Megan Williams, left, president of the empowerment group Hardy Girls Healthy Women, and Colby education professor Lyn Mikel Brown are behind a protest of a new Lego line. The “girly” behavior depicted by the pastel-clad characters has infuriated activists, including Hardy Girls Healthy Women, a girls’ empowerment group in Waterville, and SPARK, a national organization against the sexualization of girls and women in the media. Both groups were founded by developmental psychologist Lyn Mikel Brown, a Colby education professor. After members of the groups started a movement against the toys on Twitter and Facebook, they posted a petition on Change.org, a website that advocates for social movements. There were 1,000 signatures within 12 hours, Brown said, and nearly 3,000 as of Saturday evening. The line of Lego sets was launched Jan. 1, after four years of research on what would get more girls to play with Legos, a toy lauded for exercising children’s brains.The study included presenting Lego characters with different looks and in different scenes, and asking girls to pick their favorites, said Michael McNally, brand relations director of Lego Systems Inc. “I don’t know if there’s the assumption that we have said this is what girls should be doing. … This is what they told us they wanted,” he said. Brown argues that what children want isn’t always what’s good for them, and she expected more from a company that prides itself in making a toy with educational value.