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ianwilkins

What do you mean by "men" and "manly"?

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Strong. Proud. Capable. Action oriented. Standing tall. Not complaining, whining or gossiping. Not prone to tears when someone challenges them. Not automatically depending on help in hard situations.

and

To protect the weak, stand for your beliefs, respect women, seek adventure, be self-sufficient, and take charge when needed. Respect and civility toward the other. Showing leadership when it is needed. Doing the right thing even if it is the tough thing. Knowing enough self-sufficient skills so you can help your self and others in an emergency. Being adaptable. Learning to work in a band of brothers.

What I find interesting is that these are some of the very same traits we want for our girls as they grow up to become women (and nothing @@fred johnson or @@Tampa Turtle have posted implies that they would disagree with this).

 

So when many people talk about "turning boys into men" what they really mean is "helping male children grow up to be adults of good character".

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There is a cultural gap ... A story at the Brits' expense:

 

Year's ago, at a family picnic, one of Son #2's teenage friends commented, in my hearing, that her brother "looked like such a girl."

My uninvited reply, "He has quite the manly frame, only in a British theatre sort of way."

The boy was never a scout, but he grew up to be a fine actor.

:D

Edited by qwazse
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and

What I find interesting is that these are some of the very same traits we want for our girls as they grow up to become women (and nothing @@fred johnson or @@Tampa Turtle have posted implies that they would disagree with this).

 

So when many people talk about "turning boys into men" what they really mean is "helping male children grow up to be adults of good character".

 

I agree.  I have no problem with girls joining scouts.  I think it's part of keeping the program current and helping our scouts be citizens in a modern society.  And, most of the lessons taught by scouts is gender neutral.  

 

With that said, I do often think of scouts as a way to help my boys mature and become strong, capable men.  Heck, I've had kids in our troop that fell apart on simple camp outs, but were stars on their football team.  Stars on the sports field, but unable to handle spiders, rain and the dark.  They were able to shine in their expertise, but unable to adapt to adversity.  

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Honestly I think the whole "manly" argument in the context of the discussion of girls in the BSA is a red herring. It's the easy answer to give if you're against girls in Boy Scouts, because it attempts to cut off any argument to the contrary based on a gender divide alone. Reduce the discussion to physical qualities that men are believed to more often possess, and it's harder for someone to argue against that. 

 

I think it is intended to distract from the fact that scouting is almost entirely about things that are not exclusivly "manly". We go camping a lot, sure. And there's a bit of a manly element to that certainly. But camping and the outdoors is just a vehicle for delivering the scouting purposes and methods. The top thing people always say when asked what scouting is about is "character development". There's no "manly" requirement for character development. No gender advantage. Girls are equally capable of developing strong character as boys are. 

 

If anybody had asked me, which they didn't, I wouldn't say the top thing scouting is about is character development.  For me, the top thing scouting is about is helping boys transition into manhood.  Character Development, Physical and Mental fitness, Leadership might be the aims of Scouting but they are the byproducts of the process.  The process is what matters.

 

I also think the idea of girls in the BSA hurts some folks' sense of what scouting is all about to them.

 

We all have our personal truth regarding our "sense of what scouting is about."  Why is your interpretation any more valid than mine or anybody else?  Short answer, it's not.  We all have reasons for being involved or having involved our kids.  Any change in policy requires a re-evaluation of that value proposition.

 

Adding girls into the mix makes some people believe that scouting is now less manly just because of the possibility of girls being present. Look at social media responses to this and you'll see lots of teenage boys saying they're quitting, even though many are of an age where they could finish out their youth scouting careers without ever seeing a girl in their troop or at camp. It's about ego, and some people are struggling with the fact that Boy Scouts really wasn't quite as manly as they thought it was.

 

It may look like ego to you but it looks like young men standing on principle to me.  Exactly the kind of behavior I'd expect from solid young men.  Trust and Loyalty are funny things, they are only owed to those who earn it.  But beyond that, the scouts in the program are customers of the BSA's service.  If that service changes then they are within their full rights as customers to decide if they care to continue purchasing the service.  That simply falls under the category of free market reality.  Just because you choose to continue to purchase the BSA's service doesn't make another person's decision to discontinue wrong.  You may disagree with the reason but they are living their own lives.

 

Just the idea that girls can do this is enough to make some boys want to quit. 

