Twin Messiahs

August 4, 2008

Mel wrote a great article on BlogHer this week about the big news rumors that Angelina Jolie’s twins were conceived through IVF. Mel is more bothered than I am by the sensationalism of the exclamation marks in the headline. I’m actually happy whenever I learn that any celebrity used (or may have used) assisted reproductive methods, as if my own experiences are a little more legitimized with each new reveal.

Although I’m more pleased than troubled by Angelina’s alleged IVF, I do have a lot of problems with the media’s treatment of the Jolie-Pitt family. The biggest problem is that until now, Shiloh has been treated as their “real” child and the other 3 adopted children as second-class. There has also been some odd pitting of Shiloh against her siblings — Brad loves Shiloh more than he loves the other kids, Angelina called Shiloh a blob and loves her less than she loves the other kids, etc. It is clear that Shiloh (and now Knox and Vivienne) have won the genetic jackpot when it comes to attractiveness, but I have seen no credible evidence to indicate that either parent favors their biological children over their adopted children.

Unfortunately I think that twins like these portray an unrealistically rosy picture of life with twins. I can’t think of any celebrity whose twins experienced significant prematurity or neonatal problems. The majority of twins that I have known in real life experienced one or both. Similarly, I think that the Brangelina media treatment gives an unrealistic picture of adoption. To be fair, it seems that Angelina’s adoption experiences have been easier than most others’.

Anyway, back to the twins. Because of their possible IVF beginnings, I was more excited than I would otherwise have been to see the first pictures of Vivienne and Knox. Take your pick between the People cover or the Hello! cover.

The pictures are beautiful, and I think any parent would love to have early photos of themselves with their newborn(s), gazing lovingly and looking fantastic (even if we can’t all look like Brad or Angelina). But there are strange subliminal messages to both covers. Maybe I’m imagining them; I hope I am. I hear the covers whispering:

White children are better than non-White children. Gorgeous children are better than normal-looking children. Biological children are better than adopted children. Twins are more special than singletons. These babies deserve more love than their siblings.

I wish that all of these statements were just my cynical imagination, but I have heard some of them stated outright about other families, and I have heard undertones of all of them many times.

Welcome to the world, Vivienne and Knox. I hope that being incredibly rich, and famous (without doing anything but being born), and good-looking, and having paparazzi stalk you every waking moment, and having the hopes of the western world pinned on you, doesn’t screw you up too badly.

One Response to “Twin Messiahs”

  1. Sassy Says:

    Those photos just make me sad. How much would it suck to have to work in the paparazzi to your first few weeks with your new babies?

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