Takedown: Male-to-Female Scout Cookies

This week’s crapdate comes courtesy of HonestGirlScouts.com, a website that shot up in popularity after a video posted by a 14-year-old Girl Scout went viral. In the video, the girl calls for a boycott of Girl Scout Cookies because of the Girl Scouts’ acceptance and support of transgendered girls.

Here it is, in all its glory:

The short answer: “Thank U Berry Munch! I love these cookies, and am so glad to see all the wonderful things that the organization does!”

I love it when assholes think that you have taken their assholery the wrong way and then have to justify and explain it to you.

NowTheEndBegins.com has an image of its own:

Based on the word “BOYCOTT!”, and the general atmosphere of the site, it is clear to me that they are on the same team as HonestGirlScouts.com. Based on the drool-inducing rendition of a Tagalong, the fact that BOYCOTT! seems to be written in chocolate, and the rainbow flag in the background, this might be a parody. The rainbow flag is used to support diversity, right? Right? Has this changed recently? Somebody might want to alert NowTheEndBegins.com.

According to the flier from HonestGirlScouts.com, Girl Scout Cookies “Promote abortion and LGBT agendas, Pay New Age consultants to train Girl Scout executives, Support United Nations anti-population goals, Introduce teen Girl Scout delegates to the concept of “Sexual Rights” for children without parental consent, and Rewrite all badge books to include radical activists and gay role models.”

If you can take a step back and look at the big picture (not the delicious delicious Tagalong, but a figurative big picture), it’s clear that there are two major problems that HonestGirlScouts.com has with the Girl Scouts: first, that they are connected to Planned Parenthood, and second, that they are inclusive of all children, including those that identify as LGB or T.

Because of a perceived connection to Planned Parenthood, the flier makes a leap to the promotion of abortion, anti-population goals, and “sexual rights” for children. Because they are perceived as too inclusive, they are seen as promoters of the LGBT agenda, and are setting gay people up as role models for the girls. As far as the New Age consultant, I think they are referring to a speaker in 2008. From lifenews.com: “‘Not to disappoint, GSUSA has once again invited a cadre of ultra feminists, a Planned Parenthood philanthropist, United Nations devotees and even a new age Taoist to inspire and instruct today’s Girl Scouts,’ Volanski told LifeNews.”*

I don’t know how to tackle that last bit. I really don’t. As far as I know from popular culture, “New Age” is used to portray somebody who is kind of annoying and unconventional, but I really cannot imagine how that is threatening to the readers of the flier. I’m going to have to leave that there and take the flier at its word, because I do not understand how it can be perceived as negative, or what it has to do with boycotting cookies.

So, the two major problems, according to the flier, are connections to Planned Parenthood and inclusiveness.

First: Girl Scouts do not fund or promote Planned Parenthood. This is a silly idea, because Girl Scouts of the USA is a non-profit organization. Planned Parenthood is also a non-profit. One non-profit doesn’t normally fund another non-profit, unless the transaction advances the donor’s charitable mission. The Girl Scout mission is to build “[G]irls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.” Planned Parenthood’s mission is mainly “to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings which preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual” (full mission here). One deals with building confidence in girls, the other deals with reproductive health. It would be a stretch to convince donors that the money that they give to one organization should be forwarded to another in order to support the mission. If the Girl Scouts of America were funding Planned Parenthood, because they do not have similar missions, I can bet that the makers of this flier would be suing them for misappropriation of funds. But they aren’t. Because it’s not happening.

In case that’s not enough information, a friend of mine who works for the Girl Scouts of America confirmed in no uncertain terms: “Girl Scouts do not fund Planned Parenthood or give them monetary support.”

But the flier states that buying Girl Scout Cookies promotes abortion, and anti-population goals (through abortion, it seems), and introduces girl scouts to the idea of having sex without parental consent. Let’s unpack this.

My guess is that they are connecting the fact that some local organizations partner with Planned Parenthood, an expert on women’s health, to educate their members. The Girl Scouts are producing girls of courage, confidence, and character, and you know what builds courage, confidence, and character? Information and understanding of your own health. As far as abortions go, in 2010, abortion made up a whopping 3% of Planned Parenthood services. Contrary to the propaganda being floated around the internet, Planned Parenthood does not “promote abortion.” They offer it, relatively rarely, as a constitutionally guaranteed right to women. The other 97% of the time, they are busy being experts on women’s and reproductive health. If a student gets 97% of the questions wrong, and 3% right, does he get to pass? No. Abortions, whether you agree with them or not, are a tiny percentage of Planned Parenthood’s business, and of course the Girl Scouts team up with them sometimes. They are experts on women’s health.

As far as teaching adolescent girls about sex, once again, the mission of the Girl Scouts is to produce girls of courage, confidence, and character. Withholding information about sex is antithetical to that mission. Instead of producing girls of courage, confidence, and character, it would produce girls that are unsure and ashamed about changes and feelings that are happening within themselves. They have a right to know and to understand, and to make informed decisions about their own bodies.

But there are those that say that teaching adolescents about sex will turn them into slutty slutty sluts who then bring society to its knees with their immorality. That just isn’t what happens. Teenagers who have access to information about sex are not more likely to contract STDs than those who do not. They are, however, less likely to get pregnant at an early age, and slightly less sexually active than those who are taught only to abstain.

What I’m saying is that the Girl Scouts should be proud of the sexual education they are providing to their members. Knowing that they are treating the topic responsibly, rather than trying to hide it behind a wall of shame, makes me more likely to buy cookies. Instead of the flier frightening me into a boycott, I’m relieved to find out that that’s what the cookies are funding.

But the connection to Planned Parenthood, no matter the form, is being used to fuel the fears of potential cookie buyers. The writers of the flier have used an old Soviet tactic to spread propaganda: a little bit of truth, a lot of space to read between the lines, and inflammatory language.

A Soviet propaganda poster. "Who gets the national income? In capitalist countries, the lion's share goes to the exploiters. In the USSR, it goes to the workers." The Soviet worker is happy and rich, the American worker is sad and poor, a fat capitalist is sitting on gold in the background while he warmongers. A little bit of truth, a lot of reading between the lines, and inflammatory language. Works every time.

Some Girl Scout troops work with Planned Parenthood + a small percentage of Planned Parenthood’s business is performing abortions = Girl Scouts of America promotes abortion = Girl Scouts of America is trying to control the world’s population = if you buy cookies, you are supporting genocide. That’s like saying that because I have done work on an Apple computer, I am the developer of Angry Birds (I am not), and have caused your kid to fail out of school because he is always playing it instead of doing his homework. It’s simply absurd, and it’s hyperbole used to frighten people.

So. Girl Scouts of America sometimes teams up with Planned Parenthood to teach girls about their bodies and their health. Oooh. Scary.

And the other terrifying information that I deserve to know: Girl Scouts do not hate gay people.

I tried to find out what the LGBT Agenda is, because I hear so much about it. The best I could find was a Wikipedia entry which listed several bullets, and the only one that I think fits here is “non-governmental campaigns and individual actions that increase visibility and cultural acceptance of LGBT people, relationships, and identities.” Which the Girl Scouts do not deny. They are accepting anybody that identifies as females into their midst. While the flier makes that sound really terrifying (OH NO! THEY HAVE AN AGENDA!), you know who else had an agenda of loving his neighbor? You guessed it. The Lord and Savior of the editor of the website, Susan Riedley, and the probable mother of the girl in the video. Riedley’s Facebook page lists several interests, including: The Christian Post, HonestGirlScouts.com, Verdicts for pastors who preached of sin, and the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) 2011 Official Page, among others.

