General Question

janbb's avatar

What do you think about the Boy Scouts accepting girls now?

Asked by janbb (59167points) October 14th, 2017

Please read this article before offering your opinion if you would. It seemed like a good thing to me when I first heard about it but now not so sure. I like it when I don’t have a clear black and white opinion or when something I read makes me think differently about an issue.

Not sure how I feel. Your thoughts?

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66 Answers

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canidmajor's avatar

I had this discussion with some friends as soon as it was announced. Not being a fan of so many basic policies of BSA, I find this to be a disingenuous stunt. The only time I see it benefitting girls is if Girl Scouts are not available in an area and Boy Scouts are.
I would prefer to see Girl Scouting expanded, and given more credit.

And, you know, cookies.

zenvelo's avatar

As a Scouting Alumni ( I made it to Life Scout, didn’t make Eagle) and the father of an Eagle Boy Scout and a Girl Scout, I am a bit mixed myself.

On the one hand, I believe the Boy Scouts should be open to both boys and girls. The Venturing Scouts (over 14) have been coed for years with no real problem. And I do know of elementary school girls that wanted to be Cub Scouts.

But I also feel the Girl Scouts are of great value in raising strong girls that learn of their own strengths. And, as in many instances where boys dominate the mixed conversation, I feel girls need their independence.

And, I agree with many of the sentiments in the editorial.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have mixed feelings. I was active in scouts as a kid, even got my eagle. It’s a different experience for everyone depending on your pack. For me I made life long friends and had some pretty memorable adventures. It was an important sanctuary where “boys could be boys” and there were not older women constantly trying to keep us in line or imposing their ideas and activities. It was where young boys learn to be older men through being challenged both physically, emotionally and socially without mommy to run to. Pretty critical for ages 11–16 or so IMO. They’re sure as hell not going to learn how to be men at school, from mommy or even in sports these days. I remember girl scouts doing some of the same things like hiking and caving so unless girls simply cannot learn the types skills the boys learn in girl scouts then I don’t like it. It’s the end of what scouting was. While the BSA has been targeted by PC culture none of what was being called out really was relevant at a practical level. There were openly gay scouts, athiests and no shortage of minorities when I was active. The leadership just caved to their religious base at the PR level. If scouting becomes coed then I hope they teach young girls the same kind of skills and values they did for young boys. The world needs that right now.

chyna's avatar

I have no opinion on this. However, a good friend of mine that is the mom of two Eagle Scouts posted on her Facebook that “this is a sad, sad day for boy scouts everywhere.”

rockfan's avatar

Yet open atheists still aren’t allowed in.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Personally I think it’s transparent marketing, nothing more.

@ARE_you_kidding_me “It was where young boys learn to be older men through being challenged both physically, emotionally and socially without mommy to run to. Pretty critical for ages 11–16 or so IMO. They’re sure as hell not going to learn how to be men at school, from mommy or even in sports these days.”

Gee, how have any boys ever learned how to become men without the Boy Scouts?

kritiper's avatar

Why not?? Girls and boys go to the same schools…

filmfann's avatar

@chyna I assure you, this is not a sad day for boy scouts everywhere.
I’m kinda wondering what they are planning for camp outs.

Muad_Dib's avatar

I agree with @Darth_Algar that it’s a blatant marketing attempt.

Now, when I was a little girl, I was in the Brownies and I gave it up because the Girl Scouts didn’t do anything interesting. I think the only one of our troop meetings that took place outside was when we went door to door selling cookies.

I got into Scouts because I wanted to play in the woods, not sit in the school cafeteria and make popsicle stick crafts. I had popsicle sticks and glue at home.

So yeah, it would have been cool, as a kid, to be allowed to do the fun things the Boy Scouts were doing.

However, it’s very plain these days that the Boy Scouts are a conservative, religious organization, and while individual troops may downplay this aspect in order to attract or retain members, that doesn’t change the fact that the organization’s mission statements and values statement is clear that they expect a Scout to be not only religious, but reverent.

And for that reason, no matter how many religious girls or religious gays they allow in, my son will be learning to “be a man” by fishing and camping and hiking and starting fires and cooking and sharpening knives somewhere else, and possibly with Mommy by his side (since Daddy has fuck-all for outdoors skills and Mommy was raised by rednecks).

Muad_Dib's avatar

@filmfann – our homeschool group manages to allow boys and girls to camp in the same general vicinity without it raining fire and brimstone upon us.

josie's avatar

It will make tent camping a whole lot more interesting.
What new merit badges will become available?
Will boys be allowed to join the Girl Scouts?

Muad_Dib's avatar

The Girl Scouts and The Boy Scouts are entirely different organizations.

