On this day in 1912, the Girl Scouts of the USA were formed — although they were then called Girl Guides. Let me just start by saying how much I love that. They should have been called, “Girls Taking Charge.” We could use a lot more of that. Not to mention cookies, but I digress.
For a long time, I thought that the Girl Scouts were just the female equivalents of the Boy Scouts. But then I learned otherwise. Since 2011, they have been open to transgender girls. Meanwhile, the Boy Scouts will fight tooth and nail to avoid entering even the 20th century. You can find out some of my thoughts on the
Nazi Youth Boy Scouts in, Why Boy Scouts Have Always Bothered Me. But I have a different opinion of the Girl Scouts.
The thing is, I wish it weren’t done in terms of gender. When I was a boy, I heard about what the Boy Scouts were doing and what the Girl Scouts were doing. And not surprisingly, what the Girl Scouts were doing sounded like more fun. (I’m probably remembering the Cub Scouts and the Camp Fire Girls — I’m not that clear about all the distinctions.)
Of course, I’ve always preferred to hang out with the girls. I don’t wish to hammer this to death (and after all these years, if it isn’t dead, it never will be), but so much of male culture is based on the idea of proving that you aren’t gay that I’m not interested. Would it be asking so much for male culture to accept that there are different kinds of men — far removed from sexual orientation. If other men have hangups and secretly think that they are gay, they really should get some help with that. But barring that: just stop acting like idiots!
Here’s a funny thing: the two most clearly healthy heterosexual men I’ve ever known — men who love women and are loved in return — are both kind of, well, effeminate. I’m not saying that typically masculine men are latent homosexuals; I’m just saying that they are boring. Really boring. Deadly boring. Like: I’m in fear of life boring.
Women don’t tend to have this problem. This isn’t to say that women are perfect. But it isn’t surprising that the Boy Scouts are a dysfunctional organization that teachers noxious lessons to boys and the Girl Scouts is mostly a force for good — generally a group that doesn’t look back on itself a generation and cringe. There’s a lot to be said for that.
Afterword: Girl Scouts and Women in General
Let me note that it is always a bad idea to leave men alone. We really need women around to humanize us. Otherwise, we don’t behave well. As Donald Trump would say, “Really! It’s true!”