Sisterhood Blog

The Right's Latest Target: Girl Scouts

By Sarah Seltzer

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The Girl Scouts have long been synonymous with wholesome American girlhood, with their cookies and their uniforms and their appearance in a late ‘80s movie with Shelley Long. But recently they’ve come under attack because some affiliates have decided that young girls on the cusp of puberty might want to know the facts of life, based on science, evidence, and individual choice — the of healthy, judgment-free ethos that Planned Parenthood promotes.

The problem is that Planned Parenthood, once championed by the likes of the Bush family and Richard Nixon, is now public enemy #1. After efforts to defund and discredit the storied institution have taken root, suddenly the health provider has become a pariah. And now those opposed to Planned Parenthood using a single brochure from the organizations to make the case that the Girl Scouts possess a “radical feminist” mission to corrupt the young women of America. And, what, turn them into tolerant, self-assured, confident young women in charge of their own sexuality? Heaven forbid.

The scandal du jour comes courtesy of two former Scouts, the Volanski sisters, now being backed up by several major anti-choice organization after they started a blog dedicated to exposing the Scout’s supposed secret agenda. According to The Daily Beast’s Alizah Salario:

They say this agenda’ includes everything from providing information about reproductive health and birth control, to lauding leaders like Margaret Mead and Hillary Clinton.

Will the horrors never cease? The Volanskis’ accusation that has caught on in the conservative media is that the Scouts took a select group of young women to a United Nations conference on the status of women, at which they accessed information about reproductive rights and safe sex via a brochure printed by the International Planned Parenthood Federation called “”Happy, Healthy, and Hot.”

It’s worth noting that the Girl Scouts have attracted negative attention in the past for offering sex ed, as well as individual events honoring labor leaders and the lesbian folk duo the Indigo Girls — all tame transgressions, to be sure. The real horror here is not what the Girl Scouts are doing, but how right-wingers lobbing around Planned Parenthood as a smear has become acceptable instead of laughable.

As for how the Girl Scouts leadership has responded to this controversy from their former ranks? They praised these two girls for speaking their minds and advocating their cause, evidence of good Girl Scout values.

“…[W]e will continue to support girls who care deeply about an issue and have the courage to stand up and take action,” GSUSA spokeswoman Michelle Tompkins told The Daily Beast, “even if we do not agree with what they say.”

That’s the last straw. Thanks to the Volanskis and their rabble-rousing, I’m convinced. Instead of nodding and smiling at the mention of the Girl Scouts, I’m actually going to consider recommending the program to the young women I know — just as soon as they stop putting palm oil in their cookies, for which they’re also attracting heat from another pair of scouts.


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