What started several years ago as a 20-minute writing exercise in a graduate class has evolved into a new art installation dreamed up by photographer Stephen DeSantis, in which he explores the age-old Boy Scouts motto, “Be Prepared.”
As a graduate student in Chicago, DeSantis started his writing assignment pondering over Girl Scout cookies and fundraising. The theme stuck with him, and a friend gave him two scouting guidebooks from the 1950s. These instructional relics brought to light another theme: gender roles.
“I noticed in the guidebooks that the boys did one thing and girls did another thing,” DeSantis says. “I wanted to tackle the idea of how gender identity and gender roles changed since the 1950s.”