The composition of our military forces has changed significantly since the draft ended in 1973 and enrollment dropped from 2.2 million to just over 1 million (or less than 1% of the population). Today, about 16% of active duty personnel are women.
Interestingly, the diversity of women recruits tends to be greater than both their male counterparts and the population as a whole. Yet, for the contributions during military service that women have made over the years, they had been excluded from one of the best known branches – Plastic Army Men. But that oversight is about to change.
When Vivian Lord, a 6-year-old girl from Arkansas, realized that none of the little green army soldiers looked like her, she wrote letters asking toy manufacturers, “Why do you not make girl army men?” One of the recipients of her letters, Jeff Imel of BMC Toys, picked up the gauntlet and committed to recruit little green women into his product line.
The new toy sets are scheduled for a fall 2020 release and no doubt will reflect Vivian’s further guidance, “Some girls don’t like pink, so please can you make army girls that look like women?”
It sounds to us like Vivian may be a general in the making, following in the footsteps of other women like sisters Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett and Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi.