Well, anyone who has read my blog for very long knows what I think about this decision by the Boy Scouts of America–to admit girls.
(My blog host requires that I write no less than 500 words, so I have to drag this out a bit.)
I am shocked, dismayed and very upset about this. Why? Not because I have anything against girls. I raised two and have a wonderful granddaughter. I also have a grandson. They are both precious and full of great potential.
I encouraged my daughters (as I encourage my granddaughter) to never let anyone limit their hopes and dreams and options. “Go for it”–whatever “it” may be–in terms of being whatever you feel called to be. I do not believe any profession or career should be closed to women and I do not believe women in any profession or career should be treated unequally with men.
On the other hand…I also believe both boys and girls need organizations just for them. There are already numerous organizations in America devoted to girls. I see them advertised all the time–everywhere I travel around this great country. I see very few devoted to boys. And those TEND to be about boxing (for example). What if a boy doesn’t like boxing?
Years ago there was the Boys Clubs; that is now the Boys and Girls Clubs. Virtually every organization that was ever devoted to helping boys grow into good men now admits girls. The problem I see is that then the attention tends to shift to the girls. Our society has, in recent years, become obsessed with girls–with helping them.
But now girls and young women are already succeeding in life at a much higher rate than boys and young men. If you doubt it, just look at the statistics of female versus male drop out rates and college graduation rates. Just look at the incarceration rates of males versus females.
I am not denying that there are miles to go to achieve full equality of girls and women with boys and men in every respect, in every corner, of American society. But I am claiming that, by and large, females have made tremendous strides while, at the same time, boys and young men have become under achievers.
Also, this inclusion of girls in the Boys Scouts is almost guaranteed to harm the Girls Scouts organization.
I believe what is really driving this bad decision (viz., to include girls in the Boys Scouts) is our society’s favoritism toward girls–except in certain areas such as sports where more attention needs to be given to girls and women. I was all for our society’s favoritism toward girls UNTIL I began to see that the “tilt” had begun to leave boys behind. The rise of girls and women is all for the good, but why does that have to mean the decline of boys and young men?
People say “Well, the Boys Scouts organization has more money and therefore more opportunities.” How about instead of including girls in Boy Scouts the Boy Scouts of America give some of its wealth to the Girl Scouts organization? Ah, well, that’s because that’s not the real reason for this change. The real reason was articulated by a national women’s organization that pushed for the change–viz., boys need to be civilized (my word) by girls. So boys should never be together without girls? Yes, that is the ideology driving this. (Remember the change in the movies between The Sand Lot and its sequel? Just one example of a trend in popular culture. Very, very few television shows or movies about boys without girls competing and winning over them. The major bookstore in my town (and others) carries “Girls Life” magazine but not “Boys Life” and frequently has special displays of books for girls, rarely any for boys. In fact I’ve never seen such.)
Some will say that the real reason for this change is the decline of the Boy Scouts of America organization-losing members. I doubt that. I believe the inclusion of girls (and women as Scout leaders) will require such change in the ethos of Boy Scouting that it will not even be the same organization as before (ethos-wise). In my opinion, this change actually means the surrender of Boy Scouting (as an ethos). And it will require tremendous adaptations of logistics.
I hope that now, given this radical change in the Boy Scouts organization, someone founds an alternative organization–for boys only. But I suspect that would be considered so politically incorrect that it would be condemned as anti-female.
I happen to believe (call me an old fogey if you wish!) that boys need fun, creative, comepetitive, maturing-into-good-manhood organizations JUST FOR THEM. Just as girls need similar organizations just for them.
One alternative to this change that I would have supported whole-heartedly is more cooperation and fellowship–even camping–between the Girls Scouts and the Boy Scouts. And, of course, more support for the Girls Scouts organization. More money (in America) rests in the hands of women than men, so if the Girls Scouts organization is lacking funds, whose fault is that? Women are known to give much more money to charity (of all kinds) than men. Why have women not stepped up to support the Girls Scouts more helpfully?
Yes, I suppose I will be accused of just being old fashioned and even sexist. I don’t believe that I am sexist, but I admit to being old fashioned in certain ways. But my main concern is with boys. As Laura Bush said in a televised interview just after her husband was elected president: “Boys are in trouble in this country.” Indeed they are. And I do not think including girls in Boy Scouts is going to be helpful to boys. But who cares about boys? Not many.