EARNING MERIT BADGES ANY WAY THEY CAN

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by Jen White

‘Would you like a dirty cookie?” asks Ryerson fashion student Elaine Robertson, who for the night, will answer more readily to Scout Master Ella LaForce.

It quickly becomes apparent that the Scandal Scouts aren’t your typical Girl Scout troop. They have their own version of Girl Guide cookies, some sassy “scoutfits,” and a few tricks up their skirts.

Robertson and Jules “LuLu” Folliot were at Sneaky Dee’s preparing for another night of scandal last Friday. The short skirts, high heels and scout hats made them hard to miss, even in the dark and dingy bar, all the while filling the place with an air of seduction. They then promised a fun night ahead.

The group was first created by Scout Masters Ella, LuLu and Mina Laforce. While laughing about an unfortunate hickey that wouldn’t go away, the girls joked that they deserved a badge for stuff like that.

They turned the joke into a website, where they posted information such as “How to pick-up chicks” and “The hickey hider.”

“(We were) just having fun with it, because that’s what we always do,” Robertson said.

Initially, the scout masters sought out members, but many girls ended up approaching them instead. Scout May Seven, the arts and crafts director, is a Ryerson fashion student who designed and sewed the girls’ uniforms. Scout Roxy Vegas is also a former Ryerson student who graduated from the fashion program a few years ago.

Justin Broadbent, an image arts Ryerson grad, is part of the boys camp and designed the scouts’ logo. The group is rounded out by Nurse Natasha, Roller Scout Melicious and Scout Em Fatale. But the scouts are about more than just scandal. “Scandal Scouts is a rebellion against stereotypes,” Folliot said.

“It’s always that old cliché,” Robertson said. “If you’re a girl, you’re a slut, but if you’re a guy, it’s like, ‘Yeah, do it!'”

The scouts’ main message is that it’s okay to be a woman and to be comfortable with your sexuality. “Anytime a woman goes anywhere out of being like a happy little housewife, she gets punished,” Robertson said.

“Rather than it being a name-calling thing, we wanted to reward people,” Folliot said.

The Scandal Scouts throw their own parties four times a year, where they bring in DJs or bands, and the girls get on stage between sets to play games or do giveaways. One such game is the “Wheel of scandal,” where one of the lucky spinners will get a whipping from Em Fatale and her riding crop.

“It’s mostly about having fun,” Robertson said. “It’s weird, in a society that pushes sex so much, women are so repressed.”

The women stress that these events are open to everyone. “The big thing, too, is that it’s a safe space. You can come here and be anybody, and do anything at any of our parties without judgment.”

The scouts also encourage opening up and being comfortable with who you are.” A lot of people in university are finding their sexuality or what they’re comfortable with, and we’re just trying to encourage it,” Robertson said.

“(It’s about) creating a positive space, because that’s what we want — we want somewhere where we feel comfortable.”

While the scouts encourage people to play, they remind them to play safe. “Everything we always do is positive,” Robertson said.

“Make sure you feel safe doing whatever you do,” Folliot said. “It’s like push, your envelope, but don’t push anyone else’s.”

Some people misunderstand what the girls are all about. They have received some odd requests, such as stripping at bachelor parties. “We had one really odd guy that asked if we could come over to his house and kick him for an hour,” Robertson said.

But most of the feedback they receive is positive. “We’ve been surprised, because we were prepared when we did this to get a lot of backlash.” Their Myspace.com profile has grown to about 260 friends, and men have been so supportive that they formed their own camp. “(Guys) just sort of think it’s great that girls can go out…and have their fun, and not wake up the next morning and be like, ‘I’m terrible.'”

Ultimately, the Scandal Scouts are simply trying to sell an attitude that goes beyond the sexual aspect.

“What we’re trying to do ideally is make a like-minded community…where everyone can come out, have fun, feel comfortable, and be together.”

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