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E - Everyone

An Essay on the Boy Scouts of America

by manilla


A/N: Hello and thank you for reading! A quick note that I would probably add one more research study later in the essay (for logos), but for now, I'll have to find that. For reviews, if you could focus less on the grammar/typos and more on the larger arguments, that would be great. Enjoy the read!

Straightening my Boy Scouts uniform as Mom gives me a stern look, I know it’s time to get down to business. Pulling open the heavy door of the small church, I walk through the main hall and step down the stairs to the basement where our Troop congregates. The first thing I notice are the opposite gender - the younger boys running around chasing each other, or the older ones on their phones near the benches on the opposite side of the room. They make their presence quite large, even though they’re not always the leaders or the most outspoken ones in the Troop. I always walk to join the girls at the round tables, where they’ve gathered over their Scoutbooks and are poring over information they need to know for rank advancement. First aid, tying various knots and lashings, merit badges for dozens of topics, and many more activities that I’ve simply lost track of. The other girls work harder than I do, but I work harder than most of the boys. Girls were only let into Boy Scouts of America, which has simply renamed itself into BSA, in February of 2019. I was in eighth grade at the time, and there were only 5 girls who had joined in the first month or so: Lotte, Rachel, Aidan, Frieda, and Laurie. The five of us were enough to create our own Patrol, the Phoenix Patrol, and from that day forward we were made separate from the boys. I am now fifteen with my first class rank: Although it has been almost a year and a half, only six girls more have joined. There are several reasons why Scouting can upset me, and there are times I fear that the cons will overweigh the pros so I’ll never get my Eagle. As the organization I have known for only over a year, the presence of systematic sexism takes down what Boy Scouts can mean to me.

We’re called in for flag: a couple of Scouts are assigned with color guard, to carry in the local flag of our Troop and the American one, too. The Scout Oath and Law are recited by everyone, even the youngest Scouts, and the American Outdoor Code follows before our Senior Patrol Leader gives a run-down of what we’re doing this evening. I can’t help but think of all the homework I have to do, the geometry I struggle to understand or the history paper that I haven’t yet finished drafting, and as my mind wanders and wanders I realize that it’ll be awhile until we have another Senior Patrol leader that’s a girl. The first and only was Lotte - she’s standing in front of me as we are sorted by Patrols, the boys with their two and the girls with our overflowing one.

“Okay, boys, let’s-” the Scoutmaster stops himself to correct his mistake. My eyes drift downward to the ground: If my mom was here, she would’ve chided me for my bad attitude.

“Alright, everybody. Let’s get working.”

It’s clear to see that due to the simple lack of female leaders and younger female Scouts, the women here are frequently overlooked. Perhaps women as a minority has led to sexism, because throughout history majorities are bullying a minority for some reason based on a subjective thing. Gender just has to be one of them; a smaller percentage of women and girls means we have to make sure our efforts are shown.

The mentality of female Scouts and adult leaders having to work harder towards rank advancement than everyone else does not escape our Troop; it’s mainly due to that BSA didn’t let girls in until recently.

Along the margins of the troop are the adults; parents of younger Scouts line up by the children. It’s mostly proud fathers, whose sons and, only as of recently, daughters are currently going through the program or have already done so. But there are only three mothers who show frequently; Lotte’s mother, mine, and one of the boy’s. One of the most frequent topics that are not part of the upcoming activities list is Philmont - it’s short for Philmont Scout Ranch, and it’s a twelve-day trek in the backcountry. The Scoutmaster has been reminding my mom that we need a new adult leader, because Scout Youth Protection guidelines dictate that kids need another person of the same gender to be with them at all times. Lotte’s mom is reluctant to go again, and Rachel’s mom worries about her health, so the only mother left is mine. I wouldn’t be exaggerating when I say that she is nowhere near ready.

The Scoutmaster breaks us off into our activities, but as a bad mood drifts over, I decide to “take a break” from what’s going on. So I sit, quiet and alone with a pen in my hand, drawing flowers on my wrist. We’re probably supposed to be doing group work at the minute, and I know soon, I’ll get reminded by the adults to come in and join. I wonder what it would be like to talk to someone, to not view Scouting as pure work, to be able to experience it like the boys my age did when they were in sixth grade. They almost look like they’re having the time of their lives. However, in the most recent weeks, two young girls have joined our troop.

