Disrupt The Pink Aisle: Ruby Rails Action Figure Inspires Girls

by Candace King /  / Updated 
ruby rails

There’s a new toy shero taking on the big screen this week — and her name is Ruby Rails.

A tech-savvy and stylish action figure envisioned by toy company GoldieBlox, Ruby is the latest doll to celebrate #blackgirlmagic and give young girls an opportunity to see themselves in Hollywood.

When women of color make up only 1 percent of the top-grossing films of all time, GoldieBlox’s recent video poses an important question: ‘What if all the action heroes who saved the world, day in and day out…were girls?’

Ruby puts an end to all the what ifs. From secret agent to fighter pilot to cyborg bodyguard, Ruby saves the day while seamlessly and efficiently evading treacherous situations. In her sleek, all-black-everything attire and combat boots, she tackles the scenes in style.

Irrespective of her involvement in showbiz, Ruby’s resume is nothing less than impressive for an 11-year-old. Ruby is a software engineer who designs all of her wardrobe with “Dress_Code,” a computer program she created. To get other kids like her together, she founded a social networking site, “Sew Good,” to connect other young fashionista engineers.

When she’s not tinkering with code or making her own clothes, Ruby is the editor of her school yearbook and a prize-winning photographer.

"When you’re able to see people like you succeed and excel in areas that you might be interested in, it helps you believe that anything is possible."

Ruby’s story should be the norm, but her reality contrasts starkly with the current underrepresentation of women in STEM fields. According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, minority women comprise fewer that 1 in 10 employed scientists and engineers.

CEO and founder of GoldieBlox Debbie Sterling told NBCBLK that Ruby was created to be a role model for girls in the math and science field.

“We want to show girls that they can be whatever they want to be: a scientist, a skydiver, a zipliner, an engineer, and so much more,” Sterling said in an email. “The fact is, mainstream culture is failing our girls by perpetuating limitations of what women can be.”

While pursuing her engineering studies at Stanford University, Sterling was the only young woman in her classes. At times, she felt like she did not fit in.

"Somehow I powered through to get that degree," Sterling said. "Even though I didn’t necessarily have one in college, I hope that I can serve as a role model for girls looking to pursue a career in STEM."

Sterling uses her collection of toys to “disrupt the pink aisle” and get girls building at a young age. In creating Ruby, Sterling hopes other girls can see themselves excelling in STEM.

"Young girls need role models they can look up to and relate to," she said. "When you’re able to see people like you succeed and excel in areas that you might be interested in, it helps you believe that anything is possible. You start dreaming bigger and bigger, and you realize that you can do anything you put your mind to."

ruby rails

Since her pre-sale late September, Ruby is making an impact on the lives of girls she meets. Sterling said she recently held a meet and greet with Ruby and the young girls of Black Girls Code. Ruby's name is actually derived from "Ruby on Rails" — a popular framework for web development.

But children aren't the only ones excited about Ruby. Baat Enosh, a mom of three and skydiver who discovered Ruby on Facebook, told NBCBLK that she does not typically buy action figures or dolls, but Ruby was different.

"I rarely ever blink over dolls, action figures, or other consumer-items that try to build or enforce stereotypes into our society," Enosh said. "My kids have never owned any, and we definitely don't encourage them to build their identity around them. But Ruby, a non-blonde female skydiver, with her laptop bag, made by a company who is combating the insanity of the "pink aisle," got me to pull out my credit card instantly. I relate to what Ruby represents, and I hope my daughter can too."

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