I would be entirely unsurprised if the BSA came out with a line of merit badges in sandwich making and other such nonsense just for the girls.

funkdaddy's avatar

There’s an awful lot of assertions in that article, but I couldn’t find even an attempt to back any of them with facts. I understand the article is labeled as “opinion” but how does something like this gets published without at least an attempt

In making this change, the Boy Scouts aren’t pursuing some kind of radical coed style of scouting. What has been lost in the discussion is that by all accounts, the plan wouldn’t so much let girls in as form separate girls’ wings — a sort of junior ladies’ auxiliary — for girls whose families shy away from the scary, liberal, feminist Girl Scouts. The Boy Scouts’ statement hints as much, promising that they want “to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children.”

This is Judge Jeanine level journalism.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“Gee, how have any boys ever learned how to become men without the Boy Scouts”
Not nearly enough.

LostInParadise's avatar

I was not aware of there being different political leanings between Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. If I take that to be the case and if the editorial is correct in assuming that the girls will be grouped together, then the Boy Scouts are putting themselves in competition with the Girl Scouts. Although I share the political leanings of the writer, I can’t fault the Boy Scouts for what they are doing. The Girl Scouts should respond by accepting boys.

Yellowdog's avatar

When I was ten years old, I was maybe the first boy ever to join Camp Fire Girls, which was in the process of changing its name to Camp Fire, inc. and including boys.

I liked Camp Fire because girls were more harmoneous, accepting, etc than the boys organizations, which seemed to me like military school.

But Camp Fire is virtually extinct now because they went coed.

There is a reason these groups are single sex, and we need them every now and then. Its sort of a coming of age thing— and like it or not, one’s gender is a very core and fundamental aspect of our identity as individuals. I was a soft, pretty boy— but of the male gender nonetheless.

One more thing: the Girl Scouts are a fairly liberal organization and empowers girls / women. The Boy Scouts are fairly conservative and more “Baptist/Mormon/Catholic” in mindset

elbanditoroso's avatar

I don’t have strong feelings about girls being able to join Boy Scouts; I doubt very many will, because of the poor Boy Scout reputation (see @janbb article), and also because there’s not much a boy scout does that a girl couldn’t do if she set her mind to it. So I don’t see any great clamoring or need for girls to join. This is more of a desperation move by the Boy Scouts.

That said, I see both GS and BS (much more the Boy Scouts) as nothing more than a predecessor to Hitler Youth (or the 2017 equivalent) with god and country brainwashing mixed into athletics and activities. That’s what scares me.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I feel the move is disastrous in its insensitivity and will prove a PR catastrophe. No one hearing the announcement can possibly miss the clear implication that the move is an attempt to counter declining membership through poaching potential or existing Girl Scouts. It would have been better to attempt to combine the 2 oganizations rather than following the traditional path of undermining an organization run by and devoted to women.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

The leadership in the BSA has pretty well destroyed the organization, this is likely the curtain call.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me “Not nearly enough.”

Indeed, over the thousands of years of human civilization it’s only been within the last century or so that we’ve had real men (and then only a few), all thanks to the Boy Scouts.
Really, you cannot seriously believe this shite.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

In the last 20–30 years many men have been growing up to be little boys, before that institutions that teach men how to be men were not even needed because men had to sink or swim and it happened naturally.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Boys grow into men rather naturally, I’ve found. It’s called puberty.

Any optional characteristics you’re ascribing to the subset of men who are former Boy Scouts are, I’m more than certain, attainable without joining a uniformed camping club.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Of course it is but the less access young boys have to that sort of thing the less likely it’s really going to happen. Scouts was for a time a pretty decent way for that to happen, especially when daddy was not in the picture. Mommy can certainly do her best but it sure helps when there are male role models around and other boys in the absence of girls.

Muad_Dib's avatar

I’d like to know what, specifically, you think Scouts provides to boys to turn them into “men”.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I’m not debating this with you.

Muad_Dib's avatar

I’m not debating.

I’m legitimately interested in what you think a boy gets from scouting that is unique to scouting and/or old fashioned upbringing, and why that makes him more of a “man” than other men.

Muad_Dib's avatar

(If I were debating, I might ask you whether a girl who joined the BSA would become a “man”, and what rank they would have to acheive to do so)

funkdaddy's avatar

I don’t know how many folks here have actually had any experience with a boy/cub scout troop, and it’s been a while so maybe it’s a different organization now, but I was in an old old group and I don’t remember anything pushing Christianity or militarization or any of the worrying things you guys are so worked up about. Maybe I’m wrong, but this feels like an opinion fed by extreme examples and the internet, rather than in person experience.

We went to meetings, ran around with friends, did an activity as a group, and then went home. Sometimes we built stuff, sometimes we volunteered, sometimes we built floats for parades and were in them, we went on weekend hikes, and there was an awesome summer camp not that far from my city. The biggest event of the year was the pinewood derby.

