He “assumed” he would be welcome, did he? Well he obviously assumed wrong! I used to be a Girl Guide (albeit in France, in a very conservative Catholic movement with strict no-boys rules) and I would have resented it greatly if a fellow member’s friend had been allowed to crash a meeting. The key word here is ‘member’. You don’t just wander in, it’s not the local library! The only non-members who were allowed to take part in meetings were people who were considering joining and wanted to see what it was like. This obviously cannot apply to him; what part of ‘girl guide’ does he not understand? What on earth possessed his friends to invite him without checking it was all right anyway? They at least should have known better. Oh wait, I know, they must have “assumed” it would be fine. Silly me.
Plus, that boy is an idiot; if he wanted to visit a convent and the nuns didn’t let him in, would he be making such a fuss? Actually, he probably would… In this world of rights without responsibilities, God forbid that anyone should be barred from doing exactly what they want.
“Guiding bosses have fiercely defended their stance, saying it was ‘vital’ in today’s society for a girls-only group to be available.”
Couldn’t agree more. I asked to go to an all-girls school at the age of 12 after being badly bullied by boys at my previous school, and it was like a breath of fresh air. I loved the Guides but would never have joined in the first place if boys had been allowed, which would have been such a shame as I would have missed out on a wonderful experience. OK, I’m an extreme case as I totally hated boys as a teenager and never wanted to come into contact with one ever again (I got better) but I do think it’s healthy for boys and girls to do some activities separately.
My old school started accepting boys the year I left, which made me feel sad and was against their principles (the school was originally founded by nuns and there were still a few teaching there), but they were probably not getting enough girl pupils and losing too much money. Nowadays boys and girls are used to being together all the time and probably see it as cruel and unfair to be separated, but that’s because they can’t see past their hormones.
Apparently boys do better at co-ed schools (probably due to the girls’ ‘civilising’ influence, ha ha) but girls do better at single-sex schools, and I can see why. Girls behave very differently when boys are around. They’re suddenly in competition with each other for the boys’ attention, which is not conducive to a good atmosphere; I saw it with my own eyes in my last year at school, when the new boy in my class acquired a groupie following on the first day! Before the male invasion, no one cared what you looked like and there was no stigma against being academic. A breath of fresh air, I tell you. And contrary to the stereotype, the girls were not bitchy at all.
Same thing with the Guides. The uniform may have been just a little bit on the unflattering side but there was no one to laugh at us, make us feel self-conscious or label us “fit” or “minging” (see below – pic from the web, don’t try looking for me!).