In Sainsbury’s I noticed two activity sticker books- one about princesses and the other about dinosaurs. I had a bit of a moan about genderdised nature of this and thought it odd that a company felt the need to produce one book for girls and one for boys.
Let me interrupt myself here as I know others will- I know it does not specify a gender on the cover but ask yourself this- if you were buying one for a 7 year old boy which would you gravitate towards? Same question with a girl. I imagine there are very few boys out there currently sticking princesses around their castles.
A small matter? One shop? A select example? No.
In Rymans I noticed some stickers again we are presented with a choice- princesses or dinosaurs.
The newsagent just down the road- princesses or dinosaurs.
By now I was getting a little more annoyed. Permit me the assumption that most boys will get dinosaurs and most girls will get princesses. What are we giving them?
Using Google let's find out what these topics are associated with lets use only the first page or results.
Dinosaurs: Wikipedia, BBC Nature, The Natural History Museum, New Scientist, Guardian Science section and a few dino fact pages.
Princesses: Disney princess, Disney princess, Wiki (see also “damsel in distress”), 4 more Disney princess links and a charity which collects hair to provide wigs to children.
So on the whole dinosaurs are seen as a gateway to science while princesses... well the topic seems completely vacuous (let’s not even get started on the social impact that inherently comes with an monarchy)
A sticker albums might seem a small matter.
I had a dinosaur sticker album as a child. Then I got dinosaur toys; I was taken to see the dinosaurs of china exhibit and I had the whole Dinosaur magazine collection. Would I have had this interest had I not been born with a penis and immediately thrust into a blue sleep suit? We’ll never know.
I tried to explain this situation to my 76 year old grandmother. She batted it away saying- girls like that kind of thing. “Girls like dolls and boys like cars, it’s natural for them.”
Now this is often partly true. Taking a child of 7 and asking if they want the dinosaur book or the princess one and I imagine they will conform quite happily and the boys will go for the dinosaurs and the girls opting for the princess one.
It is funny how Christians tend to have Christian parents. Muslims tend to have Muslim parents. I like porridge and irn bru and I’m Scottish. Give people “free” choice and you’ll often find that they gravitate to things they were brought up with. Things their parents introduced them too.
I’ve never shown an interest in princesses. I’ve never to my knowledge been given any kind of princess paraphernalia. It takes a very little leap to see that children develop interest where interest is sparked. Mine was sparked by dinosaurs and the dinosaurs were given to me because I have a penis.
Lets inspire a generation. Spark young minds with endless curiosity and not have a generation of young girls waiting for their prince to arrive.
Dinosaurs Vs Princesses. It is real and we are locking our daughters in a fairy castle.
Princesses or dinosaurs?
Sometimes the dinosaur motif lacks scientific rigour
Sometimes the princesses are fairies
Sometimes the dinosaurs are "spacemen"
These were all taken by me. I haven't searched the internet looking for them and I didn't collect them over a long time. It is a depressingly common sight.
I've created a tumblr of the images Dinovsprincess
John Lewis were more explicit in their division