That’s it. I don’t remember anything dealing with God beyond what you’d see in school, my group met in my elementary school and there was no church affiliated with anything. My family didn’t go to church and I honestly have no idea the religion of anyone else involved.

As far as it being the Hitler Youth, that’s just not reality. I guess I learned to shoot a bow, and first aid, but that’s a long shot from the ROTC.

As far as making a man, I don’t know if that can be defined. It did give me a more interesting childhood, taught me that part of my obligation to the world is helping others, and made me more comfortable in a wider variety of situations. Those are things I’d like to pass on to my kids.

That also sounds a lot like the goals of the girl scouts, and two groups shared resources where I went. A lot of the leaders were involved in both, so I can’t imagine the goals suddenly changed when one meeting ended and the next began.

Darth_Algar's avatar


So what is a man? What makes one into a man?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Muad_Dib What they really get is male bonding. That is the single most important thing. When there are girls around teenage males are essentially in competition all the time. They never get to “grow up” where that dynamic exists. Eliminate that variable and something really changes, they become less agressive with each other and more cooperative. You know like…adults do. When things don’t go right and they are miles away from mommy then they are forced to become more self reliant and a little more resilient. Society will ask this of boys as they get older and the sooner they learn it the more likely they’ll be out contributing rather than living with their parents at 30.
@DA it’s more than just a pair.

funkdaddy's avatar

If we substitute “making an effective adult” for “making a man” does that make everyone happy?

An adult handles themselves and respects others. Whether a man or a woman.

YARNLADY's avatar

From what I see, they will still will be separate, with girl dens and boy dens. They aren’t really combining with girls.

Muad_Dib's avatar

OK, in that case I’m certain there are lots of ways to make that happen without joining this one very specific organization.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@funkdaddy exactly, yes. Sad that “becoming a man” is not equated to that by default.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Well, the word “man” is a gendered term that describes an adult male human, and is not qualified as to effectiveness.

Words mean things, and communication is best helped when everyone in a conversation agrees to the definition of the terms in use.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Muad_Dib I’m sure there are, this one organization is pretty well dead at this point anyway.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me “it’s more than just a pair.”

That’s not an answer.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

What do you think it is? I already said what I think above if you were paying attention and not just wanting to argue.

Darth_Algar's avatar

There was something about being an adult, but I fail to see how that’s really gender-specific.And the question isn’t about what I think*. You talk a lot about being a man, so how do you define that?

(*Although if you really want my opinion, I’ve always rather gotten the impression that those who worry so much about being “a man” (as opposed to a “mommy’s boy” or whatnot) usually have some insecurities.)

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Dude, you are little more than a petty troll. You contribute nothing yet go to great lengths to try and throw backhanded, thinly veiled insults and stir shit up. That is exactly opposite of what being a man is. A man is a productive, well adjusted male adult on more than just a physical level.

Muad_Dib's avatar

Issuing vague proclamations and then taking offense and calling people names when they ask for clarification is hardly “manly”... I’m just saying.

tinyfaery's avatar

Ooh, insulting someone for insulting someone, that’s next level insulting. And such an adult male thing to do.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Calling out a thinly veiled insult is outside this conversation. I have let many things go with that particular jelly. When all you do to other jellies here on this site is pick petty fights I take offense after a while. Forgive me for that.

Muad_Dib's avatar

I feel like the conversation is drifting from its designated course. Can we all agree I’m an asshole and blame me for everything and then move on?

funkdaddy's avatar

@Muad_Dib – You always get to be the asshole, I want to be the asshole for once. ~

Darth_Algar's avatar


You asked my opinion. I gave it. If you personally feel insulted that’s your issue, not mine. Meanwhile a couple of us requested some definition of what precisely you meant. You got all pissy. I guess that’s being manly.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I got pissy because you are demanding a definition so you can sit back and pick it apart because you obviously do not think such organizations make boys better men as adults. I disagree, I think it builds character. You also asked in a backhanded way. I’m not giving you the definition of “what makes a man” because it’s different for everyone and it’s not concrete, nor is it relevant to the question. I can’t get too mad for your “stealthy trolling” because I’m guilty of doing it myself at times. That’s not stopping me from calling it out though. The question is in general and is not “what makes a man” it was “how do you feel about scouts accepting girls” If you want opinions of “what makes a man” then ask it in social. I’ll chime in if I feel you are sincere and not just stirring the pot.

NerdyKeith's avatar

Its about time, although I do think they should just rename their organisation to be “The Scouts!” Leave the gender out of it.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m torn. I’m in favor of some organizations being for only boys or only girls. The Boy Scouts as an organization has some things that I didn’t like, but I think many boys like the The Boy Scouts, and get a lot of positive things out of it.

