There has been a lot of hullabaloo (as the kids call it) surrounding the Girl Scouts these days, and a lot of conservative politicians and citizens are boycotting them because they’re considered a “liberal” or even a “radicalized” organization. But you never hear this kind of protest over the good ol’ Boy Scouts. Why is that? Are the two youth-oriented groups really that different? The Atlantic has a closer look, and you might be surprised at what they found.
While they both share similar origin stories (with Robert Baden-Powell and his adventurer’s spirit at the root of both), at some point, the Girl and Boy Scouts veered in different directions completely. One of those points was during the fight for civil rights and equality, specifically, desegregation. While both groups started out as segregated, it was the Girl Scouts — with support from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — who first made the move to integrate their troops in 1956. The Girl Scouts also added a focus on social justice to their mission. A few decades later, while the Boy Scouts continued to embrace their ties to religious institutions, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Girl Scouts started telling their troops that they could replace the word “God” with any term for whatever beliefs they held while reciting the Girl Scout Promise (“On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country …”). The Boy Scouts, to this day, don’t officially allow openly atheist or agnostic scouts to join.
So, there’s that. There’s also the whole “Boy Scout leaders being caught abusing their underage scouts and, like the Catholic Church, just brushing it under the rug so no one notices” thing, and how they ban gay troop leaders and have received support from the U.S. Supreme Court to do so. The Atlantic points out that both the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church are both “male-led, gay-unfriendly hierarch[ies] that sheltered pedophiles.” Where is the political uproar over that?
Meanwhile, when the Girl Scouts takes steps to provide information to girls on how to protect and care for themselves by partnering with Planned Parenthood, they have state representatives in Indiana refusing to recognize the Girl Scouts on their centennial, foolishly calling them “a group that has been subverted in the name of liberal progressive politics” with “surprisingly radical policies” — and “a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood.” (And then more enlightened representatives go ahead and sell Thin Mints on the floor of the legislature as a protest to the “protest.”) Girl Scouts are also subjected to people slamming doors in their faces while selling cookies, telling 10-year old girls that their organization “supports abortion” and “kills babies.” (An incident which prompted the scout in question to tell her mom that “something creepy happened to [her].”)
Of course, the Boy Scouts don’t sell cookies. So they wouldn’t have to deal with that.
But how could their core philosophies have veered so far off course when scouting was supposed to be all about being resourceful, respectful, and curious? While the Girl Scouts became about activism, tolerance, and independence, the Boy Scouts stayed in the 1950s — respect authority, bow to tradition, and live by the Bible.
Of course, we don’t always stay the same person we were when we were scouts, do we?
(via The Atlantic)
- They Earn All the Badges: Girl Scouts Punch Thief in the Face After Cookie Money Robbery
- The Girl Scout Cookie-Flavored Nestle Crunch Bar
- Girl Scouts Launch Their Leadership Campaign