Last month, another bastion of male exclusivity vanished as the Boy Scouts of America reversed its long-standing policy and announced it will admit girls. As a woman, I should be happy – at least according to some feminists.
Toni Van Pelt, President of the National Organization for Women (NOW), said in response to the decision, “I think it’s a good thing in that the Boy Scouts have a long history of discrimination and they are taking action.” Responding to a Change.org petition launched by Sydney Ireland, a 15-year-old girl who said she wants to become an Eagle Scout, NOW passed a resolution in February calling on the Boy Scouts to admit girls.
Girl Scouts, however, weren’t so thrilled. They see the move as simply adding the Boy Scouts as a potential competitor for an already dwindling pool of girls interested in scouting. “Why not ask us how we could help them serve the 90-percent of the boys they’re choosing not to serve instead of pursuing girls?” said Girl Scouts’ Chief Customer Officer Lisa Margosian.
Of course, Girl Scouts could follow suit and begin competing with Boy Scouts for boy members. But everyone knows that initiative would fail. After all, girls are clamoring to be boys; boys aren’t clamoring to be girls.
As sex and dating columnist Jennifer Wright lamented, “(G)irls doing boy stuff is considered cool, but boys doing girl stuff is frowned upon. A girl can dress up as Spider-Man and everyone will think it’s fantastic, but if a boy dresses up as Wonder Woman, well, not so much.” Similarly, Wright noted that “being one of the boys” is a compliment for girls, but “playing like a girl” is considered an insult for boys.
“So it’s cool to be a guy, but it’s uncool to be a girl. And much of culture, even many feminists, are completely fine with that.”
Well I’m not.
I was disgusted by the Boy Scouts’ decision to admit girls. I’m even more disgusted that girls would clamor to be admitted to this all-boys club.
It’s not that I have any problem with girls developing camping skills. I loved camping as a kid and actually developed lots of camping and survival skills while attending an all-girls camp during my childhood summers. The Boy Scouts don’t have a monopoly on these activities and there are plenty of options for girls to participate in them beyond even the Girl Scouts.
What bothers me is that society, even women and girls, have an apparent aversion to identifying with the female gender and feminine virtues. I’m proud of being female and I think every girl should feel the same way. Instead of trying to be like men, we should boldly uphold womanhood.
Yet we’re aping men in practically every way, and have been for decades. Girls wanting to become Boy Scouts is simply the latest manifestation of this regrettable trend.
A History of Women Rejecting Womanhood
Three decades ago, feminist icon Gloria Steinem proudly declared, “Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” She and many of her fellow feminists saw this as progress, but is it?
And as I detail in Redeeming the Feminine Soul, women look and act more like men today than women have at any other time in Western history – perhaps all of history. In the past 40-50 years, we have relinquished many of the roles and characteristics considered uniquely feminine and have acquired many roles and characteristics considered uniquely, or primarily masculine.
“Certainly, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we women have greatly flattered men, while simultaneously insulting ourselves.”
About 50 years ago, nearly half of all mothers stayed home; now less than 30-percent do. We also used to comprise 38-percent of the workforce; now we comprise about half. But perhaps most telling, we now are entering professions once reserved for men, and are even serving in combat positions in the military.
A similar transformation has also occurred in the world of athletics. Since 2000, the Olympics have added to women’s competition the traditionally male sports of weightlifting, wrestling, and boxing – and female competitors now display bulging biceps and six-pack abs that exceed many men.
Interestingly, men don’t seem to be clamoring in mass to enter traditionally feminine spheres. The transformation has been almost entirely one-sided. And what’s been lost is the beauty and presence of feminine virtues in society.
Gymnastics is a case in point. This sport once valued artistry, but now has been reduced to performing the most spectacular and athletic twists and tumbles. As author Dvora Meyers mused, “(I)s it true that the women’s floor exercise has transformed from lovely performance art on par with Cirque du Soleil to a graceless exhibition of athleticism at the expense of beauty?”
Sadly, our culture no longer values feminine virtues. Yet instead of upholding and arguing for the worth of what women uniquely embody and express, we women have joined culture’s misogynistic chorus.
How ironic that feminists rail against misogyny – literally, the “hatred of women” – in men, calling out horrific abusers of women like Harvey Weinstein. Yet these same women seem oblivious to the way misogyny is manifest in themselves.
They may not hate actual women, but they despise being women. They’re portraits in self-hatred, much like Michael Jackson – the adult, black man who looked like a white woman and attempted to live as a child. These women want so badly to be men, and don’t even realize how this desire is fueled by a rejection of their own fundamental nature.
Misogyny in All of Us
I wish I could say it’s just feminists and girls who want to be Boy Scouts who harbor this bias against feminine virtues. But this stealth misogyny is so rampant in our society that, with rare exceptions, we all harbor some form of it. I know I did.
I’ll never forget the first time I became aware of this diseased attitude I had towards my own gender. I was listening to a speaker at a conference and ruminating about my dislike of her. She was too grandmotherly, too soft-spoken, too sweet, too . . . Then it dawned on me: she was too feminine!
I realized in that moment that this bias against my own gender was twisted, and I repented of it. Since then, I’ve tried to remain sensitive to other ways misogyny has infected my soul so I can continue to grow as woman and as a Christ-follower. This sensitivity can be painful at times, though.
Every time I hear a man derisively refer to a group of boys as a bunch of girls, I cringe. Does he not realize what using my gender as a slur implies? Similarly, I feel anger when I hear a boy tell a female classmate that her latest accomplishment is pretty good “for a girl,” as though being female is a sub-class of human being.
“Women don’t need all-boys groups to begin admitting them. They need all-boys groups to begin valuing them.”
Misogyny has consequences. It’s killing women and it’s impoverishing society. Women don’t need all-boys groups to begin admitting them. They need all-boys groups to begin valuing them.
Women also need to begin valuing themselves. Our lives depend on it. Our families depend on it. And our culture, whether it realizes it or not, depends on it too.