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OP-ED: Twin-XL Beds Perpetuate Unhealthy Barbie-Like Beauty Standards


On the surface, Penn seems like a beacon of body positivity. The admissions committee does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, nationality, creed, religion, or BMI. In fact, they are proud to accept fat people! Sorority bids are entirely based on controllable traits, such as wealth, clothes, and acne. They are so egalitarian that sorority parties and rush events are all conducted blind folded and clothes-pin-nosed. No Dior perfume can sway the trustees of on-campus or off-campus sororities.

With such an accepting environment, you would think that Penn housing, an iconic and mandated aspect of the first two years of our Penn careers, would reflect such accepting values. However, that is surely not the case. As if the crammed rooms and narrow doors weren’t bad enough, Penn adds extra shock factor with the horrifically narrow and long twin-XL beds. So much for BMI above 12 acceptance. 

In the 21st century, women in particular have been educated about the varieties of body shape, size, odor, color, angle, etc. Wemales have learned that unfortunately, unrealistic standards like triple G’s, 00 waists, and 5’9 stature have been inextricably linked to our notions of beauty. All because of the popular, gorgeous, perfect, intelligent, self-respecting Barbie doll and her real-life body double: Blake Lively. A key tenet of feminism has been to take down the Barbie and embrace the Barb, redefining what it means to be a woman, no less a beautiful one. 

Therefore, after many years under the influence of sheroes Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Melania Trump, it was with great disappointment to find that Penn, what was once considered a bastion of body love in my mind, truly has not lived up to that name with their extremely offensive twin-XL beds fit only for those with Barbie-like physique.