Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chinese infant born with 2 heads

Chinese infant born with two heads, May 10, 2011, 8:44 AM
 "CBS News RAW: A double-headed Siamese twin girl was born in Xining County, Suining, in Southwest 
China's Sichuang province. The infant has two separate heads but shares only one body."

Okay, whose head needs to roll for publishing the headline and description for this video? YUCK. Gross manipulations and errors, like the ones above, really get my goat. There is no such thing as a “double-headed Siamese twin girl” or an “infant born with two heads.” With very little research, you can find that there are, however, several types of conjoined twins. One type is dicephalic parapagus, which refers to two identical twins (NOT twin) who share one trunk, have two heads and two to four arms.

The most famous pair of dicephalic parapagus conjoined twins are Abigail and Brittany Hensel. Each twin controls one side of their body (and each girl actually has her own heart, spinal cord, stomach, etc.). I have seen several documentaries and interviews featuring these girls, and they are clearly two people with differing desires and tastes. They have some uncanny ways of interacting, too, which cannot be completely explained (not only do they have the special way of communicating only twins share, but their bodies are shared, too).

Conjoined Fiber Department, shared legs.

Two-armed blouse with double buttons and collars.

Sweater knit for two, with three arms and two collars.

I have actually had a longtime interest in conjoined twins, mostly because the ideas of the self, liberty, repetition, interconnections, experience, social conditioning, etc. appealed to me conceptually when I was studying Fiber and Creative Writing at the Kansas City Art Institute. I spent a whole semester exploring and designing clothing for multiples. I believe your experiences and understanding of the world will differ from everyone else’s, even if you are born conjoined and have to go everywhere together. Simply waking up looking at opposite sides of a room will cause you to experience life uniquely.

I know it's a rare existence, but these little beings deserve to be evaluated with dignity. Instead of treating them like sideshow freaks, couldn’t the children have been described with a little compassion and, oh, yeah, proper pronouns? CBS News, I'm calling you out.

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