Twins in Media: Semi-Finals

Promotional image of Dove Cameron and Dove Cameron for ‘Liv and Maddie’. Copyright goes to Disney Channel.

Hi! It’s Annie!

We are definitely almost to the end of this thing now that we are in the semi-finals! Since we have already talked about all of the pairings of twins now at length, I’m going to be using this post to cover both rounds of the semi-finals so that the next post will lead straight into the finals. In this round of semi-finals we have two match ups to get through to determine which twins will go against each other in the final round:

Hallie and Annie vs. Liv and Maddie

Jacob and Evie Frye vs. Dipper and Mabel

Though it’s generally more likely to talk about both pairings completely in this round, I mainly want to go over why the winners of each of these are pretty obvious. Though the semi-finals result might be obvious to me, the finals result escapes me a bit more. So let’s get into it and figure out which ones are moving on!

Hallie and Annie vs. Liv and Maddie:

These are both Disney channel twins portrayed by the same actress. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of any twins being played by the same actress. It does not promote an understanding to the audience that twins are two different people with different voices, interests, ways of dressing, habits, and even ways their appearances themselves are different. But it’s pretty clear that this one has to go to Hallie and Annie. Liv and Maddie are played by the same person, but are still very different characters. I will give them that. But the fact of the matter is that they are still opposites. The girly girl versus the tomboy is something that has long been ingrained in societal expectations for women and it is also something that has long been used in conjunction with the opposite twins trope. When twins were first portrayed as different people in media rather than the same person with one hive mind, they were either played in two different ways. Evil twin or opposites. Obviously, the unexpected surfacing of an evil twin that nobody knew one of the characters had in the first place is infinitely more harmful. But the opposites trope began the idea that twins either have to be exactly the same or have to be opposites of each other. Most siblings in general who live together for much of their lives have similarities and differences, not all of one. So why is this expected of twins? Liv and Maddie not only push the opposites trope, but they also ascribe to female tropes as well. Women are very rarely all tomboy or all girly girl either. So they can’t possibly win here.

Hallie and Annie don’t spend much of the movie together and are separated at birth. Another harmful trope that promoted the idea that for twins to develop different personalities they must be separated. Obviously, this is a ridiculous notion. But the movie doesn’t dwell on that too much and shows two different personalities of their same sex twins without presenting them as opposites. In fact, at camp they are shown to have some of the same interests even though they have very different personalities. Hallie and Annie don’t really finish each other’s sentences or do weird twin telepathy fakeness either. This is exactly why they win here. There’s even a point in the movie where Hallie asks her mother to love her uniquely as Hallie and not as Annie. Though it disappoints me that they are played by the same person, Hallie and Annie are quite possibly the best portrayal of same sex twins we’ve ever had in media. They aren’t overly sexualized or rely too much on tropes. It would be great to see this with two different actresses.

Winner: Hallie and Annie

Jacob and Evie Frye vs. Dipper and Mabel:

We placed the same sex twins versus each other and now we’ve done the same for the opposite sex twins. Jacob and Evie Frye also suffer from the opposites trope, so there’s not much to say there that I haven’t already said. They also have a sibling rivalry that has become common with all siblings in media. Sometimes I feel like it can be difficult to find a pair of siblings in media who are completely supportive of each other. With all of this, and even with writing itself, there is absolutely no way they would have ever won against Dipper and Mabel.

As I’ve said before, Dipper and Mabel’s only problem is the fact that there’s an uncomfortably large part of the fandom that ships them as a couple. But that is not the fault of the writing for these characters. Of all the twins we’ve covered, these are the only ones that were written by an actual twin and it really shows. He covered personal experiences with his twin sister as well as how he’s best friends with her and they’ve always had each other’s backs. But that does not make them the same and it doesn’t mean that he always grows their characters together. They have character building moments together and apart. They were not separated at birth, they have very different personalities, they have some of the same interests and some interests that are different, and they are best friends. They are such a realistic portrayal of twins and I’m really glad to see them out there. But, as we have both said before, it is easier to find opposite sex twins who don’t fall in as many tropes. Same sex twins still don’t receive this treatment and that should change. Opposite sex twins usually aren’t fetishized as much (though the fandom of Gravity Falls proves that they still can be), whereas it never stops happening to same sex twins. I can’t express enough that it isn’t ok to view twins as a singular unit in ANY circumstance no matter how similar they may seem. So the answer to your question if you were asking it is, yes. All of those shows where a character talks about having a threesome with twins or features incest are completely awful and absolutely harmful. It pains me that I have to say that and that it isn’t common knowledge. And it isn’t ok for you to ship twin characters in any circumstance either.

Winner: Dipper and Mabel

So the final round will be Hallie and Annie vs. Dipper and Mabel! Stay tuned to see how that all turns out and hopefully we’ll receive twin characters that are just as good in the future!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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