News that an all new, all-girl, [Boy] Scout group celebrated its first meeting in Wooster, Ohio, has met with justifiable criticism online. The news comes almost a year after the Boy Scouts organization, under pressure from activists, dropped the gender-specific prefix, allowing girls to join.
Popular, meme-heavy, Facebook page, Ron Paul’s Bat noted:
So you fought to become part of the Boy Scouts, just so you could start you own girl only troop and do things separate from boys? That sounds like girl scouts with extra steps.
Comments on Twitter are making the same observations: “Congratulations you’ve made it all the way back around to… Girl Scouts,” one user tweeted.
“I thought this was satire but it wasn’t and now I’m confused I get the premise of an all girl troop, but you were fighting so hard to join the BSA just to end up alienating yourselves instead sounds like an extra step to joining the girl scouts…” another commented.
Although the key contributing factor for the change in name, has been reported to be a response to steady a decline in membership; the Boys Scouts of America, ditched the gender-specific prefix after a range of “requests” (CNN), were taken into consideration.
The organization, in an attempt to be gender inclusive, dropped the Boys only policy and subsequently dropped the Boy Scouts moniker.
Ahmad Alhendawi, the Secretary-General and CEO of World Scouting:
I welcome boy scouts decision to integrate girls in their programs. On #DayoftheGirl, we reaffirm #Scouting commitment to girls empowerment.
The decision from Boy Scouts (now Scouts) of America, triggered a lawsuit from the Girl Scouts of America, who complained that ‘the Boy Scouts had no monopoly over such terms as “scouts” and “scouting” when it offers services to girls.’ (ABC Online & The NY-Times)
Not every Scout organization has followed the inclusion bandwagon.
It’s to be noted, that while it’s reported that some Girl Scouts groups in the United States allow (transgender girls) boys to join, their official website asserts that Girl Scouts is an ‘all-female environment of a Girl Scout troop.’
In Australia, the Girl Guides go one better and include a specific section delineating why they exclude boys:
In Guiding, females do it all and do not feel the pressure society traditionally places on them to look to males for decision-making. Women and girls take positions of leadership, use their talents and abilities in planning and policy-making, and are encouraged to take these skills into their lives. This allows them to build their self-esteem.
Guides provide a unique girl-only environment, vital for personal and social development. It’s a safe, inclusive space where girls can be comfortable just being themselves. Guiding offers a unique opportunity for girls to acquire leadership skills, to become self-reliant, to enjoy the friendship of other women and girls, and to develop a sense of well-being and self-worth.
The all-girl Scout troop of the (former) Boy Scouts of America organization is evidence that BSA’s original move was virtue signalling for profit. Like a lot of organizations who jump on the social justice warrior bandwagon, the double standard, and the bizarre backflip attached, may only hurt Scouts of America in the long run. Especially, since the all-girl Scout troop, appears to justify the claims made by Girl Scouts America, that the BSA decision “infringed on their trademark” (NY Times).