As someone who just bought her 3-year-old a pink medical kit, I was quite interested in this blog entry on science toys at Toys 'R Us. As noted by biologist/blogger PZ Myers, certain models of the black and grey telescopes and microscopes sold there come more powerful than their pink counterparts - the ones that, presumably, are marketed towards girls. He writes:
There is a message being sent here. Being feminine, being girly, means you belong in a separate category in the science world, and it's a category that needs less utility and more concern about appearances. I don't get it, and I don't understand how these kinds of distinctions persist.
I'm with Myers on this one, and I'd be quite upset if I discovered my daughter's medical kit was somehow less functional or life-like than the "boy" version. (I was already annoyed when shopping and finding that most doctor's kits feature boys on the cover.) But I must point out that just because a girl (or, ahem, a mom) selects a pink toy doesn't mean she's "more interested in getting an instrument that matches her nail polish than being functional." Liking pretty colors shouldn't come with the assumption that you're somehow less serious about science or learning!