The current Covid-19 pandemic has prevented them from going to a real Troop meeting at the church, where kids their age are supposed to be playing while the older ones like us are supposed to be guiding them. I feel compelled to be of assistance to the younger Scouts for a reason I can’t ever say out loud: that I am the leader, they are the follower, and because the boys have not done a single thing about it the obligation has been passed along to me. It must be said that I do enjoy talking to one of the sixth grade girls, but I’m sad to say that there are just two in total. To put it frankly, girls aren’t interested in joining BSA. This generally means middle schoolers, but if put on an aggressive enough path, a freshman could still make it to Eagle in time. There are several reasons that I can think of why girls are reluctant to join. First and foremost, BSA is still labeling itself as Boy Scouts - that’s what the “B” in the acronym stands for, and girls can be afraid to join an organization that challenges their ideal of femininity. Perhaps she’s afraid of being seen as weird, or she’s instead prioritized other activities by now that take up her time. Either way, girls aren’t given the encouragement as children to break the gender norm; and our friend systematic sexism returns again. At this tender age, girls and boys are once again divided, left to form misconceptions about each other as the stereotypes burn themselves into daily life. Children are young and impressionable, and that fact is taken advantage of in ways we wouldn’t want or expect. But in Scouting, adults do their best to lead the kids into doing the right thing.

For the most part though, as much as our Troop likes to say it is Scout-run, the Scoutmaster does all the work in planning and preparation for outings. And for the jobs and tasks that the Scouts are required to do for themselves and their rank advancement, the girls my age have been taking charge compared to our peers. Sincerely I wish this was just a comparison, but the boys that were my age in eighth grade had already achieved their Star and Life ranks, the two right before Eagle. As of now, even though the latter ranks are much harder to achieve, the boys haven’t advanced much at all. It’s as if they’re fizzing out when the girls are starting to begin their last great efforts to Eagle. For example, Lotte has gotten her life rank in just over a year along with two other girls right behind her. We were worried when we first started that we wouldn’t finish before we aged out of the program at eighteen. The mentality among the now high-school aged Scouts, regardless of gender, is to get their Eagle rank as quickly as possible and drift away: But if that’s the case, how come the boys have not fully committed themselves to their goal? In January 2016, there was a study done for VoxEU by Azmat (et. al) about boys and girls’ testing habits at school. It noted that they responded differently to exam pressures depending on their significance. For low stakes, girls performed better, but for very high stakes, boys outperformed them. This parallels our troop - one can say that there’s no risks involved if you don’t make it to Eagle. The boys were given a lot of time, and technically they started before sixth grade if they were a part of Cub Scouts. What the boys learned there transferred over to BSA, and they were given until they graduated as high school seniors to rise through all of the ranks. A second comment the study made was that girls outperform boys in every school test, but the difference of girls doing somewhat better on low-stakes ones is minimized or even erased when the stakes increase. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of boys procrastinating their Eagle right now, like sophomores or juniors who understand that their academics and sports are going to take up more and more time away from Scouting. They fall into a sort of limbo, while the rest of us are trying to get it all done before junior year and college prep kicks in. Understandably, sexism has unknowingly contributed to our efforts in our Troop’s all-girl Patrol. This was the way we were “brought up” as Scouts from day one, and now, most of us now have exceeded our goals by a wide margin farther than what is necessary. But it doesn’t hurt to have your Eagle before you turn eighteen, doesn’t it?

Even with the integration of girls into BSA, sexism still exists to hinder the true experience of Scouting. As a female BSA Scout myself, this essay of mine is simply another walk into my day-to-day experiences. My current feelings about the time I have had with my Troop, the local branch off the larger organization that serves my area, are divided. Half of me wants to be able to appreciate the greater meanings and efforts of what we learn and the values we are taught, but it’s difficult to do so when I don’t feel like I’m a part of the community. Several of the girls I talked to who joined BSA feel similarly as I do, that the sexism existing in our society, whether it be patronizing or simply forgetting that girls exist, makes them want to reconsider their path. The journey to becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest achievement in BSA, is already tough and discouraging. But when a supposedly integrated experience continues to make girls and women there feel like a minority, the impact BSA has on its Scouts as a whole is belittled. Boys and girls will not grow up separately, and no new girls will even want to join at all.

It’s like change never happened.

On the other hand, people have begun to realize, finally, that in the 21st century it is paramount to raise girls as leaders. It’s important to bring them up right and teach them the skills they need to succeed across all fields of life, not just home duties or baby-raising.

So Scouting for girls is only the first step out of many more, and I was only unfortunate to get caught in the beginning. The organization’s mission and values have remained intact over the years and now, and every effort made is still an effort. Girls are learning how to serve their community and how to lead alongside boys, and the impact it has made on my life is nothing short of obvious. I have started volunteering for many different organizations and I’ve gotten outside to experience the great outdoors. Friends or no friends, whether I feel included or not, my positive feelings about BSA give me hope. My thoughts wander farther from just getting my Eagle rank, but knowing that girls will not be able to have my experience, but one better, resides with me. As much as hard work is work, it still gives great rewards - and that concept is older than sexism itself.


