Feminerd: Girl Scouts

GS_loogo-WhiteOnGreenGirl Scouts do a whole lot more than sell cookies and make swaps at camp, Fangirls. Though some may have a skewed view of what this organization is all about thanks to some other scouting groups, the Girl Scouts are all about sisterhood, encouragement, and empowerment.

I’m proud to have been a girl scout until I was almost to high school. I would have continued, but my troop dissolved, and I didn’t want to join another troop, for a lot of reasons. Girl Scouts focuses a lot on the bonds between girls & women. When I say focuses, it is not as if I was forced into hanging out with girls my own age and be friends with them. When we all got together, it just happened naturally. Even as kids, together we all felt a sense of girl power and strength within one another to do awesome things. Even if it was to just make a bracelet or floor mat. There’s a bigger picture to be seen.

I attribute my feminist outlook to many things in my upbringing, but Girl Scouts is definitely up there with the most influential. However, I didn’t realize that was the case until much later on. At the time of being a scout, I didn’t really feel like I was part of this bigger thing, this influence of women working hard & having fun together. But once I was older, I realized that growing up in that environment shaped me greatly. Now, when you apply that to thousands of other women, doesn’t that seem to create a pretty fantastic domino effect of women supporting women? It sure does. Which is why the Girl Scouts are so important. If more often than not, young girls have an opportunity to be influenced in that way, that can make one hell of a positive change down the road.

People giggle when they think of the Girl Scouts, and can’t possibly think that going to day camp to learn songs has anything to do with empowerment or feminism. However, in my eyes, it has everything to do with that. People get scared by the word feminism. If you were to try to sit young girls down and teach them about feminism, they might not listen, and their parents might not want them to listen either. But if you’ve got a campfire going, a trail to hike, a song to learn, or a class to take along with twenty other girls, that’s a whole lesson on sisterhood & empowerment in disguise.

The best part is, the Girl Scouts of America don’t necessarily focus on gender. Or their roles, at least. The things I learned from scouting weren’t necessarily the things that “girls should be learning”, they were useful things that all people should learn. I learned about world religions, about diversity, how to tie different knots, how to build fires, and how to help when someone is in need. Girl Scouting is all about being a helpful friend to the world, not just how to best market these delicious cookies. Scouts was about learning the lessons and skills to become intelligent, hard working women. We learned that through these lessons and the bonds you have with fellow women, you can be strong enough to accomplish anything and not take shit from anyone. scoutsSo, I won’t except when people think that girl scouting is something silly that’s just about cookies and macrame. There’s not very many organizations that exist for bringing young girls together to teach them how to be there best selves. I think people take it for granted, a bit. If you’ve got a daughter, or are a daughter under the age of 18, I encourage you to get involved with the Girl Scouts of America. Even if you’re not a kid or have no kids, there are always ways to get involved with the Girl Scouts and do your part. So earn some badges! Suit up with your sash! Or simply just be inspired by how incredibly awesome the Girl Scouts are and all that they do for young women. If you’re a former Girl Scout like me, hold up those three fingers, Fangirl, that pledge is forever.

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