The Little Girl Who Hated Girl Scouts

The Little Girl Who Hated Girl Scouts

I couldn't have been the only one.

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I was in a Brownie troop when I was younger - the step before Girl Scouts. I was in it for maybe three years, before I decided that I would rather go play with my brother and his Cub Scout troop I spent significantly more time with the Cub Scouts than the Brownies. I wasn't any more of a tomboy than the next girl, either - the Cub Scout program was simply more fun. And as I've gotten older, I still find myself perplexed about why this was. Even though it seemed that the girl and boy scout programs should work as equal counterparts, the Boy Scouts seem much more prestigious, active, and successful.

Don't get me wrong- the Girl Scouts of America is a wonderful program, and very highly esteemed. They teach honesty, integrity, manners, and other very valuable traits to young girls. Most of the things we participated in, however, were very feminine. I'm not against that in the slightest- but it was all we ever did. We planted flowers, sold cookies, helped the elderly, did arts and crafts- overall, very domestic activities. Our meetings were short and sweet, just like us. We had a couple moms lead the troop, met in our elementary school's gym after school for an hour or so, wore our cute brown vests, and either did little crafts to keep us occupied or struggled to pay attention while the moms read from their handbooks.

The only large event I can even remember was a "culture day," also held in our gym, where each troop from the area was assigned a country, and they all dressed up like their country and made ethnic food (which, now that I think about that, seems kind of problematic). Of course, I'm not disputing these activities - I think they're important parts of growing up. However, there is no reason why those activities should be reserved for only the Girl Scouts, or why those should be the only activities Girl Scouts do.

Boy Scouts are similar in the philosophy of their program. They're founded on the ideals of honesty, integrity, bravery, and service. Being a Boy Scout is a very big deal - remarkably bigger than being a Girl Scout. Everyone knows what an Eagle Scout is - but rare is it that someone can name the Girl Scout equivalent: the Gold Award. When one of my close friends received his Eagle Scout Award from building bookshelves for an underprivileged elementary school, there was a large ceremony, where everyone dressed up and gave speeches, that his relatives traveled out to attend. There was no such ceremony or congratulations for another one of my friends when she received her Gold Award; many of us didn't even know she was still a girl scout. Additionally, Boy Scouts' meetings are very formal and serious: their mandatory uniforms are more elaborate, their ceremony much larger, consisting of a large group meeting, individual troop meetings, and flag ceremonies. It is no wonder that the Boy Scouts seem more serious, more esteemed than the Girl Scouts. Additionally, the activities are much more adventurous and skill oriented, consisting of fishing, camping, tying knots, sports, and building or creating various things. They went on many more large and interesting trips, such as sleepovers on naval ships, sailing excursions, cake baking contests, and the famous pinewood derby - where the boys and their fathers' craft toy cars out of a block of wood and race them. Where was this large variety of activities for the girls? The only way I got to participate in any of those was because of my brother. Not only is the Boy Scout program more active, outdoorsy, and admired, but it's also more balanced.

Both of the programs were founded long ago, on relatively the same platforms: integrity, honesty, service, etc. However, it seems as though the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts have been stuck in the 1950's. It's 68 years later, now, and girls are still being shoved into the roles of the homemaker while simultaneously shoving bulbs into the soil, and the boys are out learning about the world and how it's at their fingertips: either in a piece of rope or in a block of pinewood. These societal rules and norms of the past are far overdue - and this is not coming from a feminist teenager who's trying to pick a fight with the older generation, but merely from the little pig-tailed girl who didn't understand why she was being forced to knit potholders when all she (and the rest of her troop!) wanted to do was climb a tree.

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I'm That Girl With A Deep Voice, But I'm Not Some Freak Of Nature

I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man.

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My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I joke that rather than getting higher, my voice got lower throughout puberty.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when my family members say "Hi Todd" when they pick up the phone when I call. Todd is my brother. I am a girl.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when I have been asked by other females if they're "in the right bathroom" when I tell them "I'm not in line" or "someone's in here" when there's a knock on the stall.

Keep in mind that in most female bathrooms, there are no urinals present and there is a sign outside the door that says "WOMEN." Quite obviously, they're in the correct bathroom, just thrown off by the octave of my voice.

For the girl who asked me if she was in the right bathroom because she was "caught off guard and thought I was a boy," I'm just wondering...

What part about my long hair, mascara, shorts not down to my knees, presence (small presence, but a presence none the less) of boobs, and just my overall demeanor was not enough validation that you are, in fact, in the correct restroom?

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man. Or, when someone calls me over to talk to their friends so they can see how "offsetting" my voice sounds to them.

My favorite story is when I was in a store, and I asked one of the women there a question about a product.

This woman had the audacity to ask me when I "went through my transformation."

