Thursday, 26 July 2007

Bye-bye girl guides

When I was a little girl, I was desperate to be a Brownie. Most of my friends were Brownies, and I was on the waiting list as soon as I was old enough. But we moved house about every year to 18 months because of my father's job. Before I reached the top of the list, we moved to another area, and I had to start again at the bottom of a new waiting list. By the time I reached the top of a waiting list, I was too old.

So I have some lingering affection for the Girl Guide Association generally. Unfortunately, if I ever have daughters, I won't any longer be wanting them to get involved with this organisation in the UK, because of this.

The claim is that the Association should be not just teaching girls as young as 10 about safe sex, but training up older girls as "peer educators". Where will morality and the "option" of total abstinence come into this? Won't it just reinforce the view which so many young girls already get from the media and from their peers in the playground that if they're abstaining, they're the only one?

Worse still, the information pack to be given to trainers on this topic contains the words, "What you consider to be an inappropriate relationship may not be inappropriate to others." In other words, anything goes and don't you dare try to bring value judgements into your discussion.

So what of the claim that they're only responding to what the girls have asked for? Apparently "safe sex" came fourth in a poll of 1,000 members (out of 580,000).
Well, I understand that this poll was a "tick box" questionnaire: tick which of the following issues you would like to see covered. Any tick box questionnaire gives results that are skewed in favour of the prejudices of the person who designed it.

I wonder how many of these girls, asked to make a list on a blank piece of paper of things they would like to learn about from Girl Guides, would independently have chosen to include safe sex in their list?

I suspect it would have been a lot fewer than 80% - but with the way "safe" sex is pushed as the solution to everyone's problems at every possible opportunity in the media and educational circles, I bet many ticked the box unthinkingly, assuming that it must be a good topic because they'd heard the phrase mentioned so often in a positive context.

Oh well, never being a Brownie didn't hurt me that much...


Anonymous said...

Ours boys & girls go to Beavers,Cubs & Scouts. The Holy Father wrote in appreciation of the Scout Movement 100 year celebrations..our group is Catholic Christian based & i can't imagine them having any of that awful brownie/girl guide stuff..just as well that movement seems on the decline..

Ma Beck said...

Brownies sucked.
It was my mom's attempt to broaden my social horizons.
I hated it.
This was shortly before she enrolled me in (I'm not making this up) Charm School.

newhousenewjob said...

I have to ask, Ma... Did you graduate from Charm School? ;¬)

Ma Beck said...

Well, no.
I didn't even attend one single class - skipped them all.
My, how could you tell?

diana said...

I cannot picture you Ma, in Charm School! and that's a good thing!

I had a Little Flowers Girls Group, which is based on the virtues. I think I got more out of it than they did. It's an alternative with sashes, badges, etc, but our group was more informal (ie *lazy* since I was running it).