It happened. The Girl Scouts are finally suing their male counterparts after the latter decided to open its doors to scouts of both sexes a little over a year ago.
Officially, the lawsuit centers on trademark issues. With the Boy Scouts rebranding to “Scouts BSA” and welcoming females into their ranks, the Girl Scouts feel their claim on scouting is in jeopardy:
“In the complaint, the Girl Scouts said the Boy Scouts have no monopoly over such terms as ‘scouts’ and ‘scouting’ when it offers services to girls.
It also said the name change threatens to ‘marginalize’ Girl Scouts activities and has already sown confusion, with families, schools and communities nationwide being told the organization no longer exists, or merged with the Boy Scouts.
‘Only GSUSA has the right to use the Girl Scouts and Scouts trademarks with leadership development services for girls,’ and the Boy Scouts infringements are ‘new and uniquely damaging to GSUSA,’ the complaint said.”
I sympathize with the Girl Scouts. From their perspective, their male counterparts appear to have seen the writing on the wall, made a bold move, and stole the Girl Scouts’ market right from under their noses.
But on the other hand, I also sympathize with the Boy Scouts. They look pitifully similar to the man who brings flowers to his girlfriend thinking he will receive an ecstatic hug and kiss, but is left asking, “Where did I go wrong?” when she throws the bouquet in his face and stomps off.
From an outsider’s viewpoint, the Boy’s Scouts’ move to include females seems perfectly natural. After all, inclusivity is the buzzword of the decade. In society, the male sex is often viewed as elitist and oppressive, and as such, needs to be taken down a peg. All-male societies, particularly on college campuses, are being forced to welcome the opposite sex into their ranks or be disbanded. With examples such as these, it’s not hard to see that the Boy Scouts took stock of the situation and decided that they would extend the olive branch, extol the values and abilities of the female sex, and in doing so, would show their solidarity with feminism, while also boosting their enrollment numbers.
It was a very sound theory, but clearly didn’t work out as well in real life as it did on paper. Why?
Could it be that the Boy Scouts fell prey to the fact that women don’t always know what they want?
For years, women have been telling us that they just want to be treated with equality and be able to do everything men do, no questions asked. Unfortunately, as that wish begins to be granted, they sometimes discover that such a position isn’t as rosy as it seemed. Sometimes there are unintended consequences to the equality demands women have made – including increased competition with the Boy Scouts for female recruits.
As much as women would like to believe otherwise, they can’t have things both ways. If they want the opposite sex to include and recognize them as equals in everything, then they have to recognize that the benefits of equality sometimes come with less than desirable circumstances.
University of Chicago professor and author Richard Weaver ">once noted that the “rage for equality” effectively “blinded” society, “masculiniz[ing] women” and eventually creating “a self-pitying, lost sex.”
Is this prediction playing out before our eyes in the lawsuit against the Boy Scouts? Do women need to realize that equality does not necessarily mean that they will get their way in everything?
[Image Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily A. Bradley/Released]
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.