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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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “My favorite app is Amazon, because it's so convenient. I can order things on Prime with just a few clicks.”—Female, 27, PA 

For the first time, YouTube has been named as kids’ favorite brand. Market research looking at brand awareness, love, and popularity, and found that the content-sharing platform is the top ranked brand among 6-12-year-olds. Beating out Oreo, M&M’s, and Hershey’s—and media brands like Disney and Nickelodeon—YouTube made its way to the top from seventh place last year because “user-generated content is relatable and aspirational.” Parents weren’t far behind in their approval: YouTube came in 13th on their ranked brand list and 94% say they love or like the brand. (MediaPost)

Specialty backpacks and old-school sandals are trending for back-to-school shopping. Google’s analysis of searches and YouTube traffic reveals that although Herschel’s backpack dominated last year, “the top five [backpacks] for 2016 cover a wider range of styles and functionality.” The most searched backpack this year is from Victoria Secret’s Pink brand, and the second most searched is from Sprayground, which is known for their bold designs and celebrity collaborations. For most popular shoes, Birkenstocks takes the lead for the third year in a row, with search traffic rising 46% from last year. (Adweek

Coffee retailers are capitalizing on Millennials’ cold brew obsession. Cold brew—coffee made through a more complex “extraction method to get more nuanced bean flavors that lack the typical acidity and bitterness of a regular cup of Joe”— has trended thanks to young consumers’ love for iced coffee and authenticity. Sales have increased by 115% from 2014-2015, resulting in $7.9 million in revenue, and brands have taken notice. Dunkin Donuts’s play for “Starbucks-loving Millennials” includes adding cold brew coffee to locations nationwide. (BarkleyCNBC

About a third of 18-34-year-olds are still living at home, but it’s more likely to be happening in certain states. According to 2014 census data, New Jersey has the highest population of Millennials living with their parents at 43.9%. Connecticut and New York followed with 38.8% and 37.4% respectively, signifying the the trend is mostly happening within states that have more expensive rental markets. The lowest rates are where “land is plentiful and people are scarce:” North Dakota had 15.7% of young adults living at home and Wyoming had 18.7%. (Curbed NY)

A popular Snapchat series is making its way to the TV screen. Comedy Central’s Swag-A-Saurus With James Davis became the network’s most watched series on their standalone Snapchat Discover channel.  The digital hit features Davis explaining slang terms like ‘Bye, Felicia’ and ‘Looking Friday,’ and by January 2017 it will become its own TV show bringing together “urban and mainstream comedy.” Davis promises the show will be “lit,” and says he’s “excited to work with a network that embraces [his] point-of-view and purpose-driven comedy.” (Tubefilter

Quote of the Day: “My favorite app is Facebook Messenger because it doesn't tempt me to spend money and it helps me keep in touch with friends.”—Female, 20, IN

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