Mary-Kate & Ashley's 'Switching Goals' Is Underrated

by Ashley Rey
Warner Bros.

Fashion queens, movie stars, and one of my favorite sets of twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have been in the spotlight since birth. They've managed to stay afloat in this crazy industry, and that's definitely something to celebrate. The Olsen twins may be living more "normal lives" these days, but that doesn't mean that anyone's forgotten their impact on us millennial babies. Yes, impact. From their You're Invited series to pop-culture phenomenon Full House, the Olsen twins have delivered work that's influenced the way I look at family, careers, and friendship. One in particular is the most underrated Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movie of all — Switching Goals.

Following the lives of 13-year-old Emma and Sam Stanton, Switching Goals explores sexism, and in a surprising way, a bit of '90s feminism. Sam, played by Mary-Kate, is a soccer star, tomboy, and her dad's favorite twin. And Emma, played by Ashley, is a self-proclaimed girly girl who would rather paint her nails than break a sweat. Emma longs for the day when her father would cheer as loudly for her, as she does for her twin sis. Sam, on the other hand, would trade in her sports trophies for the admiration of her young male classmates any time. And in typical twin movie fashion, they decide to switch places (or goals — hello, double entendre), so they could both get what their hearts desire.

This 1999 television movie not only stirred an interest of soccer within me and my younger sister, but it also provided a few other hidden gems that we've taken with us throughout the years. For one, it totally showed me that just because the world may have you pegged as a certain "type," that doesn't mean you have to pigeon-hole yourself to fit the mold. As trivial as it sounds, you can like sports and fashion at the same time. It's OK to be multifaceted — it's OK to just be you.

As expected, both Emma and Sam get what they want in the end — including hot dates with the boys they fell for along the way. And sure, the premise carries a misogynist tone. The twins' movie dad, played by Eric Lutes, carried himself with a stereotypical, macho man edge that almost made me want to vomit. And his decision to monopolize his teenage daughter's femininity in order to bring home the winning trophy was appalling. But show me one '90s movie that was 100 percent politically correct, and I'll name two more that aren't.

In the midst of all of its male chauvinism, Switching Goals was just another reminder of how hard women have to work in order to be placed on the same playing field as men. And oh, if we want their respect? We have to almost be exceptional. It's a hard truth that I'm sure Mary-Kate and Ashley had to face numerous times — even at the tender age of 13. And in my mind, Switching Goals served as the marker for their "feminism wokeness."