A paean to “radical feminist” organisation the Girl Scouts of America

girlscouts

The threat: bone-chillingly radical feminist Girl Scouts.

Mississippi-based Christian “news” service One News Now claims to offer up “news without the liberal bias”.

It also offers up news without that dastardly word “gay”, as Jeff Fecke and Melissa have noted at Shakesville; ONN hasn’t yet figured out that global auto-replace may have embarrassing results. (For them, not for Tyson Gay, who I suspect is laughing his arse off.)

But this article isn’t about that. This article is a paean to the Girl Scouts of America, who are pissing the fundies of One News Now right the fuck off. Columnist Marcia Segelstein has an article up called “The Girl Scouts’ new radicalism“. She repudiates the Scouts for crimes against humanity and God including environmental activism, peace education, sisterhood, and activism against gender bias.

Segelstein labels the Scouts “radical feminists”.

She is very, very concerned. And here’s what she’s concerned about.
[emphases are mine.]

The GSUSA is introducing a new “Girl Scout Leadership Experience,” essentially a new curriculum, titled “Journeys.” The first series of books, one for every level of scouting, will be released this summer called “It’s Your World – Change It.” As you may have guessed from the title, it’s all about girls “taking action.”

In the words of the Girl Scouts’ literature, the mission is for girls to “lead with courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place.” Sounds innocuous enough. But the GSUSA leadership has some specific ideas about what exactly “making the world a better place” means.

For example, seventh- and eighth-grade cadettes will participate in an eight-session “Journey” called “aMaze,” in which “girls create ‘peace kits’ and learn how to create more peace in the world, one relationship at a time.” It sounds sweet, but is there a lesson in there about peace often coming with a price?

The “Journey” for the oldest Girl Scouts is called “Your Voice, Your World: The Power of Advocacy.” In it, “girls explore the rich and global history of women’s advocacy efforts and engages girls to become advocates in their communities.” Advocates for what, you might well wonder.

Here’s one example. In August, the GSUSA is inviting girls to “explore climate change as it relates to environment, community and the global community.” They will meet with experts “to explore the issue of global climate change” and “come up with action plans to…make a difference in [their] own community.”

Many adults associated with the Girl Scouts have expressed serious concerns about this new curriculum. Promoting social activism, emphasizing the power of self, and jumping on the bandwagon of politically correct causes like global warming are further evidence to them of the organization’s ever-growing radicalism.

Segelstein doesn’t mention any concerns with the Scouts’ bilingual literacy programmes, their outreach for daughters of incarcerated mothers or girls in detention centres, their anti-violence and drug education, their sports, fitness and hiking schemes, or their strong support for girls in science.

But as her column goes on, she becomes increasingly alarmed – not only is God now optional in the Girl Scout promise, but apparently some leaders are teaching girls to look within themselves, within their own spirits, for guidance. Quelle horreur! Segelstein hisses:

Telling girls to look inside themselves for direction, especially teenage girls, is like advising them to wear a blindfold while driving.

And that’s what this is about, when you boil it down. We shouldn’t allow girls any agency, or attribute them any competence. They are immoral little vessels of sin, degradation, peace, and feminism; timebombs waiting to happen. Without the firm hand of male, conservative ministers to keep them in their place, all is lost, lost I say, for the fundy cause.

Segelstein continues to panic about sex and ethics education within the Girl Scout community. She notes that a Senior Scout manual now includes information on working through ethical decisions around end-of-life care for relatives, and pregnancy termination, and Girl Scout councils in several states have worked with Planned Parenthood to provide sex education programmes and Planned Parenthood visits for young Scouts. Plus – *whispers* – some Girl Scouts are lesbians. Didn’t that just make you swoon right out of your socks?

So all hail the Girl Scouts from me! Growing young feminists and activists is essential work. Good on youse all.

Can we get a fainting-couch over here, for Ms Segelstein, please? Oh, and a dictionary. Cheers.

[Hat tip to Stephan Zielinski. Go check out his photos of the San Francisco Dyke Festival – he’s a talented street portrait photographer – and the new webcomic he is co-authoring with Sean Willard, Explosive Bolts.]



Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, religion

Tags: , , , , ,

11 replies

  1. Note the “comments” which are all positive, and obviously been collated for that reason, except:
    ”Yeah, I won’t buy any girl scout cookies either! Why SHOULD we be forced, through our craving for those delicious treats, to support young girls in becoming responsible citizens? Ridiculous!”
    I think someone had their sarcasm meter turned off … Heh.

  2. Gee, I wish scouting had been that interesting when I was a girl guide. All I had to promise was “To do my best, to do my duty to God. To serve the Queen and help other people and keep the Guide Law” which are:
    A Guide is honest, reliable and can be trusted.
    A Guide is helpful and uses her time and abilities wisely.
    A Guide faces challenge and learns from her experiences.
    A Guide is a good friend and a sister to all Guides.
    A Guide is polite and considerate.
    A Guide respects all living things and takes care of the world around her.
    Yep, that’s pretty radical these days.

  3. Oops. That the UK Laws, the Australian ones I grew up with were:

    A Guide is loyal and can be trusted.
    A Guide is helpful.
    A Guide is polite and considerate.
    A Guide is friendly and a sister to all Guides.
    A Guide is kind to animals and respects all living things.
    A Guide is obedient.
    A Guide has courage and is cheerful in all difficulties.
    A Guide makes good use of her time.
    A Guide takes care of her own possessions and those of other people.
    A Guide is self-controlled in all she thinks, says and does.

    Even worse, huh?

  4. Wow, the Australian one is so much worse than the UK one. There is more of an emphasis on traditional submissive femininity in the Aus one – obedience, cheerfulness in difficulty and self-control.

  5. I used to get a shameful kick out of reading old Girl Guide handbooks which taught you all about housekeeping and entertaining. Think the first badge I got was for Hostessing. {cringe}

  6. Tyson Gay, who I suspect is laughing his arse off
    I’d guess he’s probably groaning and rolling his eyes. “Oh, you noticed my last name is the same as a word for homosexual? Why, that’s never come up before in my whole life!”

  7. I don’t want to be a voice for the organisation, but I’m a girl guide leader (here in Australia), and while there are laws like “a guide is obedient”, its used as an entry to a whole lot of interesting things. I was having a discussion with my group last week (who are aged 6-10yrs) about the laws. The Obedient one we talked about WHO you should be obedient to, and WHEN it was appropriate – if a teacher tells you to please tidy your desk, be obedient. If an adult tells you to jump off a cliff, don’t be. If you’re not comfortable with something, if it seems wrong, tell someone else, and don’t be obedient. In applying the laws, you are meant to use sense and judgement.
    Equally, the law about “self controlled in all she thinks says and does” is basically used as a discussion point on how to consider the feelings of others, basically, don’t bully others.
    I guess it depends how you see them. They are very traditional in many ways, but they can also be used to let kids, and even really young kids, start to think about the way that they treat others, and the way they are treated.

  8. I wasn’t interested in the Scouts when I was young, cause it just seemed to be all god-bother-y. I am fairly impressed by the description of it now!
    “news without the liberal bias” – is that Fox News’ mantra or something? Is it just me (admittedly VERY liberal) or is the ‘liberal bias’ alot less biased than the alternatives? and for that matter, less about bashing people who don’t agree with us? The core of liberalism being, I guess, that you have the right to believe, say, write, follow your own ideas. Terrifically threatening, I know.

  9. grouchigrrl: My overall impression (and I’ll be admit that it’s largely not from personal experience) is that the Boy Scouts are much more godbothery than the Girl Scouts.
    Fox news claims to be “fair and balanced”. Ha.

  10. What assholes.
    How is it that, when a young boy is growing up, it’s considered a given that he ought to be presented with positive adult role models of his sex, with whom he can identify, but then, when a young girl is offered the same thing, it’s “OMG! Teh radikalz!”
    No one would talk that way about a boy scout troop who talked about George Washington as a role model.
    Apparently, when you’re advocating freedom for men, that’s patriotism, but for women, that’s pure subversion.

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