Manicures, make-up and celebrity fashion …the rise of the girlie guides
08:15 GMT, 12 March 2012
Their mothers would have spent hours hiking through the woods or learning how to light a campfire.
But today’s girl guides are just as likely to earn their stripes for giving each other manicures, putting on make-up or discussing what celebrities are wearing.
The activities, which have names such as ‘Glamorama’ and ‘Passion 4 Fashion’, have been condemned by critics, who say they add to the ‘objectification’ of young girls and make them grow up too soon.
Tradition: Two girl guides in 1922 – they would have spent hours hiking through the woods or learning how to light a campfire
They warn that impressionable guides are being turned into ‘glamour pusses’ when they should be left to enjoy simple pursuits such as playing games.
Guides, who range in age from ten to 14, are awarded Go For It! cards, which count towards challenge badges, for completing a themed activity over four weekly meetings.
Their units can choose from 26 activity packs including Parties, Chocolate and Showtime, as well as Passion 4 Fashion and Glamorama.
Criticised: The activities, which have names such as Glamorama and Passion 4 Fashion, have been condemned by critics, who say they add to the 'objectification' of young girls and make them grow up too soon
The latter, Girlguiding UK tells its members, is an ‘ideal opportunity for you and your patrol to have a go at some fantastic activities and make yourselves feel good and glamorous!’.
Its website says: ‘From face masks to massage and manicures to manic hair, there’s loads for you to do.’
In one ‘Makeover Madness’ activity, girls are told to imagine they are going to the Oscars or a ball.
They are told to bring in their own make-up and are instructed on how to test foundation on their jaw line and apply blusher.
The activities in Passion 4 Fashion include designing a fashion magazine and reporting on ‘celeb fashion news’. Guides should consider questions such as: ‘Who’s wearing what Is it hot or not’
Sue Palmer, a literacy expert and author of Toxic Childhood, said: ‘I don’t think girls need encouraging to be glamour pusses. There are enough people out there encouraging them into that particular rather counter-productive female stereotype.
‘Ten-year-olds are not supposed to be glamorous. Why reward or give awards for something like that’
Margaret Morrissey, of pressure group Parents Outloud, said: ‘We have to allow girls to see they can gather together as a group and have lots of fun. They can get dirty, look scruffy and do anything they want.’
A Girlguiding UK spokesman said its 530,000 members have the ‘freedom to choose what they want to explore’.
He said Glamorama was introduced in 2004 and also included sections on ethical cosmetics, different cultures and exercise.
He added: ‘Other Go For It! resources include Space, through which girls can learn about the origins of our solar system, Top Job, which encourages them to think about different careers they could pursue…and Football, which features skills training and the laws of the game.’