My daughter nodded, a grin starting to form. She had not been one bit happy about being dragged to an air show.
“They didn’t make flight suits that fit women so the ladies had to roll up the legs and sleeves to make them fit.” She zipped up the suit, then rolled up the cuffs. “Come on, I’ll show you how to fly!”
She helped my daughter scramble up the wing and into the cockpit and proceeded to explain how the instruments worked, letting her use the pedals and rudder.
“During World War II, women flew planes like this all over and in some cases taught the men how to fly…”
It was a fascinating thing watching the change that come over my daughter. She held her head higher. She seemed more confident. She positively glowed. It was a striking transformation.
Her brother was not getting to do this.
I used to think that girls just needed the same opportunities as boys but I am thinking that is maybe less true. If her brother had been there he would have commanded all of the attention. She would have faded to the background. She needed her own opportunity, her own experience. My daughter needed the woman in the B-25 bomber to pull her to the side specially and tell her that she flew in this plane all the time, that girls, that women, CAN do amazing things.
This post was going to be about how grateful I was for all of the women in the world who take the extra time to help girls understand their history, to understand science, to help them reach their dreams.
And then the Boy Scouts announced girls could join up.
Now, I’ll be honest. I know the Girl Scouts are not all about cookies necessarily but that is what the world knows them for. I never wanted to be in the Girl Scouts as a kid. I didn’t want to have to compete at selling cookies. I wanted to do what the Boy Scouts were doing, having adventures, learning survival skills, but I never wanted to join the Boy Scouts because… boys… ick.
As a parent I have not enrolled my kids in either scout program. I simply don’t have time to be jetting off to two meetings and doing camp outs and projects for two different organizations. So, on some level I see the appeal, having both kids in the same program. But girls need their own space to feel special. Too often they get lost in the male crowd. They need mentoring from strong women.
All of this begs the question, what is wrong with being a girl? Why do we have to be more like the boys? Why can’t we be successful and adventurous in our own right? Why do we have to join the boys?
Why do we have to sell cookies?
I don’t think girls who want to join the Boy Scouts are bad but part of me feels the “allowing” girls thing is a bit insulting and maybe a bit embarrassing. Come, girls, join the BOY Scouts! Is being a girl such a shameful thing? Is being different bad? For all of the emphasis on cookies, perhaps the message is that Girl Scouts have missed the point. They are no longer relevant.