It is impossible for me to see why a biological boy that identifies as a girl is so threatening to so many people. She’s a little kid. She deserves to be loved, and included. Why is it that the people who have so much trouble grasping this are the same people who claim to follow the teachings of Jesus? To look at a 7-year-old and scream AGENDA! AGENDA! SHE IS TRYING TO RUIN SOCIETY!!, and then to try to bring down an organization that treats her like a human being? What they want, it seems, is to bully an organization into hating a kid. It’s so Christian.

That last sentence was sarcasm, in case you didn’t catch it.

The HonestGirlScouts.com website states this as their goal: “[W]e are advocating for a change back to simply building girls of good character.” Apparently, that is code for “treating human beings like they are less than human, refusing to let girls know about their own bodies, increasing the risk of teen pregnancy, and spreading hate along with cookies.” The owners of the website need to take a hard look at what it means to be of “good character;” for most people, that phrase is not synonymous with hate and ignorance.

The good part about this crapdate is that it’s pushing a lot of people to buy more cookies this year. I intend to do this as well, purely for political reasons, and if I am forced to eat extra Samoas and Thin Mints, well, it’s a price I’m willing to pay. I urge everybody to buy as many boxes as they can reasonably afford, and if there isn’t room for them in your freezer, I’ll gladly take them off your hands. For purely political reasons.

*Girl Scouts of the USA is an organization for girls. It says so right in the name. Why is it strange that they would have feminists speak at their conventions? Feminists support the equality of girls and women. This is”¦a bad choice? For an organization that exists to support girls? I’m so very puzzled.

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Susan

I am old and wise. Perhaps more old than wise, but once you're old, you don't give a shit about details anymore.

35 thoughts on “Takedown: Male-to-Female Scout Cookies”

  1. I would laugh myself bald if I wouldn’t realize the sad underlying thought of this ‘problem’. As you already said: how can a biological boy feeling like a girl be a threat for All Mankind (girlkind?)? Whenever will ‘love thy other’ (paraphrasing here, I’m a fake Christian) touch everything in society and not only the things that are convenient to some people?

    And also: can I buy Girl Scout Cookies online and internationally?

  2. Not the same organization, but the Canadian Girl Guides also promote equality and acceptance. Though I had a negative experience with them when I was a kid, the organization seems to have changed a bit since the late 90s-early 2000s, and I’ll gladly show my support by buying cookies this year. But only the sandwich ones. Not the mint ones. Those ones are gross.

  3. I am one of those who is purchasing extra Girl Scout cookies this year to show my support.

    I usually buy 3-4 boxes. This year? This year, I will suffer through 7 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, assuming I don’t pick up any more at booth sales.

    I was a Girl Scout for 13 years, and participated in adult Girl Scout programs (Girl Scout yoga, what what!). It is such an amazing program.

  4. Believe it or not I am not hugely impressed with Girl Scout cookies in general – they aren’t my favorite and as a huge miser, I think they are overpriced. The husband usually forces me to buy at least one box of Samoas and I always complain every year.

    No more.

    I had no idea the Girl Scouts were so progressive and awesome. I will be buying as many boxes as I can afford this year and I plan to tell the girls and their parents exactly why when I buy them. I’m happy to support organizations that support me, my rights, and the rights of kids everywhere.

    1. Buy them and then give them as gifts when necessary.  Last year, when I got accepted for my job, I gave little gifts to all of my recommenders.  As I remember, it was a box of Girl Scout Cookies, a pound of coffee (I was working at Starbucks so it was free), and maybe a coffee mug or something.  It was a nice little gift, affordable, and everybody seemed to love it.  And you can promote equality at the same time!

  5. Thank you for this, Susan. I was a Girl Scout through high school, then worked at camp until I was 20, and am now the proud parent of an enthusiastic Girl Scout.

    Their cookie business is the largest girl-run business in the world. I learned so much and did so many amazing things through Girl Scouts, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them. Also, on a side note, I don’t think I ever got a single iota  of sex ed from the Girl Scouts, and I’m ok with that. I’m sure its a council-by-council, troop-by-troop basis. If there’s a need for sex ed, a Girl Scout program would be a good place to start.

