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Girls Love Dinosaurs

My middle daughter loves dinosaurs. She loves cars and trucks and playing the boy parts in pretend play. She plays rough and growls to show what a big, scary dinosaur she can be. She also likes to wear ‘boy clothes’… shirts with bugs and cars and, of course, dinosaurs.

Not every day. Some days she is a fairy or a princess. Some days she likes to put on her frilliest, pinkest dress and be ‘girly’. Some days she absolutely won’t wear the bug shirt because she “doesn’t want to dress boyish!”. Some days she feels torn about what she likes and I would say, even feels bad about being a little different than some other girls she knows, or somehow thinks girls should be. I really don’t know where this comes from. I encourage my children (three girls) to try out any type of toy or style of clothing they may like, trying my hardest to ensure they aren’t getting any gender stereotypes from me. I suppose, though, try as I might, that these stereotypes are going to sooner or later leak in somewhere. Obviously they have, perhaps from playing with friends or her cousins who live just next door.
So, how do I protect my children from these stereotypes? How do I give them an environment where they can make up there own minds about who they are and what they like and who they want to be?

This is no easy question.. or, perhaps if it is you can fill me in. Our society is saturated with gender stereotypes (among many others). Girls like this and behave this way and dress that way, same for boys. We get uncomfortable when those lines are blurred. I know parents who are afraid to let their little boys play with baby dolls. What is this fear?! Who determines these roles?Well, I for one won’t. My little girl can play with dinosaurs and trucks and baby dolls and fairy wands til her heart’s content. It is not for me to decide who she is or what she likes or who she will be. When she becomes upset that someone might tease her if she wears her bug shirt, I remind her, it’s not ‘boy clothes’, it’s Zoe’s clothes.


For more on the topic of children and gender stereotypes, check out this series of articles by Lori, of Beneath the Rowan Tree.

10 thoughts on “Girls Love Dinosaurs

  1. I totally agree with you Julie !! Great article 🙂 thanks !!!

  2. I am not sure if you read my article here on “Boys and Dolls”, Julie. I wrote it quite some time ago. My post was about the dolls and how many parents in this culture are so afraid of letting their boys have dolls. Tons of people responded to it.
    I think it’s great that you highlighted the situation for girls here. I have had similar experiences…First as a child myself growing up in Germany. I was always sent to the doll corner and not allowed to play with the trains…
    Later in life as a parent I saw the pain from my child’s perspective. I have an older son and when my daughter was wearing his hand-me-down spiderman t-shirt and sandals to school in kindergarden she got mercilessly teased by some little girls. It broke her little heart. Why is that we can’t teach our children to be more accepting and open minded? Why are these gender stereotypes ingrained so brutally and early on in life? Needless to say my daughter never wore that t-shirt and shoes again – though she loves spiderman too. I feel bad for her and all the other little girls who love dinosaurs, trucks, and “boy” things. I feel worse for the girls who become their tormentors because their parents don’t teach them different values.

  3. Your girls are so lucky to have you as their mom! When my daughter was 3 she WAS a dinosaur….one with glittery red Dorothy shoes.

  4. I was a total tomboy – spent my childhood climbing trees and falling off horses and playing with the neighborhood boys. My mother encouraged all of it (and this was a l o n g time ago). She let me be who I was. Thank you Mom.

  5. I hadn’t read your article, Ulla, but I just did. I completely agree! It really is as much an issue with one sex as the other.

  6. I think it’s good to raise awareness about these issues. The more we talk about it the better. No more “pink” or “blue” aisle talk. How about rainbow aisles for all. =)

  7. I think this is a very important subject, I try the same with my boy, who likes pirates and fairies the same.

    Thank for sharing!!!

  8. so true. We need to let our littles be little and do what comes to them naturally.

  9. I completely agree. My daughters also love dinosaurs and have quite the collection of tractors that sit right alongside their baby dolls and princess dresses.

  10. My daughter is the same way! She is 3 and told me that for Christmas she wants a spinosaurus, a deinonychus, and a compsognathus because she doesn’t already have any of those. She already knows MUCH more about dinosaurs than I ever did. I so love this about her, though I admit sometimes I’m sad that she doesn’t play with her doll house or her dolls. I don’t think she’s really figured out yet that she’s different from other girls, but it’s coming. We went to a princess birthday party recently and my daughter refused to wear the crown favor and simply ignored all of the princess paraphernalia. Glad to know I’m not the only one experiencing this! 🙂 I love my little girl who loves rocks, planets, dinosaurs, and sticks!

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