Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Girl Guiding UK has been in the news recently after publishing the results of a survey revealing - amongst other things - that girls feel pressured to be sexy. This probably doesn't come as a great surprise.
Regular readers may remember that I help out with the Brownies in my village. The new term has just started up again, and a few of our girls have gone up into Guides - leaving us with a small pack and prompting the oft-recurring discussion about how many girls we never see because they go into Cubs/Beavers/Scouts instead. Parents can't necessarily afford to send their girls to both groups.
These two things came together in my mind - and it struck me that if you're running around climbing trees and getting muddy with the boys, you probably aren't worrying too much about whether they think you're sexy.
I do think there's space for a girls-only movement like the Guides, but I also think there are benefits to girls and boys spending more time together running around and having fun. Some girls seem to reach adulthood without ever having had male friends who weren't boyfriends - and at that stage, it's almost too late to break down the "mystery," leaving a raft of women who think men belong to a different species. I'm guessing this doesn't happen to girls who take part in Scouts - and speaking personally, I certainly benefitted from other hobbies which put me in regular contact with boys, at the age where we weren't expected to be friends in school. Maybe if Scouts and Guides had historically spent more time on joint events and activities, we could have had these benefits while also preserving some time for boys to be boys, and girls to be girls.
Did you have friends of the opposite sex, as a child / teenager? Do you think it helped to demystify them?