins, they are over the top and flat out irritating. “*Gasp* are you guys twins?! Oh my gosh, stand next to each other! You guys don’t even look like each other!” she mocked, recalling a line that had been told to her far too many times.
On the other side of the fence, many twins that do look alike or are identical run into the annoyance of being picked apart into pieces to be able to tell the difference between them.
“When people see me and Kara together and they haven’t previously known that I have a twin, they always have us stand side by side,” Brooke Ziolkowski, twin sister of Kara Ziolkowski, said. “They try to find a difference [between us] so they can tell us apart which really isn’t even there. You just kind of figure it out the longer you know us.”
Other twins feel that they are almost being pressured to be just like their twin. Michael Stys, twin brother of Grace Stys, admitted,“I am tired of people always thinking that me and my sister look a lot alike, although I don’t feel that we do.”
Another stereotype that many twins tire of and can actually be hurt by is labelling. When twins grow up, they are often met with the need to be differentiated from each other. People do this by labelling one twin and making the other one the opposite.
“Kylie is the responsible one and I’m the other one… They’re always like, ‘Kylie is so nice, she’s the nice twin’ and I’m like, ‘I’m right here,’” Brenna said with an annoyed voice and a face twisted in frustration.
Michael added on, saying, “In a way, me and my sister have been labeled a little. If one or both of us is really good at certain things, some people expect us both to be. It has really bothered me growing up. We both have strengths and weaknesses that are different.”
Many twins get caught up in these labellings and expectancies, which is shown to hurt them as they grow up.
Although, being a twin can have its benefits, and no, not using each other to switch places.
“It’s good to have a twin, you know, because you have someone to relate to and it’s a lot different from having someone 4 or 5 years older than you,” Brenna explained. She detailed that it is easier for twins to be best friends when the age difference is not as big and it also allows them to share each others’ friends.
And of course, there is always the stereotype of twins having supernatural powers, also known as “twin telepathy.”
For some twins, growing up so close causes them to understand each other better than others, and according to the Ziolkowski twins, this understanding can be seen when they were very young.
“My mom always talks about how when we were younger, we used to have our own language and now we just kind of have a certain look we can give each other and know exactly what the other one is thinking,” Brooke recounted.
Although for other twins, this doesn’t hold true. Michael said, “As far as I know, me and my twin do not have a supernatural connection. Maybe we will develop that later on.”
Contrary to how the media portrays them, twins are two different people that have their own unique personality, appearance and character. “Twins are just two siblings born at the same time… there’s nothing different,” as said by Brenna.
Not one person is the same, not even twins. “We are opposites in every way you can imagine. We are two totally different people,” Kara stated. As different as they are, all twins can agree that they shouldn’t just be defined by their twin.
Photo courtesy of Clip Ground