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Madison Scouts now officially co-ed

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13 minutes ago, Guitar1974 said:

This is a thoughtful and well-penned response, although I disagree in that I feel not allowing people to have the freedom to choose what is the best fit for them (coed or all-male/all-female) is, in itself, being exclusionary.  Why is it that an all-female group would no doubt garner a lot of support and an all-male group garner all the "discriminatory/exclusionary" etc response?  Can't we just allow there to be a diverse array of choices for people and be happy there are unique opportunities for those who wish to seek them?  I also marched a coed corps, gender has nothing to do with performance on the field.  I know plenty of guys who went to Scouts for the brotherhood and fraternity- the "magic" of that experience.  They benefited from the all-male aspect.  Why is this discriminatory when there are lots of great options for females in DCI?  I just find this all very contradictory.

“There’s something magical about the feeling of an all-female guard,” said Lydia Marshall, head drum major of the Crossmen. “When it clicks in DCI, it is one of the most empowering and inspiring things that you can see. It is absolutely incredible to share the field with those ladies and be in the show with them.”

 

So it's discriminatory by definition when of the roughly 3300 spots available in World Class Corps this summer, about 3260 were available to men and 3000 were open to women.  Was that a lot of spots for women?  Yes.  Was that an improvement over bygone decades?  Absolutely.  Was it an equal opportunity?  No.

As I said above, I'm open to the idea that a single gender corps or section offers some special and unique benefit to those members that you can only get by being single gender.  That might certainly justify it.  Clearly all boys and all girls schools make some version of that sort of argument (though they too are in decline).  But I think any nonprofit educational organization saying that only certain folks are allowed in deserves a fair bit of scrutiny. 

It's hard to speculate about an all-female corps because there hasn't been one in a long time, which in itself says something.  But if you were going to defend one and not the other, I think that idea of empowerment from your quote on the Crossmen is the key.  

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1 hour ago, crest99 said:

So it's discriminatory by definition when of the roughly 3300 spots available in World Class Corps this summer, about 3260 were available to men and 3000 were open to women.  Was that a lot of spots for women?  Yes.  Was that an improvement over bygone decades?  Absolutely.  Was it an equal opportunity?  No.

As I said above, I'm open to the idea that a single gender corps or section offers some special and unique benefit to those members that you can only get by being single gender.  That might certainly justify it.  Clearly all boys and all girls schools make some version of that sort of argument (though they too are in decline).  But I think any nonprofit educational organization saying that only certain folks are allowed in deserves a fair bit of scrutiny. 

It's hard to speculate about an all-female corps because there hasn't been one in a long time, which in itself says something.  But if you were going to defend one and not the other, I think that idea of empowerment from your quote on the Crossmen is the key.  

Additionally, the issue is that we do not live in a matriarchal society; we live in a patriarchal society.  Women have not dominated culture, politics, and society for roughly 5000 years and enforced the norms; men have.  That is why there is a big difference between an all-female corps and an all-male corps (or the guard question for that matter).  Not that Madison was inherently patriarchal; and not that the guard question can come down to a simple analysis of patriarchy either, it is more complicated than that, but that is certainly a major factor in the conversation and why some people's negative responses to the supposed change in tradition that comes with Madison moving to an inclusive stance (especially in regards to transgender members) can definitely be attributed to that.  Just because Madison has been all-male in the past does not mean there was not a variety of sexual orientations and gender identities in the corps; what is masculine to one person is not masculine to another.  I think this is what is hard for some people to get: We are all complicit in heteronormative patriarchy, white supremacy, and global capitalism because they existed before all of us who are posting on this forum were alive.  Systems and structures of inequality have limited our choices even if we have free will to make whatever choice we want.  This is, in part, why I am a big fan of Anthony Giddens and his work on structuration, and the terminology that he uses to describe this is "bounded agency."  We may have agency, but it is limited by the confines of the social systems in which we exist.

Edited by ndkbass
correcting grammar and syntax
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Thanks for the responses crest99 and ndkbass.  I understand where you are coming from and, like many, try to see both sides of the situation.  I still do not think it is fair to eliminate all-male options on the grounds of being exclusionary while condoning all-female as empowering, but I respect your points of view.  I am torn because I have boy/girl twins nearing marching age.  I love that there is so much support of females in DCI, but also lament the loss of options for my son.  Regardless, I hope nothing but the best for Scouts. 

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4 hours ago, chris7997 said:

Fourth, and I have to challenge the posts I say that say "leave politics out of this discussion" - first of all, there's free speech in this country. It's a free forum. Second, by saying that you are really saying, "I just want to hear my side of the argument, 'traditional value people' need to shut up."  

 

DCP is a privately owned entity. There are rules that you agree to follow when you sign up. One of those rules is that political commentary is not permitted. The 1st Amendment has zero to do with it, since it applies to the government limiting speech, not the owner of the website.

