Eighteen-year-old Presley inked the 16-year-old model’s name on his left arm along with the Roman Numeral 23, at Bang Bang Tattoos in New York City, with girlfriend Charlotte D’Alessio and Kaia present. On Thursday, he revealed his art on Instagram to a medley of mixed reviews: “Best bro forever!” “Yaa even I find it kinda creepy,” and “A tattoo of your sister’s name? That’s just weird.”
The Gerbers weren’t the only brother-sister duo to stir comments this week about their closeness. U.S. Olympic figure skaters Maia and Alex Shibutani’s bronze-winning performance was overshadowed by commentary that their routine was too close for comfort.
— Lisa || AlphaVert (@Lisa03755) February 12, 2018
— slightly irritable scientist ☣ ☢ (@meres_y) February 12, 2018
The "weird" part about watching the Shibutani's skate is that they're brother and sister. They've mastered the art for sure but to pretend to have that intimacy in your routine with your sister just throws me off.
— $3@N (@Chaos_Draco) February 11, 2018
This week, Alex addressed his critics in an Instagram post. “Throughout our career (14 years and counting), we have had to, and will continue to push past stereotypes, labels, doubters, and cynics,” he wrote. “We have become successful BECAUSE we are siblings and family. Not in spite of that fact. We have challenged ourselves to grow, innovate, and embrace what makes us different from other teams BECAUSE our differences are what make us unique.”
Last night was a dream that became a reality. @maiashibutani and I have worked so hard for this! Proud to be the first ice dance team of Asian descent to win a medal at the @olympics. • When we started skating together, Maia and I didn’t see any teams on the ice that looked like us. There weren’t too many sibling teams either. • Being so “different” could have been a warning sign… but we were 9 and 12 years old and didn’t see ourselves as “different”. We were just having a blast skating together. • Throughout our career (14 years and counting), we have had to, and will continue to push past stereotypes, labels, doubters, and cynics. • We have become successful BECAUSE we are siblings and family. Not in spite of that fact. We have challenged ourselves to grow, innovate, and embrace what makes us different from other teams BECAUSE our differences are what make us unique. • When someone tells you that you can’t do something or that your success will be limited because of how you look, or who you are, keep moving forward. Set yourself apart by finding a way to utilize your strengths. Never stop believing in yourself. • Believe in your dreams and surround yourself with people who nurture and believe in your dreams as much as you do. Sometimes the journey can be lonely, but fortunately, Maia and I have always had each other. • You don’t have to look like anyone else. You don’t have to be, or skate like anyone else. You don’t have to fit the mold or follow the path that everyone else is on. Just find, and be yourself.
A post shared by Alex Shibutani (@alexshibutani) on Feb 12, 2018 at 5:12pm PST
Research shows that two-thirds of siblings have a tight bond, calling their other half as their “best friend.” That closeness could stem from a shared history, an intimate understanding of each other as people, or comfort in their unconditional connection.
But is it possible for siblings to be too close? “Each family has their own culture and shorthand and it’s important for kids to also have friends outside of that circle so they learn to form new types of connections,” Deborah Gilboa, M.D., parenting and youth development expert, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Healthy sibling relationships are the result of an equal social power dynamic, explains Gilboa. That means one isn’t given more attention than the other from their parents and siblings treat each other with respect.
Who knows if that exists between the Gerbers and Shibutanis but a sibling tattoo, for example, is not an indicator. “The tattoo could be an inside joke, the result of a dare, or an expression of love,” says Gilboa. “Frankly, if an 18-year-old is getting a tattoo, it’s probably better to have the name of a permanent sibling than a fleeting romantic partner.”
As for the Shibutanis, there are two potential reasons the public is taken aback. “Ice skating is considered an expression of romance — partners gaze into each other’s eyes and there’s a lot of touching — so people may be focusing too much on that,” says Gilboa.
And since an Olympian isn’t an every-day job, there’s little understanding or context for the type of discipline and healthy boundaries required when siblings pair up. “Most people can’t picture training for the Olympics but they can picture spending months on end with a sibling,” says Gilboa. “So, if they say, ‘I would kill my brother if we spent so much time together’ they’re speaking with their own biases.”
There are lots of ways siblings express their bond — they become roommates, business partners, some even have double weddings — and that’s typically a result of a healthy upbringing. “It’s difficult to create a culture in which siblings have lifelong respect for each other,” says Gilboa. “Kudos to their parents.”
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