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OP-ED: I Only Got into Penn Because of My Elaborately Dressed American Girl Doll Collection


Photo by Anders Ruff Custom Designs / CC BY-ND 2.0

Some people were recruited to Penn to play sports; some got in because they’re legacies;  others, like me, got in because of merit. Pure talent takes many forms, but my creative genius shines through one thing and one thing alone: my elaborately dressed American Girl Doll collection. 

I don’t take this lightly. I own 21 dolls, 13 of which are historical, and I have to dress them for their respective time periods unless I want to look like a goddamn fool when I carry them around with me. Think this is a game? Try tying a flat straw hat modeled after a Revolutionary War picnic outfit to the incredibly round and plastic head of Felicity. Try making Samantha look like the classist bitch she is through historically accurate outfits that implicitly scream “Nellie, you’re poor.” Do you think I take Molly’s status as a lesbian icon lightly? No. And if her outfit doesn’t suggest that she craves cunnilingus, then yes, I’ve failed her. 

Penn saw my passion in my application and in the dozens of photos I emailed to admissions reps on a biweekly basis. I’m here now, aren’t I? And I have one mission: to dress my dolls, terrify my roommates as I leave tiny pieces of clothing all over our apartment, and to live my truth. I got in because of my dolls, and, no, I’ll never be ashamed.