Re: Marge Menkes and Cub Scout day camp
Mon, 24 Jun 1991 14:36:45 CDT
About the case of the girl wanting to go to Cub Scout Day Camp, and the
comment that some things should be boy only and some girl only...
I suppose I feel ambivalent about this whole issue. Maybe part of the
reason I do is because I'm female, but hear me out.
On the one hand, I think an organization should be able to set its own
"house rules" (I read a Miss Manners column about this recently that
I agreed with), and that people who join know the house rules and abide
by them or leave, and that if the house rules happen to exclude certain
people...then so be it.
On the other hand, I've seen that sort of "house rules" used too often
to perpetuate an unjust situation. For example, do any of you think it
would be okay to make a rule in the scouting organization to exclude anyone
who was black? And how is accepting blacks any different from accepting
girls? We are still only talking about PHYSICAL differences. Of course,
in this society, a physical difference that deals with sex blows most people
away....I admire the European's laid-back stance on matters sexual.
American culture puts too much emphasis on too many of the wrong sorts of
things, in my opinion.
Yes, Girl Scouts exists, but as another correspondent here once said, it
is NOT the same program. Cub Scouts _DO_ where Girl Scouts "talk about it"
or "read about it", or "draw pictures about it". I can see why any girl
would prefer the Cub Scout program. I was a Girl Scout, and I envied my
brothers their Cub Scout activities.
I suppose one solution would be for the Girl Scouting organization to become
more like the Cub Scouting organization. But this is not the optimal
solution for girls like Crystal, the younger sister of a Cub Scout in my
pack. Crystal is at every den meeting, because her mom and dad are the
den leader and assistant den leader. She makes all the projects her
brother does. She participates in all the games. She is as good or better
than the boys in the den at a lot of what is done, and she is accepted by
the boys as a normal part of den meetings and activities. She attends
every pack meeting, and goes family camping with the other Cub Scouts.
But she can't win any recognition, because, as Queen Elizabeth I once put
it she was "born cloven and not crested". She can't attend Cub Scout Day
Camp. My heart goes out to Crystal and to other girls in her situation,
and I think she deserves to be a Cub Scout.
For anyone who has ever been
excluded from any activity for purely physical differences that are not
under their control...your skin is the wrong color, your reproductive
organs are not the right type, you have a physical handicap of some sort...
my heart goes out to them, and I lean towards not letting physical
differences make a difference in any organization. Philosophical differences,
on the other hand, should righfully be part and parcel of what one
accepts/rejects about an organization. So...though I have known many
decent people who consider themselves atheists, I don't think they belong
in Cub Scouting, and that little boy who sued over that issue doesn't
have a case. Belief/Atheism is a philosophical difference...and house
rules require belief. Any Atheist who CHOOSES to express a belief can
join. But here there is the possibility of CHOICE...unfortunately, where
physical exclusions exist, there is no choice. You can't choose not to be
black or female or handicapped, no matter how badly you may want to.
That is why I think Cub Scouting should admit girls. I hope she wins her
case in the end, and I hope other people in the Cub Scouting organization
can accept it gracefully if she does. It is time to put aside all our
phobias about purely physical differences.
--- Monica Pilman
Cubmaster, Pack 234
New Orleans Area Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City