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Fri Sep 04, 2020 6:02 am
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ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Heya manilla,

I saw this hanging out in the Green Room, and I feel like? I've reviewed? And enjoyed? Your essays in the past? So here I am to give it another go. Let's get started...

They make their presence quite large, even though they’re not always the leaders or the most outspoken ones in the Troop.


I really like this line! It conveys your meaning really well. Like, I always have such a hard time describing it, but I know EXACTLY what you are talking about here, and just kudos to you for being able to describe it so succinctly.

a smaller percentage of women and girls means we have to make sure our efforts are shown.


In what sense? It kind fo sounds like you're talking about society as a whole, and I'm not sure stats support that claim? I think it's more of stronger picking on the weaker, and women have historically been silenced and marginalized, not that there's fewer of us, but that we've been told to sit down and shut up so we go unnoticed.

it’s mainly due to that BSA didn’t let girls in until recently.


This is a bold statement. I think it's likely correct, but it sits a bit off that you're making such a strong statement without supporting it with evidence.

To put it frankly, girls aren’t interested in joining BSA.


This is another one of those bold statements. You're definitely correct, broadly, girls aren't as interested in BSA as boys, but I personally desperately wanted to be in Scouts when I was a kid and was bummed that they didn't start allowing girls until I had aged out.

~ ~ ~

Overall, I really liked this essay! I think it was raw and to the point. I think every girl has experienced at some point in her life, whether or not she was conditioned to accept it as a "normal" way to be treated. I think this is a really important topic and I really admire you for having the courage to tell your story, when it's clearly something that's personal to you.

That being said, this did read more like a personal story than a proper essay. Like, the general mood of "girls need to be included in Scouts" was a clear argument, but like, it's not got essay structure. It's really undercited. It kind of rambles a bit -- which, for a personal narrative, is totally fine and makes sense since that's how we talk! But honestly, it felt more like reading a blog post than an essay.

I think if you're wanting this to be a persuasive essay then you should go through and tighten up your arguments a bit. Figure out what each paragraph is trying to work towards. Organize the thoughts a bit clearer so you know what each paragraph is adding to your overall argument.

But a fantastic topic! I highly enjoyed the read!

Keep writing!

~Shady 8)

Also, I am featuring a banner from the Banner Competition during all of the reviews I do for RevMo, so please enjoy this lovely submission by the wonderful @starlitmind


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Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:38 am
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Carina wrote a review...



Heyyo manila folder <3 It's been a while, and I saw this essay hanging out in the Green Room for a while, so I thought I'd leave you a review in the spirit of RevMo and friendship! You noted that you wanted reviews to focus on the bigger arguments at play so hope you don't mind me picking it apart. Let's get started~

A format of the essay usually has the following structure:

  1. Introduction: hook, scope, thesis
  2. Body: topic sentence, supporting details, concluding sentence
  3. Conclusion: restate thesis, summarize, final insights

...with, of course, there being as many body paragraphs as needed. I'm having a tough time identifying this structure because the essay reads more like a monologue than... well, an essay. It's not sloppy, per se; just nontraditional and a bit unclear of the goal, likely due to a muddy thesis, which I think is something like "BSA still has a lot of sexism." I highlighted what I thought were the bones (mostly topic sentences) of your essay:

  1. Introduction: "Girls were only let into Boy Scouts of America [recently] .... There are several reasons why Scouting can upset me, and there are times I fear that the cons will overweigh the pros so I’ll never get my Eagle. As the organization I have known for only over a year, the presence of systematic sexism takes down what Boy Scouts can mean to me."
  2. Body 1: "I realize that it’ll be awhile until we have another Senior Patrol leader that’s a girl."
  3. Body 2: "It’s clear to see that due to the simple lack of female leaders and younger female Scouts, the women here are frequently overlooked."
  4. Body 3: "It’s mostly proud fathers, whose sons and, only as of recently, daughters are currently going through the program or have already done so."
  5. Body 4: "I wonder what it would be like to talk to someone, to not view Scouting as pure work, to be able to experience it like the boys my age did when they were in sixth grade."
  6. Body 5: "To put it frankly, girls aren’t interested in joining BSA ... There are several reasons that I can think of why girls are reluctant to join." (*more on this later)
  7. Body 6: "... the girls my age have been taking charge compared to our peers."
  8. Body 7: "My current feelings about the time I have had with my Troop, the local branch off the larger organization that serves my area, are divided."
  9. Conclusion: "On the other hand, people have begun to realize, finally, that in the 21st century it is paramount to raise girls as leaders ... My thoughts wander farther from just getting my Eagle rank, but knowing that girls will not be able to have my experience, but one better, resides with me."

