It’s easy to overlook among all the other more important things going on in the world, but Aug. 12 is Middle Child Day.
As the second of three children born in a 36-month period, this is the one day of the year I get any attention at all. In this regard, I’m not as lucky as the eight famous middle children you’re about to read about, many of whom get attention every day of the year.
But apart from that, how do these celebrity middle children conform to the stereotype? That’s what we’re exploring, below:
You might think that Kim Kardashian – A-lister, wife to Kanye West, video game magnate – disproves any shrinking-violet stereotypes you have about middle children. But take your mind back to the Kim Kardashian of 10 years ago, a girl so easygoing she let her friends treat her like an employee and so trusting she let Ray J (Ray J!) film her having sex. Classic middle behavior.
Kim’s subsequent transformation, then, is an inspiration for any middle child searching for self-actualization. As Psychology Today tells middles, “Self-esteem is best when earned.”
A few years back, a study went around the middle-child message boards claiming that middles are more likely to succeed in life, thanks to their open-minded nature and tolerance for risk. It’s too early to say conclusively whether or not this is the case, but Bill Gates, sandwiched between two sisters, seems to provide one heartening case study for middles, particularly those who dream of jumping over chairs for a living.
Unlike most middle children, Britney Spears has been in the spotlight ever since she was a child. Still, her classic single “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” could have been a metaphor for the insecurities that plague many middles today.
In their book The Secret Power of Middle Children, Catherine Salmon and Katrin Schumann admit that “Middles aren’t the most detail-oriented people.” Don’t tell that to Peyton Manning, second son of Archie and Olivia Manning, who has become one of the best quarterbacks in history largely because of his superhuman attention to detail.
Psychology Today asserts that many middles find success in the workplace because of their independence and flexibility, two traits obviously evident in Jennifer Lopez, who has bounced from TV to music to movies without losing a step.
If we were diagnosing the characters from the Marvel Universe, Loki is clearly the one with the Middle Child Syndrome. In real life, Thor actor Chris Hemsworth embodies many of the best qualities of middle children with his loyal and loving nature – at least that’s what his wife says.
Anecdotally, middle children like myself are sometimes known to emphasize their individuality with attention-grabbing fashion choices, particularly at times when they’re feeling overshadowed by a sibling. No idea why I’m mentioning this in the Pippa Middleton section. None at all.
You have no idea how badly we middles wish this wasn’t so. Isn’t the Donald the perfect example of the hard-charging eldest child, the very figure we spend our lives rebelling against? Actually, no. He’s a middle, just like us. Oh well, they do say we make great negotiators.