BMC Toys

New Toys: Reporting for Duty

In July 2019, Vivian Lord won a bunch of plastic toy soldiers at an arcade. But something stood out. None of the toy soldiers were women.

With her family, she searched online for female toy soldiers. Green plastic army men have been around since the 1930s. But Vivian could not find any plastic army women. She didn’t think that was fair.

“I decided to write a letter to toy companies because it seemed wrong,” says the second-grader from Little Rock, Arkansas.

One of the companies was BMC Toys in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The company’s president, Jeff Imel, was happy to receive Vivian’s letter. He had already been thinking of creating female army figures. He had heard from a retired U.S. military officer who wanted them for her granddaughters.

Courtesy of Brittany Lord

Vivian Lord holds two of her new female army figures.

After months of planning, BMC Toys released the new figures early this year. Imel sent Vivian one of the first batches.

“I was so glad that my dream actually came true,” she says.

The plastic figures come in different colors. And they are shown in many of the roles that women perform in the military. They include military dog handlers, medics, and soldiers in combat.

“It’s important for girls to know they can grow up to be anything they want to be,” Vivian says. “They should follow their own dreams.”