The problem isn't that it is a meh outline, but rather that I had to dig through the paragraphs to find these points. For example, in the Body 5 paragraph, the first sentence is about COVID-19, and then it goes on about how the girl (you) tends to be the natural leader while boys tend to be the followers, and then it goes on to the main point on why girls are reluctant to join BSA. These three points seem to jump all over the board without a real tie to each other, so I'm getting confused on what the purpose of this paragraph. Basically, my thoughts process becomes something like, "Okay, now we're talking about the effects of the pandemic. Oh, wait, never mind, it's about natural tendencies to lead and follow between the genders. Oop, nope, just kidding, it's about why girls might be reluctant to join BSA... unless? ... nope, that's the purpose, yep, okay."

My advice to you would be to outline, outline, outline! I know, it's boring, but it'll make your points much clearer. So if I were to redo the paragraph mentioned above, my topic sentence would be, "To put it frankly, girls aren’t interested in joining BSA." Then you can weave the other story-like details into it, and then talk about the findings from the studies. Right now it's the other way around, so it is a wee bit confusing. It'll require a lot of gutting, but if you do this for all the paragraphs, the essay will read much easier!

Second, I want to talk about evidence. I put a "more on this later" tidbit in the bulleted section above because I wanted to specifically say WOOHOO on implementing a study. Specifically, this bit here:

In January 2016, there was a study done for VoxEU by Azmat (et. al) about boys and girls’ testing habits at school. It noted that they responded differently to exam pressures depending on their significance ...


This was good! And the reason it's good is because an argument was made:

"... the girls my age have been taking charge compared to our peers ... The mentality among the now high-school aged Scouts, regardless of gender, is to get their Eagle rank as quickly as possible and drift away: But if that’s the case, how come the boys have not fully committed themselves to their goal?"


You made a statement, and then you go on to question the statement. Then, you provided an answer to that question. This is the basis of the scientific method: observe, ask a question, hypothesize, gather data, and draw conclusions. Using this logos method makes any essay stronger, so I'm glad to see it implemented. Unfortunately, however, this is the only place I see it implemented. If you're up for a rewrite, I challenge you to go through the essay and implement the scientific method some more. It doesn't even have to be anything super technical, either! Since this essay is from your POV, anecdotes and your own observations were used (more on that below), so why not go into detail on those observations. Here are some examples where I'd like some further details/proof:

I realize that it’ll be awhile until we have another Senior Patrol leader that’s a girl

It’s clear to see that due to the simple lack of female leaders and younger female Scouts, the women here are frequently overlooked.

The mentality of female Scouts and adult leaders having to work harder towards rank advancement than everyone else does not escape our Troop; it’s mainly due to that BSA didn’t let girls in until recently.

... the girls my age have been taking charge compared to our peers.


I also want to bring up the topic of anecdotal evidence. Here is the quote I have in mind:

As of now, even though the latter ranks are much harder to achieve, the boys haven’t advanced much at all. It’s as if they’re fizzing out when the girls are starting to begin their last great efforts to Eagle. For example, Lotte has gotten her life rank in just over a year along with two other girls right behind her.


So let's go through the scientific method...

Observation: "even though the latter ranks are much harder to achieve, the boys haven’t advanced much at all"

Hypothesis: "It’s as if they’re fizzing out when the girls are starting to begin their last great efforts to Eagle."

Data collection: "Lotte has gotten her life rank in just over a year along with two other girls right behind her."

The observation and hypothesis is fine, but I do have beef with the data collection, because anecdotes are the poorest data collection methods available. In fact, the scientific community rejects anecdotal evidence as evidence. And since you, an author and observer, are trying to convince the reader that BSA still has sexism (I think that's your thesis), the reader won't be convinced by stories from your point of view.

But you know what will convince readers? Facts. Cold, hard, objective truths. I recommend having your data collection come from an official source, such as the BSA website, and pull in statistics. Numbers cannot lie, so therefore it can influence opinions. For example, if you had said that, "Before girls were admitted to BSA, it took X years for boys to get to the desired rank. Now with girls being admitted to BSA, it takes boys Y years to get the desired tank, which is an increase of Z%. Compare this number with girls who take A years to get the same rank, and it is B% faster than the boys."

Now that will convince me.

Anyhoots, those are my main thoughts! A powerful thesis, well-structured outline, and logos appeal can definitely help level-up this essay. Hope this helps! Feel free to let me know if you have questions. :)

~Carina





"I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul."
— Pablo Neruda