I was lucky enough to stop at Walgreens the other day when three Girl Scout troop members were outside selling cookies. I missed them last year and didn’t want to go another year without Thin Mints.
There has been some upset in recent years by conservative Christian groups who have complained that The Girl Scouts are promoting feminism and promiscuity. The Girl Scouts have addressed this, but the groups haven’t cared. I doubt they are encouraging promiscuity. But feminism? Probably. Giving girls the idea that they are strong and can do anything and are equal to boys. Oh my!
That is dangerous for people who want women to be submissive to men. That we should think for ourselves, have a voice, have options and choices about our bodies, life and in the world is a big ‘No- No’ for many groups who want to uphold the patriarchy and cite religion as the rationale.
I was a Brownie and a Girl Scout growing up, which I totally enjoyed. My mother, who would sadly never say she is a feminist and who is also a Christian, was a troop leader. I love her for many reasons, but that is one of them. Sure, there might have been a couple of times when it was embarrassing, but overall, it was cool! It was cool to have this group to do fun things with where we didn’t have to worry about what the boys were doing. We focused on doing activities, working together, and getting badges. We hiked, we did crafts, we helped people, we sang. We did all kinds of things, many of which I can’t remember at this point, but it was fun and looking back, it was empowering.
It was a healthy way to interact and learn about working with other girls in a group. Back in my day, we didn’t set up shop outside stores, we went door to door asking neighbors if they wanted to buy cookies and of course, if they could, they signed up for at least a box. Today, the girls are getting a sort of amateur small business training, counting the money, making change, and keeping track of how many boxes they’ve sold. And they realize how much their supply meets the demand. It’s financial training.
In the past month, the Girl Scouts have been in the headlines because some people are upset that they allowed a transgendered child into one of their troops. Essentially, the child has boy parts but identifies as a girl. The child was initially told she wasn’t allowed to join by one of the leaders who was unaware of the Girl Scouts policy that any child identifying as a girl and whose family presents as a girl is allowed to join; her rejection is what prompted the news coverage and then the subsequent backlash. The Girl Scouts can’t (and shouldn’t) go around policing kids’ anatomy. No one would have even known she was transgendered if the mother hadn’t talked to the press. The poor kid who is already dealing with feeling like she doesn’t fit the boxes the world expects her to fit into. Kudos to the Girl Scouts for letting her join. And kudos to the child who wanted to join and has dealt with all kinds of hatred and weird press because of it. She’s growing up as a girl and girls need support and strength, that’s why the Girl Scouts exist.
I read the history of Juliette Gordon Lowe on Wikipedia, which is very interesting. She got involved in scouting in the UK and brought the idea back to the U.S. Wikipedia wrote: “‘On returning to America in 1912, Juliette placed her historic telephone call to her cousin, Nina Anderson Pape: ‘Come right over! I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight!'”
I love it! This kind of movement and excitement gives me chills- it’s powerful! It is women together, united, changing the world!
Of course, the cookies are yummy, but I bought them the other day in solidarity with the girls and with Girl Scouts. Girls need a formal institution for once that supports them being strong girls and growing into strong women. The Girl Scouts’ decision to let the child identifying as a girl into the troop gives a message of inclusion rather than hate; that message is important for girls to have. We’re not all the same and we don’t all fit into the gender binary that is expected of us. There are a million different ways to express ourselves and our gender. We must grow children who accept others rather than ridicule and chastise them for who they are.
Girl Scouts is fun and it’s important. It makes us stronger, as girls and as women.
Three Cheers to the Girl Scouts. Get some cookies if you can, before they’re gone!
Grrl Code: Support a Girl Scout. Buy some cookies.