When people think about Girl Scouts, the first thing that probably comes to mind are little girls selling cookies; when they think of Boy Scouts, most think of camping, knot tying and other activities deemed masculine. These are common misconceptions about these gender-based groups. However, there is an evident and significant separation between these groups and the benefits it can serve to its members.
For the majority of Girl Scouts, their troops tend to dissolve after elementary school. So it is not a surprise that nobody knows about the Golden Girl designation. This title is given to the highest ranking Girl Scouts, a title achieved after reaching the age of 18 and completing a seven-step community project. It is supposed to be the equivalent of an Eagle Scout, a well-known and respected title throughout American society. However, these titles are far from equal. The fact that when people hear the title Golden Girl they think about an American sitcom with Betty White proves just that.
Essentially, both pledge to do the same thing: to serve the community and to be kind to everyone within that community. According to the Girl Scouts website, this organization works
to “unleash the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker and Leader) in every girl.” By comparison, The Boy Scouts of America “builds character, trains [boys] in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness.” However, despite their similar pledges,
the two groups have significant differences, the majority being determined by gender. Boy Scouts mainly sell popcorn and wreaths to raise money to support their troop, whereas Girl Scouts sell their famous cookies. While Boy Scouts learn about fishing, camping and other survival skills, Girl Scouts learn how to do crafts. Boy Scouts have a significant focus on STEM learning, whereas Girl Scouts focus more on the arts. This idea of girls being associated with the arts and boys with STEM has been a part of society all throughout history, indicating how little progress has been made in terms of gender stereotypes.
“Boy Scouts is more independent work, whereas Girl Scouts is more troop work,” freshman Gemma Rice said.
Throughout the United States, there are roughly 1.8 million Girl Scouts. In comparison, there are about 2.3 million Boy Scouts. The statistics raise the question, why are Boy Scouts significantly more popular than Girl Scouts? Why is the title of Eagle Scout held in higher esteem than Golden Girl?
“There is probably a stigma against the Girl Scouts, feeling that all they do is sell cookies” said sophomore Jeffery Chen, who has participated in Boy Scouts for five years.
It has become obvious that the titles of Golden Girl and Girl Scout overall, are
overshadowed by the title of Eagle Scout and the entire idea of Boy Scouts. The common belief is that Girl Scouts are a group of little girls selling cookies and doing crafts. However, Girl Scouts put just as much effort into gaining their titles and badges as Boy Scouts, but do not receive the same recognition. Boy Scouts is still seen as the esteemed association it was during its establishment in 1910.
These standards indicate the unfair nature of separating girls and boys. Putting Eagle
Scout on a college application will make a significantly larger impact than putting Golden Girl, based on the information that the majority of people do not know what being a Golden Girl means. Regardless of who put in more effort, the one with Eagle Scout on their application will probably have the better chance. This is one of the largest factors of female advocacy for inclusion in Boy Scout troops.
With the decision of allowing girls to join Boy Scout troops almost immediately resulted in anger and a response from the GSUSA (Girl Scouts of the United States of America).
“So much of a girl’s life is a life where she is in a coed environment, and we have so much research and data that suggests that girls really thrive in an environment where they can experiment, take risk and stretch themselves in the company of other girls,” said Lisa Margosian, chief customer officer for Girl Scouts. This association argued that having a single-gender environment was more supportive and more inspirational for young girls. Their belief was that Girl Scouts was more tailored to the needs of young girls similar to how Boy Scouts was more tailored to the ways of boys. This assumption is incredibly unfair and shows how the stereotypes of girls and boys have been applied to these prestigious groups. One showcases masculinity, with camping and survival skills whereas the other shows the artistic and feminine side of its members. In this century, it should be acceptable for a girl to want to be outdoors and go camping and for a boy to want to do crafts and sell cookies.
Since its creation in 1912, Girl Scouts has always been the lesser of the two associations. The benefits of being a Boy Scout outweigh that of being a Girl Scout by an overwhelming amount. The solution to this issue is already underway, with the decision of allowing girls to join Boy Scouts. This will give both boys and girls equal opportunity and end the stereotypical thought that girls are not interested in the outdoors and boys can’t be interested in crafts.