Two mums launch kick-ass female action figures for girls

There is currently a global lack of female action figures made for girls, but fear not: that won’t be the case for much longer.

Meet IAmElemental - a kick-ass set of female action figures with all the powers of courage, designed by American entrepreneurs Julie Kerwin and Dawn Nadeau.

The idea came about when the two mums noticed that while there are plenty of dolls available for girls, there are far fewer action figures made just for them.

Action figures for girls: IAmElemental's set of seven figurines, whose powers are the different elements of courage.
Action figures for girls: IAmElemental's set of seven figurines, whose powers are the different elements of courage. Photo: IAmElemental

“There really aren't figures in that action category designed for girls. There are female action figures, but they’re designed for the adult male collector population," Nadeau told Fast Company.

Kerwin and Nadeau said most of these female action figures are hyper-sexualised, with exaggerated busts and tiny waists – not exactly the powerful female characters they were after.

“Frustrated, we decided that, instead of complaining about the lack of female action figures, we should create a solution to the problem,” the two mothers write on their IAmElemental website.

So they did, and managed to come up with the whole concept within 24 hours, including a company name and website.

After some more research and planning, Kerwin and Nadeau ended up with seven different characters.

All designed with healthier bust-to-waist ratios, these figurines have powers based on the ‘seven elements’ of courage: bravery, energy, honesty, industry, enthusiasm, persistence and fear.

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The seven different action figures each come with a periodic-table-styled shield with their specific element, and their own unique colour and style.

Making toys isn’t cheap, so in May the friends set up a Kickstarter campaign to test their hypothesis: “if you build it, they will come … and play with action figures.”

Come they did: In two days, they reached their target and by the end of the campaign they raised (thanks to more than 1200 supporters) 465 per cent of their original target.

The amount they managed to raise (more than $170,000) clearly shows they’ve found a gap in the market, but Kerwin says it’s not just about the money.

“We're not just thinking about it now in terms of profitability; we're thinking concept philosophy," Kerwin told Fast Company.

Their aim, according to their Kickstarter, was to create “fierce, strong females worthy of an active, save-the-world storyline that fosters creativity in kids.”

By filling the female superhero gap in the toy market, Kerwin and Nadeau hope to teach girls they can be powerful heroes too.

“Play is powerful. And the toys you play with impact the story you tell,” Nadeau told Fast Company. 

“I think there's room out there to hopefully uncouple these more adult messages about beauty and sexuality and give back some of the power that exists. We're not anti-dollar, anti-princess; we just want to let girls take ownership of these powerful, active storylines.”

“We're women who believe that women can set out to do anything they want to do,” Kerwin says, “and that there should be no impediment to that.”

If you want your own piece of IAmElemental action, you can pre-order the full set of action figures here for around $90 including shipping.

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