Evi @ Where Books Never End has generously volunteered to write a guest post for Feminist Fridays. Thank you Evi!
Hi! I’m Eviline Lunette (or Evi), fellow book blogger at Where Books Never End. Chloe was so wonderfully kind to let me do a guest post today (she’s just wonderful in general). I’d like to talk to you about something that I’m a part of and that I’m sure you all have heard of before: Girl Scouts.
Now, tell me. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear those words? Perhaps it’s the cookies. It is, after all, practically what we’re famous for (my personal favorite is Thin Mints). Or maybe you picture a group of girls (also known as a troop), all dressed in a spiffy white-polo-khaki-pants uniform, complete with the traditional vest or sash, adorned with badges and pins.
Or, perhaps, you simply picture a girl. You see the classic, uniform-clad Girl Scout, looking practically perfect. You might think of her as a “Miss Goody Two-Shoes” or a “girly girl”.
See, most people tend to think of Girl Scouts as a girly activity. I don’t know about you, but that’s the impression that I get from television, social media, people, et cetera. They (‘they’ being the ones stereotyping) picture troops flouncing around, doing good deeds like rescuing kittens and the like. They think of us as a kind of “upholder of niceness”- it’s incredible how stereotyped it is.
But they aren’t completely wrong. Girl Scouts is about girls- but girls of every personality, every color, every age. Yes, saving kittens is wonderful, but we try to do bigger things- things that can make a bigger difference (i.e. volunteering at a homeless shelter to decorate it for the holidays, something my troop recently did). It’s about that- but it’s also about having fun and being who you are. And we are girls- but not the stereotyped kind. We are friendly, we are curious, we are kind, we are funny, we are sassy, we are geeky, we are smart, we are silly, we are us. We are girls who have fun, help others, and do what’s right. That’s Girl Scouts in a nutshell.
Have you ever heard the Girl Scout promise?
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.
I’ve had this drilled into my head since I was a little Daisy, the first level of Girl Scouts, in kindergarten. But it’s what makes us us. Our three fingered hand symbol, much resembling the Mockingjay symbol from The Hunger Games, is based off the three parts of the Promise. And even then, there’s the Law:
I will do my best to be:
Honest and fair
Friendly and helpful
Considerate and caring
Courageous and strong
Responsible for what I say and do, and to
Respect myself and others
Use resources wisely
Make the world a better place, and
Be a sister to every Girl Scout.
It’s not just about girls, it’s about girls and friendship and changing the world. It’s about being the best girl you can be. It’s about helping others. Our motto is “be prepared”. And it’s explained like this:
“A Girl Scout is ready to help out whenever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency. When you read tales of great heroism or lives of men and women who gave great service to humanity, you will notice that these people were able to do so much only because they had trained themselves along the way.
-Girl Scout Handbook, 1947
It’s not just about helping others, either, it’s being able to help others.
But how does this specifically connect with feminism? Well, despite the fact that it’s a female-run organization about “girl power” and helping others, it was formed at a time when girls were expected to be proper young ladies who grew up, married, had children, and then did the housework and things like sewing. Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts, met Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, on a trip and loved his idea. She wanted to do something with all the girls of Savannah, Georgia, and eventually all the world (Lord Baden-Powell’s sister, Lady Agnes, was actually the one to found Girl Guides). She wanted them to be able to camp, to learn knot-tying, to canoe, to do all the things generally not expected of them but still fun to do. And lo and behold, Girl Scouts was born one evening in Savannah, when 18 girls came to Daisy’s house for the first Girl Scout meeting.
Chloe also asked me a very interesting question- does Girl Scouts allow LGBTQ+ leaders or girls? I did a bit of research on this (I had never heard anything otherwise), and am glad to discover that Girl Scout refuses discrimination of girls or leaders, and will accept them, even though the Boy Scouts does not. This is pleasing to hear- it makes the community of girls so much more open and accepting.
Maybe, now that you’ve survived to the end of this post (Congratulations!), you think of Girl Scouts a little differently. Maybe your views have changed. Or maybe they haven’t, because you knew of Girl Scouts already or are one yourself. However, I hope you’ve come away from this with one thing in mind: girls can make a difference, from when they’re in kindergarten to when they’re old with graying hair. That’s what Girl Scouts does.