Engendering Children of the Resistance: Models of Gender and Scouting in China, 1919–1937
In the 1920s and 1930s, Chinese adapted scouting, which had originally been developed to masculinize British youth as future colonial troops. While Chinese families and teachers valued scouting as a form of outdoor recreation, Chiang Kai-shek and the Guomindang after 1927 connected scouting to preparation for military training. In addition to fostering masculinity among boys, the Chinese Scouting Association also directed Girl Scouts with new models of patriotic girlhood. The Guomindang promoted the distinct femininity of the Girl Scouts and channeled girls’ patriotism into nursing. As China entered World War II, Girl Scouts became significant symbols of patriotism in an increasingly militarized children’s culture. The Guomindang showcased Yang Huimin, a Girl Scout and heroine in the Battle of Sihang Warehouse, as a spokesperson for the Nationalist cause, but it could not fully control her public image.
Keywords: Girl Scouts, scouting, gender roles, China, World War II