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11 minutes ago, Guitar1974 said:

Thanks for the responses crest99 and ndkbass.  I understand where you are coming from and, like many, try to see both sides of the situation.  I still do not think it is fair to eliminate all-male options on the grounds of being exclusionary while condoning all-female as empowering, but I respect your points of view.  I am torn because I have boy/girl twins nearing marching age.  I love that there is so much support of females in DCI, but also lament the loss of options for my son.  Regardless, I hope nothing but the best for Scouts. 

Not sure how your son has a "loss of options". He can still try out for all of the same corps he could have last year. Your daughter has one more choice than she had before is the sum difference in the Scouts expanding their potential member base. 

IMO the Scouts made the change to open up the potential member pool to attract as much talent as they can, regardless of gender. This is but one piece of the puzzle.

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4 hours ago, chris7997 said:

This is a terrible decision by the Madison Scouts. 

It's another result of political correctness.  And wrong on multiple levels (and for the DCI forum morality police, no, I don't mean that having a corps with women is wrong! So just relax).  

Having a diversity of corps with different traditions is a healthy thing.  Valuing diversity gives more people choice.  If I want to be in an all-male corps one year, I can. If I don't, and want to be in a co-ed, I can. I have choices.  Women in drum corps have 21 choices.  Heck, there may be an "all female" drum corps one day -- that would be kind of cool.  Diversity is a good thing. 

First of all, it's not promoting discrimination to just simply exist as an all male-corps.  DCI has what 22 World Class corps and 21 of them are co-ed.  

Second, Madison Scouts are a private organization and they can uphold whatever traditions they want.  We have all female private colleges. We have all black private colleges.  We even have, sadly in my opinion, all black graduations.  So the people who cry discrimination, practice discrimination all the time, excluding one group or another.  But when it comes to an all male corps..."NO! We can't have that!"  

Third, no one, and I mean no one, in the last 20 years...has gone to a DCI concert, heard the Madison Scouts and said, "Gosh, they are only all male? They must really be a discriminatory drum corps! They must hate women."  Not one.  People go, "Oh wow, unique."  And move on.  

Fourth, and I have to challenge the posts I say that say "leave politics out of this discussion" - first of all, there's free speech in this country. It's a free forum. Second, by saying that you are really saying, "I just want to hear my side of the argument, 'traditional value people' need to shut up."  

Lastly, most of the people who voted for this in the Madison Scouts organization wouldn't dare label an all-female corps as "discriminatory" or practicing "discrimination," nor try to lobby to get them to accept men.  Why is that?  Ultimately this boils down to the political correctness that pervades our society in thinking that it must be "BAD" if it's all men. 

If you value diversity and choice in Drum Corps, you will not like this decision by the Scouts.  If you don't value those things, you'll love it. 

Chris, take a bow for post of the year. Spot on

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3 hours ago, crest99 said:

>for me the difference is the historical connection between single-sex male organizations and power.

what are you talking about? 

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16 minutes ago, MikeD said:

Not sure how your son has a "loss of options". He can still try out for all of the same corps he could have last year. Your daughter has one more choice than she had before is the sum difference in the Scouts expanding their potential member base. 

IMO the Scouts made the change to open up the potential member pool to attract as much talent as they can, regardless of gender. This is but one piece of the puzzle.

Exactly all of this!

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17 minutes ago, FlamMan said:

Chris, take a bow for post of the year. Spot on

Yeah....no.  Not at all.  No one is saying that there cannot be an all-male corps, so chris7997 is just wrong in that regard.  Since you are an alumnus of Madison, would you feel the same way if it was Cavies and not Scouts?  Would chris7997?

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1 hour ago, ndkbass said:

Additionally, the issue is that we do not live in a matriarchal society; we live in a patriarchal society.  Women have not dominated culture, politics, and society for roughly 5000 years and enforced the norms; men have.  That is why there is a big difference between an all-female corps and an all-male corps (or the guard question for that matter).  Not that Madison was inherently patriarchal; and not that the guard question can come down to a simple analysis of patriarchy either, it is more complicated than that, but that is certainly a major factor in the conversation and why some people's negative responses to the supposed change in tradition that comes with Madison moving to an inclusive stance (especially in regards to transgender members) can definitely be attributed to that.  Just because Madison has been all-male in the past does not mean there was not a variety of sexual orientations and gender identities in the corps; what is masculine to one person is not masculine to another.  I think this is what is hard for some people to get: We are all complicit in heteronormative patriarchy, white supremacy, and global capitalism because they existed before all of us who are posting on this forum were alive.  Systems and structures of inequality have limited our choices even if we have free will to make whatever choice we want.  This is, in part, why I am a big fan of Anthony Giddens and his work on structuration, and the terminology that he uses to describe this is "bounded agency."  We may have agency, but it is limited by the confines of the social systems in which we exist.

This post should be required reading before anyone engages in these discussions.

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