When my daughter was born I decided that I would not let her be confined to the toys that are traditionally meant for girls, so she had cars, aeroplanes, guns, later tops and bay blades along with dolls and tea sets in her kitty. We also gave her unisex stuff like blocks, puzzles and loads and loads of books. She started turning strange the moment she got into school. She was always madly interested in drawing and colouring and making crafts, however I saw her getting more attached to her girly stuff. One day she was playing with the doctor set when she said," I am the nurse and Dadubhai (her grandfather) is the doctor", I casually said why don't you be the doctor then you can really play with the stuff", "girls cannot be doctors, they can only be nurses!" She declared, I proceeded to go beserk and dragged her about to the friendly neighbourhood lady doctor and my gynae, who is a lady. I also made it a point to attract her attention whenever there was a reference to women doctors on TV or during family conversations.
My daughter is in class II now and she brings home all kinds of peculiar prejudices from school that I try to talk her out of. What can I expect in Delhi which has a notoriously low sex ratio. At least two people asked me during my last pregnancy whether I have had a sex determination test done one was a beauty salon owner who hardly knew me (one can't expect anything else from these types) and the other was a close family friend (that really alarmed me) it is quite the norm I suppose and no one cares if it is illegal. Anyhow after being exposed to this environment my dauhter's favourite colour is now pink (I distinctly remember it being yellow in her playschool days) anything remotely connected with her has to be pink. She has a pink school bag , bottle, pencil box, ruler. Her favourite dresses are pink and so are her clips we also had to get a pink toilet seat to get her to use the commode. She claims her favourite toy is a barbie doll she has many dolls but I have not see her engage with them for more than a minute. Her passion is drawing colouring cutting and pasting she spends most of her spare time cutting paper with her pink scissors.
When my son was born I decided to give him the same opportunity to choose his toys. So he dabbles with all his sisters toys and some very eclectic toys of his own. One fine day a relative gave him a bus since then his interest in vehicles has increased. The moment he wakes up he recites " bus, truck, car, mo, ghola" mo is a motorbike toy presented by another relative and ghola is a corruption of ghora or horse. His sister too was crazy about this Rajasthani horse which we had given her. I plead guilty to encouraging him by presenting him with more cars, buses, trucks and what have you. However his attachment to toys have these phases, he was deeply fascinated by balls and used to throw them around for ages. We bought balls of all sizes for him. He plays with them even now but the bus, truck etc makes him very happy and his expression changes instantly when he sets eyes on them. He loves some of his stuffed toys too and I have caught him planting kisses on a big Pooh toy.
Thus in spite of all my efforts my girl has turned out more girly than I had wished and the boy is running crazily after buses and cars! So very stereotypical!