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A Feminist Rant

I’m sorry for the tangent but I absolutely cannot keep this in any longer.

In May of 2006, I was recognized for my efforts in the span of one year in leadership and community service for the Girl Scout Gold Award. I was given this award with four other ladies, two of whom I worked with on the project.

I am extremely proud of this award and I am proudly still a Girl Scout because I then got lifetime membership. I am incredibly supportive of the Girl Scout corporation and, when I become more established in my working and personal life, I will be an ambassador for the GSUSA corporation and, possibly, become a volunteer leader.

I have also had exposure to the world of Boy Scouting: between the ages of 13 and 21, I volunteered my time at Camp Ammon, a Boy and Girl Scout camp that we give our time for State Fair. The camp was very regimented, very militaristic and very Boy Scout-oriented. I loved the camp as a camper and only realized how the men at Ammon felt about Girl Scouts during my staffer yeasr and especially my last summer there.

For those of you unfamiliar with the GSUSA and BSA corporations, here we go:

The Boy Scouts of America was created by Robert Baden-Powell in the 1911. Boy Scouting is on the basis of (according to Wikipedia) “train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations.” The BSA has many different ranks based on your age and achievements and merit badges. The highest level of rank you can get is the Eagle rank.

The Girl Scouts of the United States of America was founded by Juliette Gordon-Low in 1912 after she was aquainted with Baden-Powell. She created the Girl Scouts with the direct intent of giving girls the same experience that the Boy Scouts created but, at the time, it was geared more toward the actual needs of a woman in that time. In the last 99 years, Girl Scouting has evolved into something more toward the modern woman in that the goals are very similar in that they (also from Wikipedia)”…aim to empower girls and to help teach values such as honesty, fairness, courage, compassion, character, sisterhood, confidence, and citizenship through activities including camping, community service, learning first aid, and earning numerous badges by acquiring other practical skills. Girl Scouts’ achievements are recognized through rank advancement and by various special awards.” The ranks and awards are also contingent on age and badges they receive. The highest awards for Girl Scouting is the Gold Award. Juliette was also a Boy Scout and received her Eagle Rank.

My issue comes with Boy Scouts claiming the Gold Award is a “little sister” of the Eagle as if it’s 100 percent less than the Eagle.

Context: One of my Camp friends is a volunteer leader for the Boy Scouts. Five of his boys were just accepted for their Eagle rank and he congratulated them on his Facebook status. Sarcastically and glibly, I commented knowing he would view it as a joke, “You’re almost as awesome as a Gold Award recipients.” and “That’s not what the president says” when he went back to the ‘BSA is better than GSA’ deal. He played along. However, another man from Camp didn’t quite get the joke. “Politicians lie” was what he said and I instantly became outraged.

“I am so sick of you boys de-valuing your counterpart’s highest awards. You must think all the Girl Scouts do is sit around and craft and make shit out of lanyards all day. Just because the Gold Award isn’t as well-known as the Eagle doesn’t make it less of a HUGE honor! I was grandfathered into the shorter program but the Gold takes so much dedication and a lot of time to complete. Hell, it’s even hard for your program to be accepted! There’s a reason why only a few women receive it every year- it takes a lot of tenacity and passion to get this far in Girl Scouting. I think it’s sad that the Boy Scouts think we’re nothing but a bunch of silly girls with our crafts, and that you’re so superior. The Gold Award has just as much weight on my resume as your Eagle and I, like many other Girl Scouts, am so proud that I have MANY letters of commendation from the most important people and organizations in this country for receiving the highest honors of this country in Girl Scouting.”

The situation didn’t stop there. When this man commented that “I started it” and saying I was being sexist and offensive when he’s the one who called me “dear.” I retalliated:

First off, ****. Don’t call me “dear” ever again. I find it de-moralizing and makes you sound like a pretentious jerk.
I also find your interpretation of my comment sexist and small-minded.
I did not “start” anything. I sarcastically (hence the emoticon) commented. you’re the one who said ‘politicians lie’ which infers that the fact that my Gold Award was recognized by the leader of our country (as well as a whole host of other leading politicians and military organizations) but they don’t really care but oh, if they recognized the efforts of an Eagle, that’s a different story.
I never said “only girls can make crafts” because I know plenty of male knitters and I’m all for them! But if you decided to properly read my comment you’ll see ‘you must think all the Girls Scouts do is sit around and craft…” meaning that’s all you people think we’re good for- that the GSA is about making us into little housewives from the time we’re Daisies. You do “proper” training like learning how to survive in the wild (something we Girls do too, thank you very much) so you’re better automatically.
The Gold Award is no “Little Sister” to the Eagle. They are both the highest awards a Scout can receive and they are both nationally recognized as such. They are EQUAL! The Gold Award name has been changed over the years making it less well-known, but not, in any way, less prestigious.
It really doesn’t matter what I say to you pretentious Boy Scouts- you won’t budge from your holier-than-thou ledge so here’s my Flounce.”

I have the utmost respect for the men in the Boy Scouts of America but when you start pulling out the ‘I’m better than you’ 1950s “your job is to make a home for me and have dinner on the table when I come home from being home the bacon’ I think it’s time for you to step back and figure out what year we’re living in.

This is purely the feminist in me but I couldn’t just sit placidly by while my entire gender as well as the work I spent a year doing was being attacked. I spent one year getting my Gold Award- that was the timeframe I was given. Boy Scouts have from the age they’re 15 to their 18th birthday to get Eagle rank. Eagle rank requires you have 21 merit badges and only 12 of them are specific to have during the process. Girl Scouts have to had achieved leadership awards as well as log volunteer hours before being considered for the award. Both awards require major hours of diligence toward leadership and philanthropy during the course of their experiences.

These two awards are on different levels; however, they are of equal importance to one another. The Gold Award is, in no way, a “Little Sister” to the Eagle Rank.

And how dare you tell me that my achievements, that were recognized nationally, are any less than yours. I am one of 5,000 recognized Gold Award recipients. More than 2 million young men have received the Eagle Rank. The Eagle rank is like the American dollar: let anyone get it and give them 3 years to do it, and it’ll be of less importance with every year that passes. Let anyone get it and give them one year to do it, and you’ll end up with a much more elite group of people of whom you can call sisters.

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