What The Rebecca Rubin Doll Means For Real Jewish American Girls

rebeccarubin1Earlier this week details were revealed about Rebecca Rubin, the first Jewish American Girl doll, and the latest addition to the company’s steadily growing line of historical characters who hail from different ethnic backgrounds.

Like those who came before her, Rebecca’s figurine comes paired with a series of books that weave her fictional backstory into a real era of American history. In the case of 9-year-old Rebecca, the scene, partially based on the author Jacqueline Dembar Greene’s own family history, will be set in a row house on the Lower East Side in 1914 where she lives with her Jewish-Russian immigrant parents, her siblings and her grandmother known as Bubbie.

While the doll may fill another niche in a long line for the brand, Rebecca’s debut marks a significant moment for young Jewish American girls and women like me who don’t often get to see themselves in the commercial space. Especially in doll form. In part, because defining what a Jewish girl looks like can be such a touchy issue. Not only for the toy industry, but also within the culture where it’s increasingly common for girls to seek out surgical and cosmetic procedures to correct their “Jewish noses” or straighten their “Jewish hair.” Even girls who don’t fit the stereotype, can be made to feel uncomfortable about the Jewishness or lack thereof of their appearance with ambiguous comments like, “You don’t look Jewish.” (It’s been 23 years and I still don’t have a good comeback).

Although specific physical traits like these become non-issues with the brand’s uniform look, and many would agree that their inclusion would be unnecessary regardless, the mere visibility of a well-defined Jewish character makes a statement. A statement that’s further reinforced by the company’s years of extensive research, including…

 
 
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Quote of the Day: “I use cloth diapers, and a lot of my coworkers don't quite understand this. They aren't condescending, per say, but I do think that they judge my less mainstream parenting style. Also, several of my online mommy Facebook groups can be VERY judgy.” –Female, 26, IL

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International news outlet Al Jazeera has introduced “Pirate Fishing,” an interactive game that lets players act as journalists investigating an illegal fishing trade. As Millennials shift their focus from traditional news sources, the game intends to bring readers “deeper into the story” for a more immersive experience. Other media outlets are seeing similar value in creating interactive story telling through gaming: BuzzFeed is currently putting together a team dedicated towards game development. (Digiday

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Twilight author Stephanie Meyer and Lionsgate have announced a new project in the works titled “The Storytellers—New Creative Voices of The Twilight Saga”. The series calls for female directors to create short films based on Twilight characters, with the top five being chosen by a panel of talented females that includes Octavia Spencer and Julie Bowen. The final products will be screened on Facebook, hoping to attract new audiences with a social-media-first push. (Vulture)

Moms began ruling social media with the surge in mommy bloggers and online communities, but a recent poll of the demographic shows that social media overload may just be #TMI (too much information). 60% of new moms are considering unplugging completely from social media, and feel pressure to appear to have a perfect life online. When asked to name their turnoffs, Millennial moms named sharing too much and too often, along with too much marketing content on their feeds. (Mediabistro)

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