In the Fall 2007 Issue of New Voices, Chloe Safier asked a question that raised debate among readers and attracted tons of traffic to our website.Â The question?
Today our question is finally answered, and not just by a clueless Mattel PR rep.Â It appears that after a very long wait, a Jewish American Girl Doll will soon be a reality!Â Enter, Rebecca Rubin of 1914 New York City.
Though the American Girl Website has yet to make an official announcement, rumors are flying and the launch date appears to be drawing near.Â At blogs like Doll Diaries, fans are excited by photos that have leaked, responding with remarks like, “She is SOOO adorable! I want her so bad!”
It is slightly ironic that this this news should coincide with the launch of New Voices’ Money Issue, in which editor Josh imagines a U.S. where Jews don’t have money and ponders the implications for the community.Â The American Girl Dolls (and their many, many accessories) are undeniably expensive and undeniable status symbols for the little girl set.Â With the advent of Rebecca, Jewish parents will have to purchase this Jewish doll for their pre-Bat Mitzvah age kids (never mind, they already have the red headed frontier girl) and they will have to be willing to pay the price (including trips to the the doll hair salon and cafe).Â But is purchasing Rebecca just another “performance of wealth” that Josh describes in his piece?Â If so, is it a performance for the parents, or for the 10 year olds?Â What message does it send to a tween to receive a seriously expensive doll in the midst of a recession?
Don’t get me wrong, I had a Samantha Doll when I was young and had a Jewish one been around then, I would’ve wanted her too.Â It’s just worth considering whether a Jewish doll- sure to be a hit among Jews- is much different than an overly opulent Bar Mitzvah.