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Lego Friends for girls pushing boundaries, raising eyes

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Business Week reports:

Lego Friends is a new line that will target girls. It will be available in the U.S. January 1.

LEGO will soon be rolling out a line of toys targeting girls.

Already a popular toy company in the boy segment, the company is hoping to attract "the other 50 percent of the world's children."

The line is called Lego Friends and was developed after months of anthropological research. One of the lessons the company learned was that girls favor role-play, but they also love to build. Whereas boys tend to be “linear”—building rapidly, even against the clock, to finish a kit so it looks just like what’s on the box—girls prefer “stops along the way,” and to begin storytelling and rearranging.

Lego has bagged the pieces in Lego Friends boxes so that girls can begin playing various scenarios without finishing the whole model. Lego Friends also introduces six new Lego colors—including Easter-egg-like shades of azure and lavender.

Twenty-nine mini-doll figures will be introduced in 2012, all 5 millimeters taller and curvier than the standard dwarf mini figurine.

However, criticism of the new line has already emerged, particularly over how the line seems to stereotype girls and how the new figurines are curvier, with noticeable busts, the New York Daily News reports.

The Lego Friends team is aware of the paradox of reinforcing some stereotypes and breaking down others.

It will be available in the U.S. on January 1. Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us, and Target all plan to carry Lego Friends.

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