This is how I felt about Brownies. Actually with swimming, piano and ballet classes after school I was always glad I didn't have to go to Brownies. Until I turned 7 and discovered I'd been enrolled in 1st Studley Brownies.
I looked in the fake pond that was actually a mirror and insincerely made my Brownie Guide promise, struggling to co-ordinate my fingers into the correct contortion. I was 7, I really didn't give an imp.
Would I, or many other 7 year olds have cared or noticed a change to yet another oath we were told to recite? I doubt it. My fellow Imp Andrea Mann disagrees: "the only thing that made me feel more uncomfortable than the ditty I was forced to sing each week was the quite literal fear of God put into me by the spooky, modern church hall where the meetings were held."
Unsurprisingly I was the Brownie with the naked sash. The only badges I had were my imp badge, my Warwickshire County badge and, uh, that was it. I once, through shameless subterfuge, won a competition for most unusual pet. When it was revealed I had given a very interesting talk about feeding tinned mice to my rubber snake my fellow Brownies with their sense of sisterhood said I should lose my winner status.
I insincerely made my Brownie Guide promise struggling to co-ordinate my fingers...I was 7, I really didn't give an imp.
The (Brownie) Guide oath meant absolutely nothing to me. I went to a C of E, then Catholic school where I attended assemblies and sang about an apple seed, attended mass and only knew not to ingest the proffered wafer/Body of Christ. Rather like wearing pants, these were just things you had to do outside home. This could be because I was a vague/maverick girl who inserted plugs into LIVE SOCKETS.
More interesting to me is the comment that has come up on every article regarding the new equally wishy-washy oath about being true to the self. Why are girls allowed in Beavers (snort) and Scouts but boys can't join Brownies or Guides? The answer can't be 'because boys would look silly in culottes, those have been dropped from the uniform, but is Guiding caught with its culottes around its ankles on this girls only rule?
GirlGuiding.org says: "We give girls a space where they can really be themselves with other girls and share the experience of growing up as a girl in todayâs world." The studies that show girls excel in single sex classes back up the idea that it is beneficial for girls to have a single sex space to go to. But, unless Girl Guiding UK is prepared to start a single sex commune for former Girl Guides this is not how life is going to be for these young girls. Does this clash with the Guiding motto be prepared?
I used to write for a site where the deputy editor identified as a blue stocking and worked one night a week as a Brown Owl. Who knows, if she'd been my Brown Owl and there had been a feminist agenda rather than Future Home-makers of Studley theme I might have been a more enthusiastic Brownie.