 

Again, your perspective, your truth.  Since I suspect neither of us have surveyed all the boys (or even a representative sample) who may have decided to quit as a result of the change, we can't attribute reasons to them with a big broad brush.  Some may be quitting because it feels less manly, some may be quitting because they don't want to compete with girls, some may be quitting because they like the  single-gender program where they don't have to deal with girls, some may be quitting because they feel betrayed by an organization they trusted, some may have been on the edge and this is the excuse, some may be driven out by their parents, etc..  I suspect we could go on and on with possible reasons.  

 

The BSA portrayed manliness through policy, not program. Now that policy is gone, and with it goes the one thing that let many people think scouting was primarily about building up manly men. 

 

So this is a little confusing in your argument.  If the BSA portrays manliness (whether policy or program), and it "let many people think scouting was primarily about building up manly men," then isn't that what it is?  Since perception drives reality, what "many people" think scouting is about is pretty much what it's about.  This change, whether you agree or disagree, changes that perception for the many.

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So this is a little confusing in your argument.  If the BSA portrays manliness (whether policy or program), and it "let many people think scouting was primarily about building up manly men," then isn't that what it is?  Since perception drives reality, what "many people" think scouting is about is pretty much what it's about.  This change, whether you agree or disagree, changes that perception for the many.

 

 

There is a huge difference between the (former) policy of the BSA and what the program actually is. Part of the perception of manliness comes from images of ranks of boys and men lined up on parade fields. It looks almost militaristic. In reality, those kids are often clearing off those parade fields after the flag ceremony to go do some basket weaving or knot tying. The program isn't quite as manly as the policy-driven all-male image would suggest. 

 

I agree the policy change alters some perceptions of the BSA. But that doesn't make those perceptions accurate. Should we really make policy decisions based on some peoples' inaccurate ideas of what the BSA really is? 

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Thanks all. Interesting stuff. Turns out it was much as I thought from my cultural framework. Mostly Scout Law + Clint Eastwood, but it depends. :)

 

Probably almost as vague a question as "what is scouting?"* :)

 

* No, don't answer that. :)

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Reading this thread reminds me of the Lumber Jack sketch.

 

I cut down trees. I wear high heels,
Suspendies, and a bra.
I wish I'd been a girlie,
Just like my dear Papa.
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Would somebody please reference the BSA source material for "manly" or "turning boys into men"?  I've read and re-read the "Aims and Methods of Scouting" and the word "man" doesn't appear and the only derivative that does is "humankind". 

 

Just as the Guide to Advancement delineates the requirement as written - no more and no less - as the standard by which a Scout's merit badge or an advancement is attained, I believe Scouters are bound to the Aims and Methods - no more and no less - as our purpose.

 

We get ourselves into trouble when we invent our own aims & methods.  We're much better off when we stick to the book.

 

You're looking for the section "What Scouting Means" in Chapter 1 of the Scout Handbook, first edition. It's also the home of my favorite statement on Scouting: "To be a scout means to be prepared to do the right thing at the right moment, no matter what the consequences may be."

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You're looking for the section "What Scouting Means" in Chapter 1 of the Scout Handbook, first edition. It's also the home of my favorite statement on Scouting: "To be a scout means to be prepared to do the right thing at the right moment, no matter what the consequences may be."

One of my favorites as well because all too often "be prepared" is interpreted as simply "having gear" instead of a mindset regarding action.

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To protect the weak, stand for your beliefs, respect women, seek adventure, be self-sufficient, and take charge when needed. Respect and civility toward the other. Showing leadership when it is needed. Doing the right thing even if it is the tough thing. Knowing enough self-sufficient skills so you can help your self and others in an emergency. Being adaptable. Learning to work in a band of brothers. 

 

I think this one aligns best with my personal standing on the topic.   

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If BSA is oriented to helping boys become men through character building and leadership development, does that mean we are to turn girls into men too?  Or are we going to need to change the whole program from start to finish? 

 

A tweak here and there to accommodate the girls isn't going to cut it.

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If BSA is oriented to helping boys become men through character building and leadership development, does that mean we are to turn girls into men too?  Or are we going to need to change the whole program from start to finish? 

 

A tweak here and there to accommodate the girls isn't going to cut it.

 

It appears that the mission has become to help children become adults through character building and leadership development (and fitness and service to others.)  I cannot think of a single part of the official Cub Scout or Boy Scout program that would not apply to girls.  Can you?

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