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Which Side Are We On?

Gentle Readers will probably already have heard about the Great Girl Scout Cookie Boycott of 2012. Not the one where a bunch of troops in Ohio have decided not to bother raising money to go to camps that the state council has sold, but the one where an sex-negative group called group called Honest Girl Scouts is pressuring the Girl Scouts to eliminate sex education and break off with WAGGGS, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, who are (according to this group) associated somehow with International Planned Parenthood, who also engage in sex education. So, as far as I can tell, the HGS group’s primary concern is that some teachers, leaders and other responsible adults might educate other people’s children about sexuality.

My Perfect Non-Reader is a Girl Scout; she sells cookies. It’s possible that somebody will not only refuse to purchase her cookies (as many people do, of course) but tell her that it is because of the boycott. It seemed like a good idea, then, to prepare her for such a conversation.

Which began with the immediate news cause—evidently this HGS group has been calling for a Girl Scout Cookie boycott for some time, but they are getting a lot of attention right now due (I think) to their video in which a girl in Girl Scout regalia calls for the boycott because of the inclusion of a transgender kid (in an entirely different troop in a different state). This business of transgender inclusion has been a bit of a hobbyhorse of the Right for a while (Fox pushed the news back in October as did The National Review and The Washington Post in November and The Daily News in December among other places). So we had to start by talking about the idea of a kid being transgender, and explaining in brief what that might be like, and discussing whether she felt her troop would include a transgender kid who identified as a girl, and whether they ought to. My daughter immediately came to the conclusion that it would be wrong to exclude the kid, but wasn’t absolutely sure what her troop would do, or even how she would feel about it herself, if it actually happened. But she was shocked that anyone would call for a boycott, to punish all the troops across the country for what one troop did, whether it was the right thing or not. In fact, she couldn’t understand at all why somebody in California would want somebody in Connecticut to refuse to buy cookies because of something somebody did in Ohio.

Which, I’m afraid, led me to explain a bit about tribalism. Because the thing is, really, that whether the Girl Scouts are providing sex education or not, whether they are forcing girls to hang around with cross-dressers (which of course they are not), whatever actually goes on in the actual meetings, the Girl Scouts are a liberal organization, on my side of the tribal line. Because they are Girl Scouts. And Girl Guides. I suppose it would be possible for an international organization of girls, led by women without any man at the top of the heirarchy, to be on the other side of that tribal line, but it would be difficult and would need to be deliberate. The Girls Scouts are not that group.

Not that they are wild-eyed leftist bomb-throwers, or man-hating separatists, or radicals of any stripe, but they naturally and admirably emphasize the ability of women to succeed on their own terms, and that in itself puts them in my tribe. They emphasize inclusion over exclusion, they value egalitarianism and community, they teach girls to run businesses and be kind, to reach their potential and help people, to be prepared and do a good turn daily. Doesn’t that sound like they are the kind of people who would educate children about sex?

And, to be fair, at least a little bit, I do understand that parents are upset that any organization might bring their kids across that tribal line. I know plenty of people who have crossed the tribal line themselves, and have awkward relationships with their parents on the far side. I don’t want that for my family. I worry, honestly, about the Zionists at my daughter’s Hebrew School, some of whom have associated themselves with people who have associates in the other tribe. I worried about the Girl Scouts, at the beginning, mostly because (like a lot of people, I expect) I get the Girl Scouts mixed up a bit with the Boy Scouts, who are on the other side of that line, alas.

Anyway, as YHB was explaining this, My Perfect Non-Reader interrupted to say Wait a minute, this is about politics!. I had to say that it was kinda about politics. It certainly isn’t not about politics.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,