    As far as cookies go, the $$ breakdown is the cost of the product, and then a percentage to council (to fund programming across their area) and about .60 to the troop. Our Daisy troop is looking fund a % of each girl’s daycamp fees this year. No new age consulting for us!! (seriously, WTH?)

    I *think* some of the abortion funding talk comes from the United Way association- GSUSA & PP both get funding from the United Way (if I’m remembering correctly). Obviously, GSUSA $$ doesn’t get transferred to PP or any other United Way agency. I guess if they’re paying for speakers, and the speakers work for PP, they’d be supporting be PP, but that’s about the only way money would transfer in my mind (or if they are consulting on programs).

    i could go on and on, but simple put, this graphic is a crap update.

    I love that the Girl Scouts are all inclusive. End of story.

     

    1. Yes, and yes, and yes.  From what I understand, some troops do partner with Planned Parenthood for educational purposes, but that’s troop-by-troop, and it’s a huge stretch to say that having a speaker come to your workshop is “funding” PP.  I could go on and on, too.

      But also, some of the best people I know were Girl Scouts through and after high school.  It’s something I definitely want to get Tiny into, if she’s interested, when she’s a bit older.

  6. I know where my minuscule non-survival money is going! (Actually, I have no non-survival money, justmoney I didn’t spend on shaving on x-month because I wanted to do something.)

    I love GS cookies. OM NOM NOM. Unfortunately, the troops local to me are not that great- Too many fundies, too little of the awesome that the GSUSA as a whole supports. Trans* folk joining my local troop would get hazed out even after their appeal to GSUSA got them technically able to stay. (And I dropped out of GS long before I came out as having a queer sexuality. . . But the local troop masters used to be pretty scornful of the woman running our local camp because there were rumours that she was a lesbian, liberal, etc etc etc.

  7. 1. Girl scout cookies are delicious, and anyone who shuns them is a fool.

    2. I was a Girl Scout until I was 19, and a lot of the coolest stuff I did, most interesting stuff I learned, and most transformative moments I had as a kid were thanks to the girl scouts.

    3. Girl Scout cookies for some… Tiny American flags for others!

    4. Planned Parenthood and the GS should partner to do something really amazing with the LGBTQ community, but I don’t know what it is.

    5. Great article, and I’m now craving Samoas!!!!

  8. The funny thing – and I don’t know the statistics off the top of my head, but just from experience – when I was a Scout, most of our cookie budget went to troop supplies for activities and camp scholarships for lower income girls who couldn’t afford to pay for it on their own. Course, people who are already anti-feminist and anti-inclusion probably aren’t pro-poor people getting things for free, either, so…

  9. If this means more cookies for me, I’m all for it.

    I jest, b/c HOLY CRAP, PEOPLE, leave the Girl Scouts alone. I’ve worked as a leader/volunteer, I HAVE a copy of the Journey book, the badge book and the handbook for juniors. There is not one abortion in the whole package, not even an abortion merit badge. Are there women presented as role models who aren’t the Usual (white, Wonderbread) Suspects? Yes! And hot damn! Girl Scouts has made a huge push in the past decade or so to bring scouting to inner city and low income neighborhoods, as well as increasing the diversity of the organization as a whole.

    I’m going to go order more cookies, for purely political reasons, and then I’m planning a series of articles for P*Mag about the awesomeness of the Girl Scouts. I reject your bigotry, HonestGirlScouts.com, I reject it with unicorns.

  10. As usual Susan, spot on. I wonder how many people who are up in arms about the Girl Scouts being inclusive are also liking the Beautiful and Bald Barbie page?

    (I would like to try these Girl Scout cookies. The Girl Guide biscuits in New Zealand are like tasteless Graham crackers, or tasteless Graham crackers dipped in chocolate. That’s right, you get two options. They’re only really good for making fudge or cheesecake base.)

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