Girl Scouts serve up message on consent

Consent is about much more than saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ — it’s about deciding your response for yourself, feeling comfortable in your decision and not being swayed by others to act in a certain way.

A new essay released by The Girl Scouts discusses this very topic, according to Glamour; called “Reminder: She Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at the Holidays,” the essay warns parents to not force their children to “hug or kiss relatives and other people” and not make their children believe that they “owe” someone a hug by sheer virtue of their relation.

While Glamour reports that much has been made about the message the piece is sending, with some criticizing the essay for sexualizing greetings among family members, the piece makes clear that it is not about this. It is instead about not having parents impose their will on their children while letting kids decide who they feel comfortable greeting and how. An excerpt reads:

“Think of it this way, telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn’t seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she ‘owes’ another person any type of physical affection when they’ve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life.”

And this, says Glamour, doesn’t mean that kids won’t naturally decide to hug or kiss family and friends; the point is to not force those who are hesitant and perhaps encourage other polite ways of interaction.

As the piece so succinctly concludes, “Give your girl the space to decide when and how she wants to show affection.”




Girl Scout wants girls to raise their hands

Girls should never feel unable to speak up — not in a classroom as kids and not in a conference room as adults. And one young girl scout is aiming to teach girls just that.

According to Scary Mommy, Alice Paul Tapper (daughter of CNN’s Jake Tapper) wrote an op-ed published in The New York Times, called “I’m 10. And I Want Girls to Raise Their Hands,” all with an aim of getting her peers to speak up and use their voice in the classroom. But not only did she write on the topic, she also took action.

After noticing boys standing in front and answering all the questions on a fourth-grade field trip, Scary Mommy says Tapper went back to her Girl Scout troop feeling upset, thinking girls didn’t want to speak up because they were afraid to answer the question wrong or because the boys were already owning the limelight. After sharing her concerns, her friends said they noticed the issue too, and decided to create a “Raise Your Hand” Girl Scout patch, which is now an official badge with all Girl Scout troops.

Writing on its goal in her op-ed, Tapper explained she hopes the patch will encourage girls to use their voices despite their fears or worries.

“People say girls have to be 90 percent confident before we raise our hands, but boys just raise their hands. I tell girls that we should take the risk and try anyway, just like the boys do. If the answer is wrong, it’s not the end of the world. It’s not like answering a trivia question to win a million dollars on live TV.”

Amen to that.