Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Stacy Trasancos

6/17/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A mommy convert contemplates why not to sign her girls up

It has been said that severing ties with Girl Scouts might be a sacrifice for some Catholic families, but I do not agree that it is a sacrifice to forego a social institution with flawed messages for girls. I think our girls might be better prepared for true leadership if they are at home learning to serve their family by doing kind little things like baking cookies, rather than out selling them as little future-activist fund-raisers.

1912 Founder Juliette 'Daisy' Gordon Low with two Girl Scouts

1912 Founder Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low with two Girl Scouts

Article Highlights

By Stacy Trasancos

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/17/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: Girl Scouts, GSUSA, femininity, homemaking


WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - With the bishops in the United States investigating the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) this question seems to be on a lot of people's minds. Do the Girl Scouts really help girls? In many ways, what they teach goes against how I want to raise my own girls, but I never really thought about why. The Girl Scouts have this whole attitude about them that is just, frankly, not feminine.

I grew up with the "you can be anything a man can be" cultural message, and I took it seriously. As a child, I tried to run faster, climb higher, and make better grades than the boys in my classes. Heck, I even hauled hay and shot rifles (still can) as a teen. When Hillary Clinton made her comment about staying home and baking cookies and having teas, I even remember thinking how proud I was that I was just like that in my twenties.


Nope, no standin' by my man like Tammy Wynette. At that point I was a single mother, and an unstoppable force as a scientist on a career path of success (so I stupidly told myself). Older, wiser, and full of regrets, I have come to regard such messages to young women as dangerous to the institution of the family - and to a young woman's own sense of happiness and fulfillment.

Enough of the trip down memory lane. Do Girl Scouts help girls now?


Rather than base my opinion only on my personal experiences though, I decided to ask my friend Mary Rice Hasson about it. She is also a mother of seven and a lawyer who serves as a Fellow in Catholic studies at the conservative think tank in Washington D.C., Ethics and Public Policy Center. She is an expert on these issues, particularly on Catholic women's views of  faith, conscience and family. A LifeNews article cites her as agreeing that the bishop investigation is needed, and then quotes her.

"A collision course is probably a good description of where things are headed," she said. "The leadership of the Girl Scouts is reflexively liberal. Their board is dominated by people whose views are antithetical to the teachings of the Catholic Church."

That got my attention. I asked her about the Girl Scouts, and for advice about raising girls in general. I am more interested in guiding principles than details. I was struck by this advice: "My parents raised us girls (7 of us) to believe we could do anything---but to value motherhood and to retain the sense of femininity that flourishes by embracing womanhood, not aping masculinity." Bingo!

Value motherhood. Be feminine. Embrace womanhood. Do not ape masculinity.


At her suggestion, I took a look at the current Girl Scout campaign, TogetherThere, and winced. No, I do not want my girls exposed to such career-oriented myopic hubris; it is all too familiar.

"A girl who doesn't believe she has what it takes to be a leader isn't likely to run for mayor one day. A girl who is laughed at by peers for being outspoken in the classroom isn't dreaming of sitting at the head of the table, running a board meeting. A girl who hides her abilities in science and math won't find the cure to illnesses that affect us all."

It almost sounds good, but think about it. The end goal of developing character is not to run for office, be a corporate officer, or become famous for discovering cures. That turns you into an object held up for scrutiny based on what you accomplish professionally, and it sets unreasonable expectations. It is anything but feminine. What about all the girls who do not become those things? What about all the girls who do not even want to become those things? The Get the Facts page is all about becoming a high-profile leader in government, industry, or academia, and how those areas are dominated by men.

There is no mention of the natural leadership position for women - Motherhood.


The slogan for the TogetherThere campaign is "When girls succeed, so does society." The text goes on to say that the status of women in society is a direct measure of that society's success. But hang on! Define success. Is a woman only successful if she achieves a leadership position outside the home?


Also, by definition, not everyone can be a leader, so instilling this ideology in girls only sets most of them up for unrealistic, false failure, a sense of failure that is not really failure at all. The power of being a woman is not constrained to the office, boardroom, or laboratory. In fact, I would put that way down on the list of ways women can positively influence society.

Further, why isn't being a mother and raising children listed as success? Why isn't picking a valiant knight for a husband who dotes on you, provides for you, and admires you for the sacrifices you make to raise your children considered high status?

