You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Television

Choosing Our Role Models, and Letting Them Go

When I was younger, I used to love watching Hannah Montana on television. The lead character, played by Miley Cyrus, lived a double life as pop sensation Hannah Montana. Cyrus had so many fans, so many young not-yet-teenagers who looked up to her. I remember going to see her in concert when I was in fourth grade. It was one of the highlights of my year. 

Miley Cyrus Performs at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, September 14, 2009

miley_cyrus_-_wonder_world_tour_-_party_in_the_u.s.a.jpg
Miley Cyrus performs at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, September 14, 2009.
Rights
Creative Commons (attribution non-commercial share alike)

Miley Cyrus performs at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon, September 14, 2009.

Related content:

Mad Men TV Club: Rachel Menken as a Symbol of Difference

I, too, was thrilled at the return of Rachel Menken on the Mad Men Season 7 part 2 premiere. The pleasure was all too brief, however, as it was soon revealed that Rachel had died. Tara described Rachel as “the one who got away,” and I’ve always felt that she was the one who got away from the viewers as much as from Don. From the moment we met Rachel, I wanted more of her—she was smart and elusive; beautiful and guarded; speaking her mind but in some way holding the viewer at arm’s length. 

Rachel Menken from Mad Men

rachel-menken-s2-590.jpg
Rachel Menken from AMC's Mad Men.
Rights
Creative Commons (attribution non-commercial share alike)

Rachel Menken from AMC's Mad Men.

Related content:

Mad Men TV Club: The One That Got Away

So why is it that Rachel so strongly resonated with audiences, and what’s the significance of her reappearance and death? Sure Rachel was beautiful, but so are all of Don’s women. She was a career woman, like Dr. Faye and Bobbie Barrett—nothing too unique there. She was Jewish, but so was Roger Sterling’s second wife, Jane.

Rachel Menken and Don Draper from Mad Men

screen_shot_2015-04-08_at_4.06.08_pm.png
Maggie Siff and Jon Hamm as AMC's Mad Men characters Rachel Menken and Don Draper.
Rights
Creative Commons (attribution non-commercial share alike)

Maggie Siff and Jon Hamm as AMC's Mad Men characters Rachel Menken and Don Draper.

Related content:

Lisa Edelstein, September 9, 2007, cropped

lisa_edelstein.jpg
Lisa Edelstein, on Septermber 9, 2007, at Fashion Week.
Courtesy of Christopher Peterson/Wikimedia Commons.
Rights
Creative Commons (attribution non-commercial share alike)

Lisa Edelstein, on Septermber 9, 2007, at Fashion Week.

Courtesy of Christopher Peterson/Wikimedia Commons.

Lisa Edelstein

An actress with a long history of activism, House star Lisa Edelstein organized her first protest at age sixteen as a cheerleader for Donald Trump’s New Jersey Generals, outraged that the cheerleaders were forced to flirt in bars.

Melissa Gilbert

After a highly successful decade as the lead on Little House on the Prairie, Melissa Gilbert defied the odds for child actors by becoming a Hollywood power-broker as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 2001–2005.

Kyra Sedgwick

Kyra Sedgwick earned praise for a variety of supporting and starring roles in films, but it was her award-winning, seven-year stint as Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson on The Closer that made her a household name.

Pages

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Television." (Viewed on May 1, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/television>.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs