How to Earn a Badge in Feminism

I have never wanted to be a Girl Scout. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I would rather be curled up in bed with a book than taking place in any kind of outdoor or physical activity. However this weekend (as I was in bed taking a break on my book), I ran across an interesting post on Facebook that led me to develop a deep respect and admiration for the organization.

Girl Scouts support Planned Parenthood! They support an LGBTQ agenda! For God’s sake, don’t buy the thin mints!

Sweet, I thought. I can feel good about ordering five (or maybe ten) boxes this cookie season. The whole thing seemed too good to be true, but when I did a little investigating I found out that it was even better than I had imagined.

This “year of the girl” marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, an organization with 3.2 million members and 59 million alumnae, whose primary mission is to help girls develop spiritually, mentally, and physically. In a group of women this size, it is no surprise that issues of women’s rights have become a central concern in the past one hundred years. In 2007, Girl Scout CEO Kathy Cloninger said it best:

“I feel like we cannot be the nation’s expert on girl issues without dealing with how issues of sexuality affect the girls of this nation. We believe parents are part of the discussion, but girl scouting needs to be part of education and discussion as well.”

This atmosphere of acceptance and honesty has proven troublesome to some conservatives. In fact, in February 2012, Indiana State Republican Representative Bob Morris refused to vote for a resolution that would honor the Girl Scouts one hundred years of service. He called them a “radical group” that “promotes homosexuality,” pointing to a list of Girl Scout role models (some were gay!) for proof. Morris was met with public controversy and eventually apologized for his statement, but he couldn’t erase the homophobic impression his words left on me.

The great thing is, Morris was not entirely wrong. An example can be found in 2011 when the Scouts invited Houston’s first openly gay mayor, Annise Parker, to speak at a leadership convention. As one of two women in Houston’s history to hold the title of office, she certainly deserved to be there. When I think of budding young lesbians in the crowd who may have heard her speech, my heart fills with joy. It is rare that youth are able to listen to or meet LGBTQ role models, especially in politics. Maybe a girl scout in that crowd found the inspiration through Parker that will lead her to become the first women president, maybe even the first lesbian president! When I think about how conservatives would squirm over that, my hearts is so full it could burst.

And squirm they have. It would seem that no accomplishment, even one as serious as holding office, could overshadow the horror that Annise Parker was a lesbian whose partner works for Planned Parenthood.

In response to the feminism within Girl Scouts, the Family Watch International (gag) has created a website called “100 Questions for Girl Scouts,” with questions such as, “Are parents aware that GSUSA’s World Thinking Day activity pack for girls ages 6-18 explores the topics of sexual and reproductive rights?” Although it is clearly meant as an attack, it actually reads as an informative list of all the good Girl Scouts are doing.

Not only are Scouts promoting the right kind of information and supporting awesome organizations, they are demonstrating within their own ranks what acceptance looks like. Just last year a transgendered child named Bobby Montoya was admitted to the group in Colorado. Seven-year-old Bobby had identified as a girl since the age of 2 and always dreamed of being a Girl Scout. She was rejected at first, but in consideration of the fact that Girl Scouts accepts ALL girls grades K-12, the decision was overturned. Several leaders that were affiliated in the area’s Christian communty left their posts in protest, but in the end Bobby won. Sometimes it is a beautiful world.

I never assumed that such a viable way to practive feminism would be alive in communities all over the country. It takes feminism out of the hands of the academic and places it in the lives of real girls. The ideals are true and the cookies are delicious. Now, I wonder if I can get the uniform in my size?

If you are interested in getting involved with Girl Scouts in Harrisonburg, contact one of these fine ladies:
North Rockingham Co: Vanessa Helmick, nezer862005@yahoo.com
South Rockingham Co/Massanutten area: Dawn Kern, dfkrdms61@aol.com
South Rockingham Co/Spotswood area: Beth Raynes, antb210@verizon.net
Staff: Jennifer Flory, jflory@gsvsc.org, 540-298-2891

8 thoughts on “How to Earn a Badge in Feminism

  1. Girl Scouts have betrayed so many by their liberal, progressive, feminist agenda. No girl of the Catholic faith can belong to the G.S. as it is not in keeping with our Catholic faith. The numbers of girls that are now leaving is astonishing. Parents have chosen to be the vicars of their daughters and can no longer accept the Journey programs filled with Porn and drug use and every conceivable fiflth imaginable. The GSUSA have partnered with Obamas Janet Napolitano to make all of these girls members of the Youth Corp. Be afraid…He who owns our youth…Owns our country. Directing girls to George Soros Media Matters for their facts is who the G.S. have become. They are being exposed and handing out cover-up stickers but its too late. GOOD BYE Girl Scouts you betrayed so many. Your little cookie salesgirls are leaving.

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  2. The reason parents are upset is because Girl Scouts of the USA is PURPOSEFULLY DENYING the very things you admire about the organization. It is the DECEPTION TO ITS MEMBERS and the constant false e-mails it sends to parents that is sickening. If GSUSA would simply come out and state “hey, we reject the common-use dictionary definition of ‘girl’ being a ‘female child’ in favor of the psycho-babble Progressive term ‘gender choice!’ to the point that we won’t tell you where we are hiding these boys” then parents across the United States would leave in droves and they could see a huge drop in cookie revenue. The point you are missing is — in true, corporate-greed-style fashion — the Girl Scout execs will deceptively speak out of both sides of their mouths. They CONSTANTLY tell parents they are neutral on sexual orientation, sex education, abortion and politics while they continually fund events and partner with orgs that promote these things with funds from THE VERY COOKIE MONEY RAISED BY AN UNWITTING, UNPAID CHILD LABOR FORCE. That is called LYING to get what you want. If you admire that, you are a sad specimen of feminist, indeed.

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  3. Thank you for helping to authenticate what Girl Scouts has come to represent, especially because you are doing so with the intent to defend Girl Scouts. The irony to this is that you are actually more “honest” than the organization that has prided itself for the last 100 years about supposedly standing for honesty ~ something found in the GS Law. Whenever the national or local tiers of GS are questioned about their relationship with Planned Parenthhood or teaching sex Ed, GS continually denies it. They have done such a good job denying it that the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry is compelled to believe them and stand behind them and defend them before the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops who are investigating the Girl Scouts problematic programming that promotes views that go against the Catholic faith. The USCCB is responsible for helping lead its flock’s faith formation in God’s direction, so they have a duty to review the direction GS has taken especially since the Catholic schools have embraced GS in the past and made it part of their youth ministry according to the NFCYM. Hopefully the USCCB takes heed to your article and does what is right for the faith formation of its youth.

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  4. I am glad that these comments were made because it brings up the point that Girl Scouts as an organization have not come out and outright said, “We support radical feminism, Planned Parenthood, etc,” but I think their actions (in the examples I provided) speak louder than words. In everything they have done, they have promoted equality for ALL people, including Bobby Montoya and other queer youth. Although some sects of the Girl Scouts have supported and promoted Catholic interests, in heavily Catholic-influenced areas, it is not a Catholic organization. In fact it is not a religious organization at all. It is about providing girls a positive atmosphere in which they can grow and mature, learning about leadership, open-mindedness, and the kind of courage it takes to survive in this world. That’s their primary goal – not creating some “Youth Corp.” To meet these goals, it is true that Girl Scouts sell cookies – but as Juliette Gordon Low is concerned about this, I have to point out – Girl Scouts are not required to sell cookies. It is something that the child/parent decide to take part in and it teaches them about the hard work that goes into providing funds for an organization they believe in. Where this money goes and a lot of other great information about the Scouts can be found at the following site: http://www.girlscouts.org/for_adults/parenting/parenting_faq.asp#cookies_havetosell

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    1. You are correct in that GS is a secular organization and as such it has the right to determine what direction it would like to take. However, GS has also become a big business concerned about the number of members and the number of dollars. With that in mind, it would seem prudent of the organization to be concerned about not offending the faith of 25-30% of its members who are Catholic and the other high percentage of members who are other Christian religions or who might be pro-life regardless of religious faith. Because those who may be offended by the secular direction GS has taken have the right to refuse to be a member or to financially support the organization through the purchase of cookies.

      Sent from my iPod

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  5. I agree Jody! The right to refusal is in their power. I also agree that the organization should have taken care not to offend anyone – but I think that promoting equality they are showing that are welcoming to anyone regardless of religion, sexual orientation, or “gender.” The fact that they are pro-life does not necessarily mean their members have to be, in fact, there are many Christians who are divided on that issue anyway. Maybe a formation of a Catholic-centered Girl Scouts-esque organization is needed for those who feel that they can no longer participate in a secular organization that has secular interests.

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    1. Hannah, I just want to be sure that you know it’s the Catholics that are pro-life and the Girl Scout organization that is promoting abortion. You note wasn’t clear about that point. This is one of the biggest reasons that Catholics can no longer remain Girl Scouts in good conscience~at least that’s my opinion.

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