I've yet to really commit to a good post on the boys toys vs. girl toys advertising that's oh-so-apparent this time of year. I don't know that I have much original to say on the topic other than to rehash the obvious questions: why does pink stuff = girl, gender neutral stuff = not pink, and boys get building toys and girls get domestic toys?
Boys don't get baby dolls. Maybe they end up playing with a sibling's dolls, but I don't think they get a special one of their own. Girls get baby dolls. And baby doll craddles, strollers, accessories, etc. So little girl's get acculturated to raising kids and caring for babies. It's normative behavior.
I know I had some cool dolls. I don't remember then particularly well though. Did I play with them a lot? (I'll pause here to say I'm talking about baby dolls when I was very small too. Not my lovely American Girl doll from when I was older.) Did I feed them with bottles? Did I change betsy-wetsy diapers? Did I care? I remember bonding with plush toys more.
My niece is getting a lovely baby doll for Christmas that my sister researched better than we researched our last auto purchase. Will my little girl want to baby a play baby of her own by this time next year? Will she be at all interested in the toy workbench we want to get her?