Celebrating “different”: Peas in a Pod

peas-in-a-podI remember two competing impulses warring inside me when I was a child.

The first impulse, perhaps the stronger of the two initially, was the idea that I wanted to be different, special, an individual. I wanted to be noticed and celebrated. (This was partly a nasty desire to be seen as superior or better than other people. But the impulse’s primary foundation was a good one, the desire to be an individual, to be myself.)

The second impulse, the weaker impulse when I was younger but one which grew stronger as I endured the strong social shaming that occurs on school playgrounds, was the desire to fit in, to be like everybody else.

In Peas in a Pod, Tania McCartney and Tina Snerling tell a story of quintuplets whose parents dress them alike. As babies, this is no big deal, but as they turn into toddlers and then little girls, they rebel against parental (read: societal) attempts to make them conform to a particular standard of sameness. Their parents (read: society) attempt to squash this rebellion and it works, long enough for what might be a few posed photos. But the girls refuse to be controlled. Instead, they will “take control”–and be themselves. A great story about difference and conformity, told from within a family about siblings but nevertheless, with implications that confront this same petty compulsion that grows out of our social interaction with the world, our countries, our cultures.

 

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