It’s Girl Scout cookie time again. Just a few days ago, the Girl Scouts made news because of its newest cookie – the Savannah Smile. I’m not sure if the organization is smiling about the latest publicity.
If the prospect of a new cookie had you smacking your lips, here’s something that might just turn your stomach. A video posted on a website called Honest Girl Scouts features a 14-year-old girl calling for Americans to boycott the cookies this year.
What’s that? Boycott an American tradition?
The teen, identified as “Taylor” from California, is angry for what she calls dishonest behavior on the part of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. Ultimately, she’s angry that the organization is allowing transgendered kids into the troops, which she says are supposed to be just for girls.
Taylor’s speech is very scripted and it goes on nearly eight minutes. It’s filled with quotes from Girl Scout spokespeople and cites alleged research, articles and even the Scout’s own safety handbook.
Her main message is that Girl Scouts should be for girls only. Taylor cites a 2011 revision to the Girl Scout’s “safety-wise” handbook, which she says, reads:
“Ensure that no girl is treated differently. Girl Scouts welcomes all members, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, culture, background, sexual orientation, gender.”
In the video, she goes on to say….
“Did you know that in October 2011, Girl Scouts admitted they allowed transgender boys, in kindergarten through the twelfth grade? Most disturbing to me and my family is that they also admitted to having already placed transgendered boys throughout America without letting everyone know.”
Taylor wants us to stick it to the Girl Scouts.
“I’m asking you to take action with me and boycott Girl Scout cookies.”
Her video racked up lots of views and has spawned a bunch of video responses. Tonight, it was pulled from YouTube and the Honest Girl Scouts website but not before causing a heated debate, especially between ultra conservatives and the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender communities. One man who says he’s a transgender former Girl Scout posted his own video in response pleading for people to buy more cookies:
The backlash centers on the anti-transgender message in the video. In her video, Taylor says:
“So Girl Scouts admits that different genders, or that boys, can enter Girl Scouts and that they don’t require proof of their gender either. Then really, any boy can simply join Girl Scouts by saying that he wants to be a Girl Scout.” She continues, “That means that as long as a boy wants to be a girl, they’ll let him join solely on his wishes and desires.”
It’s kind of laughable, really, as if young boys across America just found their loophole into the Girl Scouts to scam on girls and make Popsicle stick art.
Joking aside, it’s disheartening that intolerance is so pervasive and that it starts so young.
In her video, Taylor is so scripted that she appears to be reading from a teleprompter. The video also contains stylized graphics and editing that make it seem to be much more involved than just a teen girl recording a message in front of a web cam. It would appear that she had a little help writing and producing this video “masterpiece”.
Taylor cites safety concerns for herself and other girls as one of her big points of contention. For one, she’s concerned about boys and girls mixing it up in tents together. On the surface, I get it. As a mom of a young girl, I’m not ready to think about co-ed camp outs. But when you think about it, it’s as if Taylor’s implying that being transgender inherently makes one dangerous to others.
If a transgendered child is trying to find his, her or their place in this (often intolerant) world and believes it can be found in the Girl Scouts organization, then what’s the big deal? In reality, how many such cases are there? More than likely this “threat” is isolated to a small number of kids and troops. But maybe it shouldn’t be. Maybe it’s time to re-think these girl and boy-centric organizations and just open them up to kids.
The Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts, for that matter, provide children with a lot of positive messages. As parents, I’d like to think that we want our children to be involved in inclusive, welcoming organizations. Doesn’t it make them better world citizens? And – transgender or not – don’t we all have a fear of our children being isolated, bullied or left out? Personally, I’m glad that after a 100-years in operation, the Girl Scouts is changing up its perspective and throwing out that “safety-wise” handbook that Taylor keeps referring to in her video.
Taylor’s message made one decision a whole lot easier for me. I’m definitely buying Girl Scout cookies this year. What about you?