When you think of the Girl Scouts, you probably picture training-bra-burning, wire-hanger-wielding radical feminists with a serious political axe to grind, right? You don’t? Well, according to some anti-choice groups, the Girl Scouts of the USA are sort of junior league feminazis, as imagined in a Rush Limbaugh fever dream.
The rest of us think of Girls Scouts as an organization that teaches leadership and life skills to girls—and sells delicious, delicious cookies. But don’t be fooled by the tasty snacks, says Pro-Life Waco (yes, you can’t make up that name): The Texas-based group recently launched a boycott of young Scouts after the group’s official Twitter account shared a link to a Huffington Post article that included Wendy Davis on a list of 2013’s most notable women. CookieCott 2014, as the boycott has been termed, asks fellow anti-choicers to say no to Girl Scout cookies because the Scouts’ “national leadership continues to show its attachment to pro-abortion leaders and organizations.”
Said Kelly Parisi, chief communications executive at Girl Scouts of the USA, to The Daily Beast,
It’s deeply unfortunate that fringe groups are attaching their political agenda to our brand. It’s really upsetting that we’re a girl-serving organization and people are using our brand to have very adult conversations … And that has no place in our organization and isn’t about building leadership skills for girls.
According to its website, Girl Scouts of the USA
does not take a position or develop materials on [human sexuality, birth control, and abortion]. We feel our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all areas of their lives.
Girl Scouts’ CEO Anna Maria Chávez reiterated the organization’s position in a recent YouTube video, saying, “Girl Scouts of the USA believes that reproductive issues are deeply private matters best left to families.”
This is not the first time Pro-Life Waco has boycotted Girl Scout cookies. In 2004, the anti-choice group launched a similar campaign after a Waco-area Scout chapter supported sex-education programs sponsored by Planned Parenthood. Because the boycott was hyper-local and received attention from area news outlets, Pro-Life Waco was, unfortunately, successful in its efforts—and the Girl Scouts ultimately ended their relationship with Planned Parenthood Waco. The current CookieCott isn’t likely to have the same impact, though, as it lacks a specific focus and targets the large, national Girl Scouts organization. But those factors make it no less frustrating or unnecessary.
As I sit here munching on Thin Mints, I want to commend the Girl Scouts for maintaining such poise and professionalism while facing such a ridiculous attack. I’d also like to note that while Girl Scouts of the USA might not put forth a pro-choice policy, they do take progressive stands on other controversial social issues, particularly the question of trans youth within the organization. From the Scouts’ website:
If the [transgender] child is recognized by the family and school/community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, then Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe.
To support the great work the Girl Scouts do, I suggest you get yourself to a supermarket (or a nearby legal marijuana dispensary) before cookie season is over.
Stephanie Hallett is a writer and editor in Los Angeles. She can be found on Twitter @stephhallett.