The Girl Scout organization has played an important role in the lives of many girls in the United States and around the world. Despite its prominence and popularity, relatively little is known about how this organization has circulated notions of gender and how it has defined the girlhood experience for its members. Taking a longitudinal approach, we performed a content analysis of Girl Scout badges and badge requirements from 1913 to 1999. Our findings indicate that over the past century the Girl Scout organization has reduced its insistence on traditional femininity, maintained its support of members participating in traditionally masculine domains, and increased its backing of a more androgynous socialization of female youth. These changes reflect the rise of a more fluid and dynamic understanding of girlhood within the Girl Scout organization.

Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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