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Boy Scouts of America become inclusive

by Nicholas Mazur - Copy Desk Chief
Tue, Oct 24th 2017 09:00 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, I’ve got a good one for you this week. The Boy Scouts have decided that after 107 years, they will be allowing girls to join their ranks. Naturally, with something so dependent on gender, this incident has caused everyone and their moms to get up in arms with their opinions one way or another.

I am no different. I was up in arms in an instant, I thought, ‘of course the answer was clear, gender equality! Let girls do what they want!’ All that jazz. However, I decided to take a different approach to this issue. Instead of heading directly to The New York Times or The Washington Post to get their reporting, I headed to my least favorite “news” organization, Fox News. Needless to say I was not disappointed. The first headline I saw on the subject from the outlet was, “Boy Scouts of America should let boys be boys.”

 However, I was surprised by the level of coherent, level-headed arguing that Fox News could muster. Certainly the headline, as well as lines like, “Sadly, the Boy Scouts appear to have bought into the idea that rather than being something to be celebrated and championed, boyhood is something to be watered down,” have a less than savory taste in my mouth. 

You don’t have to water down boyhood by introducing girls; this is not something that is taking away opportunities from boys, but instead giving more opportunities to girls.

Mark Hancock, the author of the article, seems to be riding a contradictory line. He says one moment that boys and girls need to be separated due to unchangeable biological characteristics, but then says that boys are by no means better than girls, just different. He also comments on how this promotion of isolated masculinity is meant to give boys good roles models, so that they don’t grow up to be the next generation of sexual predators.

For that, I applaud this Fox News writer. At the absolute least he is aware that boys need to be raised better, they need good role models and they need to be taught that sexual misconduct is abhorrent. However, he seems to be missing the point. 

Introducing girls into the Boy Scouts can only be a good thing for the boys and their development.

First of all, biological differences in girls have nothing to do with being a scout. If a girl wants to be a scout, then it means she wants the same things from it that boys do, “biological” tendencies be damned. 

Second: boys and girls in the scouts together does not “water down” boyhood. Presumably, girls or no girls, there will be male leaders to role model for the boy scouts, and women leaders for the girls. Boys growing up with girls, sharing spaces and experiences can only help those boys treat women better in the future. Rather than them growing up seeing girls in separate spaces, as some sort of stereotypical, mystical other.

According to The Washington Post, the Girl Scouts of America have also responded to this, saying that they aren’t going anywhere. Oh boy, that’s all we need in this country: more feuding. Has anybody really sat down and considered the benefits of just “The Scouts of America”? 

Making his and hers for everything just adds so much work. It drives a wedge between people and promotes this idea that girls do girl things and boys do boy things, and there is no hope for either understanding the other.

Even for a Fox News writer, I understand Hancock's view, and I understand the Girl Scouts view. Hancock simply wants a space that he feels will nurture and promote decent boys to become great men. I can hardly think of anyone who doesn’t want a lot of the men in this country to behave better. However, adding girls to the Boy Scouts is going to help this, not harm it. I understand the Girl Scouts too, but separation is a step away from equality, not toward it.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to build a community in which boys can learn to become better. It’s a fantastic idea and it’s done its best to do so for over 100 years. However, I think we can have our cake and eat it too. 

We can include girls in this ideal of betterment. I believe that boys and girls can learn to be better together. The world is not a vacuum, so shouldn't have to be one. Girls have as much right and as much potential to learn as boys do.

 

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