It has been said that severing ties with Girl Scouts might be a sacrifice for some Catholic families, but I do not agree that it is a sacrifice to forego a social institution with flawed messages for girls. I think our girls might be better prepared for true leadership if they are at home learning to serve their family by doing kind little things like baking cookies, rather than out selling them as little future-activist fund-raisers. Dare I say, they might be better prepared for true success if they understand the magnificent importance of standing by your man.

As for being educated, that is for the edification of their souls and development of their God-given gifts, and it is a journey they will be on for their whole lives if someone does not convince them the only purpose of education is to earn a title on a business card...or patches, pins, stars, and crests, or something.

Come to think of it, yes, we will definitely be foregoing the green uniforms and sashes for something a little more mysterious and lacy - like chapel veils. [Did she just say that out loud?] Sure did.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Marriage & Family

Finding Your Best Friend 1,000 Miles Away

Image of Michael and Lauren were married this March.

By Catholic Match

I never really thought it could work, Lauren said, recalling her first encounter with Michael on CatholicMatch. He was so far away a thousand miles honestly didn't think we'd ever be more than friends. Michael and Lauren had free profiles on CatholicMatch, and after an ... continue reading


From Living Large to Putting God in Charge

Image of

By Catholic Match

The year was 1990 and Bob was, in his own words, living large. The then 29-year-old had graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee several years earlier and spent over a year on the pro golf tour. He went to build a thriving CPA firm and thought himself to be in ... continue reading


Devil at work! Infidelity experts says adultery is good for marriage - if you don't get caught Watch

Image of Since launching in Canada on Valentine's Day in 2002, the adultery Web site has attracted more than 24 million members in 37 countries. South Korea joined last week.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ashley Madison is a controversial Web site that enables married men and women to have xtramarital affair. Based in Canada, Noel Biderman is forthright about the right of the married to have affairs -- providing they don't get caught. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


The Path to Happiness for a Young Widow

Image of Bruce and Lauren are now happily married!

By Catholic Match

It's been said the hand of God works by way of coincidences, keeping Him invisible as He illuminates our path. That's how it worked for Bruce and Lauren, and how they get their first sense that something special was afoot. Lauren, 54-years-old, was recently widowed ... continue reading


A Marriage Built on a Firm Rock

Image of Ed and Francis both had great success thanks to CatholicMatch!

By Catholic Match

Frances already had an immensely positive experience with marriage when she came to CatholicMatch. A widow, she had great memories of her years with her late husband and if another marriage was to happen it would have to be on a firm foundation. I had a wonderful ... continue reading


Easy homemade play dough recipes, for the whole family to enjoy.

Image of Home made Play Doh is so much fun.

By Wendy C. R.N., BA

Every child loves to play with play dough and making your own play dough with your child can be fun. Here are three easy recipes for great homemade play dough. Kids are amazed when they learn how easy it is to make play dough wit this activity. The dough can be ... continue reading


Have a Great Family Easter Egg Hunt. Instead of just candy, why not fill your eggs with clues or puzzle pieces, or all sorts of things!

Image of Children love Easter Egg Hunts. Lets make it special this year.

By Wendy C. R.N., BA

Have an Family Easter Egg Hunts this year and fill the eggs with more than just candy. Here are 31 ideas to fill them with, and have fun! LOS ANGELES, CA - Need a fun idea to spruce up your Easter Egg Hunt? Instead of just candy, why not fill your eggs with clues or ... continue reading


Former 'house of horrors' abortion clinic to become emergency food, support center for poor families Watch

Image of The Philadelphia clinic was described as a chaotic

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is such a thing as a second chance. The notorious Delaware clinic in which abortionist Kermit Gosnell performed late-term abortions and executed children after birth will see a second life as an emergency food and support center for poor families. Lutheran ... continue reading


Hey dads! Pope Francis has an awesome message for you! Watch

Image of Pope Francis follows the example of St. Joseph, and blesses a child. Our clergy are father figures too.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On the feast day of St. Joseph, Pope Francis spoke directly to dads, encouraging them to follow the example of St. Joseph and remain close to their children. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Yesterday was the feast day of St. Joseph and Pope Francis used the ... continue reading


Church must reconcile divorce and remarriage, German cardinal says Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Church needs to find a middle ground that does not destroy or abandon doctrine in regards to divorce and civil remarriages, Cardinal Walter Kasper says. The church must offer a "renewed" interpretation of Church teaching in order to help those whose ... continue reading


All Marriage & Family News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:1-10
1 Once, when Peter and John were going up to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh, call on his name, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:13-35
13 Now that very same day, two of them were on their ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 23rd, 2014 Image

St. George
April 23: Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter