Girls spend weekend busting stereotypes

FAIRMONT – It was a long Saturday for the fourth- and fifth-grade Girl Scouts in Fairmont, but the girls were able to walk away with some life lessons.

“This is the first time we’ve done an event like this,” said Michele Nelson, one of the organizers of the event. “We’re looking at the different roles that they see women play, from mothers, teachers, coaches. There are many roles in life that they may play, and we’re asking them what they see and what would they like to be.”

The workshop helped the girls accomplish the “aMUSE” journey, which is one of several journey series aimed at helping Junior Girl Scouts “discover, connect, and take action.”

For one of the aMUSE exercises, girls were asked to write down all the stereotypes they see against girls and women, which brought out everything from “Girls don’t play football” to “dumb blondes.”

“At the end, the girls are divided into four groups, and each is putting on a skit for their parents dealing with the different stereotypes,” Nelson said.

The girls also studied stereotypes and media messages, which earned them a Girl Scout patch for “Product Design.”

“We spent time looking at different advertisements and such,” said Cathy Malo, another Girl Scout leader helping with the event. “We talked about what audience the ads were aimed at, and we tried to look at products we use everyday. Then we asked the question, ‘How can we change these ads to apply for everyone or make them better?’ We talked about ads that they like part of it, but not another part, and what would they do to change that.”

Along with busting through stereotypes and ad messages, the girls also worked on their own images.

“They made role model dolls and we also had an accessory fashion show to show how certain things can help create the image of who we are,” Nelson said. “They really enjoyed that, and the adults even got in on the runway action. … The whole point is about busting stereotypes and them learning about what they can do.”