Hegemony & Ideology of Girl Scouts

Ideology is a set of ideas, a set of positions you take towards the world, a set of beliefs. The Girl Scouts program advertises the idea that  members will  “have tons of fun, make new friends, and go on fantastic new adventures”. If I analyze the websites (text, pictures, and layout) the organizations ideology emerges as: ethical and structured activities for the character development of young girls.     The program centers around the ‘girl scout leadership experience’ resulting in making the world a better place. The site boasts  a hierarchy of traditions, involving  legacy badges, and 5 levels of Scouts in their “big, powerful sisterhood”. Their mission statement is “Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place”. They also have a Promise, and a Law, which supports patriotism and religious morals.
What we see presented in websites like this, are re-presented to make us think it’s real. Realistic photos of girl scouts staged to portray the organization a certain way. An image of an ethnically diverse trio of girls smiling and laughing, might just be a hopeful re-presentation to demonstrate that this organization is accepting of all races.  The history section of the site  tells of the Girl Scouts origins,  which began in Georgia 1912, as an outdoor educational program for youth, to “prepare girls to meet their world with courage, confidence, and character”. A realist would consider the year that the organization was formed, and wonder if it had been formed to complement the Boy Scouts (formed in 1910).
Hegemony  is  believing  ideologies that serve the interests of the powerful, but make the masses think it’s also in their interests. It is the set of ideas ‘the powerful’ have that are unquestioned, but get the consent of the masses who are needed to make sure the ideas succeed, even if it’s not in everyone’s interest.  The truer these ideologies feel, the more power they have (and the more like ‘common sense’ they appear). Having never been a Scout myself, the only exposure I’ve had to the Scouts is when I see them selling cookies. It’s possible that their organization relies heavily on everyone accepting their Ideology, as they’ve presented it without question, to perpetuate their Image as a wholesome activity organization for girls. Once everyone believes the same thing about the organization, it has power, and Even If no one has ever seen the activities themselves, people will still believe.
Ideology works best when it just appears to be ‘common sense’.  This site is presenting a certain view, and has an effect on  the resulting belief that everyone has about the organization. To help point out the ideology of the Girl Scouts organization, a statement that would never be allowed on the site, would be “we use children to sell cookies!”, which IS technically true, but it goes against the commonly believed Ideology of the organization [which is a non-profit].

http://www.girlscouts.org/ (Links to an external site.)


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