The Girl Guides of Canada dropped the name “Brownies” for reasons of political correctness. The action was well-intentioned, but the replacement name was unfortunate.
The new name, “Embers,” is supposed to mean that the young girls have potential for the start of something big in the future. I have two problems with this:
- I find it to be a kind of backhanded insult. As if to say that girls aren’t good enough people as they currently are, and must grow older in order to become better. I understand it’s supposed to relate to the message of training, learning, and improving, but I think the new name could result in a misinterpretation.
- Linguistically, an ember is not something that starts a fire. Instead, it’s something that’s a leftover of a fire that’s already burned out. Applying the name literally would mean that the girls’ promise has already peaked and faded, and it’s now just a slow burn until it dies out.
A far more appropriate name for the overall intended theme would be Sparks. A spark is what ignites a fire.