It’s that time of the year again. Girl Scout Cookie sales.
Every year, around this time of the year, I start to think again about my time as a Girl Scout. It’s been a good twelve years since I was in the Girl Scouts. I joined because I never really fit in with the girls at my schools. I was a tomboy who was interested in sports and adventures. I was excited by the idea of being outdoors. I wanted to explore and learn survival skills. So, I thought that maybe the Girl Scouts would be fun. They’re like the Boy Scouts, right?
I got to watch all my male friends in the Boy Scouts go on rock climbing field trips, camping trips, hikes, etc. They learned survival skills. The whole thing was built around learning and going on adventures.
Then, there were the Girl Scouts. The most adventurous thing we ever did was pick clementines. We sat around learning how to sew buttons and cook and do crafty stuff. We weren’t given the option to go on fun adventures. We were confined to the female stereotypes and homemaking activities.
Why? Why were we not given the opportunity?
My fiancé was a Boy Scout growing up and he made it all the way to Eagle Scout status. Since we, as a couple, have been on both sides of the Scouts, we have gotten into discussions before pertaining to our feelings regarding the Scouts. His experience with it was wonderful. He had a blast. His brother and dad participated. It was a real bonding experience for them. And, he got to learn/do some pretty nifty stuff. I quit the Girl Scouts after two years. There was no point sticking around when there was no indication that there would be any change towards the direction I was interested in.
When we started talking about the Scouts last, I told him that I immensely disliked the Boy Scouts. I am very open that this is largely fueled by jealousy. However, it is more than that. If the Scouts insist there be such a huge distinction between what a Boy Scout learns/does and what a Girl Scout learns/does, why can’t a girl who is interested in survival skills join the Boy Scouts? Is it really such an antiquated organization that the leaders believe girls should be confined to homemaking while the boys work? Similarly, why has is it less about the skills and activities and more about the gender? There is no reason why girls and boys can’t work together. Can’t we just be the Scouts and all work together to make ourselves and the world a better place?
So yes, I am an ex-Girl Scout who resents the hell out of the Boy Scouts. Frankly, unless they really wanted to or there was a huge change, I wouldn’t want to put my future kids through the Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts. I’d rather take them on adventures myself. It’s better than submitting them to stupid societal constructs and expectations.