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Move over Lego man, there's a new girl on the block

Lego's Friends set #3931: Emma’s Splash Pool

Ever wonder what would happen if a Bratz doll mated with the Lego man? No, you probably haven't, but Lego did.

The "Friends" line of block people is expected to launch in 2012 and aims to capture the girl market. Beyond the addition of a lot of pink, these sets will include the Friends figurines (complete with skirts, long hair and noticeable eyelashes) and supposedly girl-oriented environments such as a hot tub and a bakery.

"We understand that girls really want a Lego offering that mirrors what the boys experience but in a way that fulfills their unique desire for remodelling and redesign, combined with realistic themes in community and friendship," Lego senior creative director Nanna Ulrich told Australia's Herald Sun.

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Ms. Ulrich added that the new line is the product of years of research looking at how girls interact with Lego and why more girls don't play with the blocks.

Even still, some parents feel the line is unnecessary and too heavily imbued with gender stereotypes.

"Girls don't need their own Lego," mom blogger Rebecca Sparrow told the Herald Sun. "What am I supposed to do? Take back the Lego I've bought in case it's not girly enough? In case there's not enough pink?"

Jezebel writer Margaret Hartmann also lamented Lego's one-dimensional take on what girls want, but suggested that the problem of gender stereotypes is deeper than a couple of pink bricks.

"Girls have already been conditioned to want pink and sparkly toys about ponies and princesses … and it isn't the company's job to change that," she wrote. "A commercial that shows girls building creative models with plain Lego bricks would have been cheaper, but we've reached the point where girls see blocks in primary colours and think they're not for them."

But others are defending the idea, pointing out that most Lego sets are male-orientated, at least unconsciously.

"Browse the Lego section of any toy store and you'll notice that the popular building kits are geared to boys. The Indiana Jones and Ninjago Legos, Alien Conquest and Star Wars sets all scream boy," wrote Amy Graff.

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Do girls really need their own Lego sets?

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About the Author

Madeleine White is the Assistant National Editor for The Globe and Mail. She has been with the Globe since 2011 and previously worked in the Globe's Video and Features departments, covering topics ranging from fitness and health to real estate to indigenous education. More

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