A passionate letter from a 6-year-old girl has inspired a Pennsylvania toy company to begin including little green army women in their lineup. While little green army men have been a mainstay of male childhood for decades, and despite the fact that the military is made up of 14% women, female toy soldiers have been nonexistent thus far. BMC Toys is going to change that from next year.
Female veterans and toy fans in general have been requesting the inclusion of women in the packs full of the little plastic figures for years, but BMC’s owner Jeff Imel said that it was the letter from 6-year-old Vivian Lord that finally inspired him to put a plan into action.
“[Please] can you make army girls that look like women,” the little girl wrote. “I would play with them every day and my [friends] would too!”
Imel said that he wanted to make female toys years ago but could never find the cash to expand the company’s range, telling WNEP,
“To do a new set of figures like this, it’s about the cost of a modest new car, you know, so I checked the couch cushions, came up empty.”
Imel added that he understands the importance of representation in the toys kids play with and that Vivian’s letter is proof that inclusion is always a good investment.
“Whether it’s a dinosaur, or Davy Crockett, or an Army man, maybe having a set of plastic Army women will help some kid somewhere be the hero of their own story at playtime. And I think that’s a good thing for everybody,” he explained.
Imel’s sister Tina, an artist, sketched out some possible designs for little green army women back in 2018, which the CEO later posted to the company’s blog. However, the extensive planning and cash needed to bring the toys into fruition means they won’t be available until just before Christmas 2020.
The sets will include “female versions of soldiers kneeling to fire a bazooka, standing and aiming a rifle and firing a rifle from a prone position on the ground,” according to CNN, and should retail for under $15. Imel plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign this November in order to take pre-orders and possibly expand the line further.