She was suggesting that I was a transgender girl because of the sound of my voice. Please recognize that I respect and wholeheartedly accept the trans- population. Please also recognize that I was born a girl, still am a girl, always will be a girl, and asking someone if they are a different gender than they appear to be is not the best way to make a sale.

Frustrated, I told her that she should find a better plastic surgeon and walked out.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be.

And, to make matters worse, I am not your typical "girly-girl."

I die for the New York Rangers, have maybe two dresses in my closet but three shelves full of hand-me-down sweatshirts from my brother and Adidas pants. I do not own a "blouse" nor do I plan on owning one except maybe for business-casual occasions.

Naturally, when a deep voice is paired with a sports-oriented, athletic short-loving, sarcastic girl who couldn't tell you the difference between a stiletto and an average high-heel, I GUESS things can seem "off." However, regardless of the difference you see/hear, no one has the right to make someone feel bad about themselves.

What I always struggled with the most is how (most, moral, common-sense) people will never tell someone they don't know, who may be overweight, that "they're fat" or that they don't like the shirt that they're wearing. Yet, because my voice is not something physically seen, it has become fair game for strangers and acquaintances alike to judge and make comments about.

I used to break down into hysterics when I heard a comment about my voice, whether I was six years old or seventeen years old.

There are times that I still do because I am so fed up and just completely bamboozled by the fact that at the age of twenty, there are still people who just have a blatant disregard for others' feelings and a lack of understanding of what is okay to say and what is not okay to say.

But, just like I ask those people not to judge me, I suppose I can't judge them on their lack of common sense and respect for others.

I'd be lying if I said that the hundreds of thousands of comments I've heard and received targeted at my voice growing up did not play a role in my life. I used to want to be a sports broadcaster. I no longer want to be heard on the radio or seen on TV; snarky comments about my voice being one of the reasons why (among others, like a change of interest and just overall life experiences).

I'd be lying if I said that my struggle with public speaking didn't partially stem from negative feedback about my voice.

I'd be lying if I said that there weren't days I tried to talk as little as possible because I didn't want to be judged and that I am sometimes hesitant to introduce myself to new people because I'm scared my voice will scare them away.

I would also be lying if I said that my voice didn't make me who I am.

I joke constantly about it now, because half the shit that comes out of my mouth mixed with my actions, interests, beliefs, etc., would sound absolutely WHACK if I had a high-pitched "girly" voice.

My voice matches my personality perfectly, and the criticism I have and continue to receive for my "manly" sounding voice has helped shaped me into who I am today. I have learned to love my voice when people have relentlessly tried to make me hate it. I have learned to take the frustration I felt towards my voice and turn it into sympathy for those who have something going on in their life, and therefore feel compelled to make a comment about me, a stranger's voice, to make themselves feel better.

I've learned that to laugh at yourself is to love yourself.

And, I say this not for sympathy. Not for someone to say, "Wait, Syd, I love your voice!"

I say this because I want it to be a reminder for people to watch what they say, and use that noggin before you speak. I say this because I also want to be the voice (haha, get it, 'voice') for those who feel like they've lost theirs.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

So no, I would not be a good alto in a choir because I think I'm tone deaf. And, when you call MY phone number, it is very unlikely that it is my brother or dad answering. Just say hello, because 99.9% of the time, if it's ME you're calling, it's ME that's answering.

Dr. Suess said, "A person's a person no matter how small."

Now I'm saying, "A girl is a girl no matter her octave."

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Accomplish Your Goals, Don't Fear Them

You've set goals, now it is time to work towards them.

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Fearing something that has yet to happen wastes time that you could actually use to better yourself.

And that is exactly what I plan on fixing NOW and so should you. Yes, I do fear the act of growing but it won't stop me. Some days, it seems so hard just to keep going. You can have your long-term goals in sight, but yet you are questioning if what you currently have to do in order to get there is worth it.

Then I remember, nothing was achieved in the comfort zone. Everything I want is not where I am currently today. Rather it is located in places I have yet to tap into. I must get there. We must get there. To places that really push us as nothing has before. With this great push will come the tremendous growth that we need. It doesn't matter how long it takes us to get there, we just must keep going.

I am going to end by saying this: it's okay to be scared, but don't let it stop you. You have to find your voice even when it's lost among others no matter how hard it gets or how inconsequential you think your ideas may be.

Work hard to prove to yourself and others that you indeed can do it. Find your passion in life and run with it hard. Working towards your goals no matter what they are, will be hard. Yes, you will have success, but there will also be seasons of doubt. In those seasons, you must find ways to overcome them.

Imagine if you decide to stay where you were right now; would you be happy? Would you be happy and content with what you have accomplished? If not, work on fixing that. The time is now to figure out your hopes and dreams and work towards getting to that point. There are 24 hours in a day and today is the day to start making the change we desire.


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