I think ideally I’d like the organization to be co-ed, but not necessarily each group be co-ed. Parents could have choice on whether their child is part of a co-ed troop (is troop the right word?) or gender specific. Maybe it’s more likely the Girl Scouts will branch out that way.

janbb's avatar

@NerdyKeith But what about the fact that there is a Girl Scouts organization

NerdyKeith's avatar

@janbb Merge the two organisations maybe?

canidmajor's avatar

@NerdyKeith: the BSA has a crappy reputation these days, the Girl Scouts doesn’t. They are separate and discreet organizations, so it wouldn’t make sense for the Gorl Scoits to join the BSA.

Muad_Dib's avatar

I agree with the canid – the GSA has no responsibility to take on the political burden the BSA has taken on itself.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Perhaps the Girl Scouts should rename the organization “The Scouts” and open the membership to boys, then aggressively develop those programs which put the Boy Scouts on the map.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

If the GSA does that they could easily become the scouting org that survives

Darth_Algar's avatar


I’m not the only person who asked you for clarification (and you rather snidely refused to give an honest answer to that person as well)..

“because you obviously do not think such organizations make boys better men as adults”

How is it obvious? I’ve gave no indication one way or the other. I’m sure that organization can help to make boys into better adults, I just don’t think it can by itself. Nor do I find it all that special or unique in that. There are countless things in our lives that shape us into the men or women we become, and an organization like the Boy Scouts is only going to be one part in that equation. I’ve seen plenty of honorable, responsible adult men who never had one minute of scouting during their boyhood. And I’ve seen men who were in the Boy Scouts for years who ended up being drug-addicted petty thieves who’ve spend much of their adult lives in and out of prison. So perhaps the BSA’s ability to turn boys into men, on its own, is a tad over-glorified.

_“nor is it relevant to the question…
...The question is in general and is not ‘what makes a man’ it was ‘how do you feel about scouts accepting girls’ “_

By that as it may you were, in fact, the one who initially inject the whole “boys to men” topic into the thread.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

The question was answered as asked in my initial response. You want to turn this into a debate which it is not. Because you can find one or two example of scouts that turned out bad does not mean that those cases represent the whole. I can name a couple eagle scouts that did not grow up to be successfull and some ex-scouts who are essentially criminals as well so what? Most scouts I know indeed grew up to be quite well adjusted and successfull. Any way, I know you’ll just keep trying to drive this as you normally do, there is no sense in continuing.

Soubresaut's avatar

I find myself connecting this question with the ongoing discussions over Weinstein (on this site and off it), and some other gender-related issues/topics that have been getting renewed public attention recently…. I don’t know if it’s a totally fair or accurate comparison for me make… it probably isn’t. It’s probably oversimplifying a lot.

I just know that it feels, to me, like the world could do with a whole lot less division of boys and girls early on… that the world could do with adults teaching kids to get along with each other, to value each other as the full, complex individuals they are, rather than encouraging kids to divide along perceived or supposed lines (in this case, gender). Again, I may simply be oversimplifying complicated issues and drawing false comparisons. It’s just what comes to my mind, when I hear all these things talked about simultaneously.

I was never in Girl Scouts, and clearly I’ve never been in Boy Scouts, so I can’t speak to those experiences. I did go to a school that combined educational fieldtrips with overnight camping experiences to help classes bond with each other (co-ed classes, if that wasn’t clear by context). Those experiences did a lot to help us empathize with each other, and reduced our tendencies to divide amongst ourselves. Didn’t stop or solve everything by itself, but it did help.

[Edited to add]: I’m not saying it’s necessarily the either Scout Organization’s job to bridge the divide, because it’s certainly not all their doing. Though I wasn’t in Girl Scouts, most of my extracurriculars were divided by gender, whether by the rules (in sports leagues), or because the activities were seen as gender-specific (my dance studio had I think one boy student in all the time I was there)... I just think there’s probably value in working to bring boys and girls together more, somehow. The culture does seem to like to divide them.

Darth_Algar's avatar

“Because you can find one or two example of scouts that turned out bad does not mean that those cases represent the whole.”

Didn’t claim that it did.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

“And I’ve seen men who were in the Boy Scouts for years who ended up being drug-addicted petty thieves who’ve spend much of their adult lives in and out of prison. So perhaps the BSA’s ability to turn boys into men, on its own, is a tad over-glorified

Yellowdog's avatar

In 2010 Didn’t the BSA adapt a girls’ organization called the American Heritage Girls as their sister organization (en leiu of the Girl Scouts) ?

Well, I may well be the first boy to join Camp Fire Girls in 1975. So this is all nostalgic to me.

CalHoncho's avatar

I see it as society loosing it’s backbone to political correctness. The Boy Scouts are called the Boy Scouts because it’s for males only, the Girl Scouts same way but for girls. If they had wanted to merge both organizations that IMO would have made more sense and both organizations would benefit. I don’t think the Girl Scouts are in good shape in regards to their organization, I know the local girl scout camp that had been open for years closed. I assume because of membership.

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