The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Point/Counterpoint: Should we be celebrating co-ed scouting?

(Marcus Yam/Seattle Times/MCT)

Twitter went into a frenzy over the impending name change from the Boy Scouts of America’s Boy Scout Program to Scouts BSA. Some critics were outraged, claiming that the name change was meant to intentionally emasculate the young men of America.

On May 3, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tweeted, “The emasculation of the Boy Scouts is complete. Old Scout oath ‘Be Prepared.’ New oath ‘Be Pretty.’ ” He later said on Fox News, “Look, I don’t think a lot of people care whether girls have the opportunity to do some of the same things boys do, but there’s always been a reason that these activities were conducted separately by the genders.” These are utterly ridiculous statements.

Before, Girl Scouts were an afterthought most of the time with limited activities like selling cookies and making arts and crafts, while Boy Scouts were at the forefront with training in life skills. Now, girls will have that same chance to experience and learn in an environment they were previously barred from. This gender-neutral formation will allow all genders to grow and flourish in an environment in which kids can learn from each other and have the same opportunities.

The name change would also allow for boys and girls to understand that they aren’t limited to specific duties or activities just because of their gender. A gender-inclusive environment such as the one the impending Scouts will honor would help eliminate the pressure of gender roles instilled upon children at a very early age.

On May 3, conservative blogger Matt Walsh said, “If people are concerned about the moral formation of boys and making boys into men, then you need to separate them from girls.” This is problematic thinking and misconstrues the amazing foundation that is being laid by the Scouts. The “moral formation” of both boys and girls into men and women doesn’t come through gendered segregation. It comes through recognizing differences and similarities, embracing them, and using them.

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Girl Scouts should follow Boy Scouts’ lead

By Michelle Kumar

[email protected]

With the rebranding of Boy Scouts of America came mountains of criticism against the organization as well as outcry from the Girl Scouts of the USA. The main argument seems to be that Boy Scouts should be for boys or males and Girls Scouts for girls or females. To be honest, why does there have to be a division in the first place? It was long ago debunked that boys and girls could only like things according to their gender.

Of course, historically, gender segregation was more acceptable when these two organizations formed. However, in 2018, we live in a completely different world in which young boys and girls don’t have likes or do what was traditionally acceptable. I applaud the Boy Scouts for this inclusiveness and urge the Girl Scouts to do the same.

The Girls Scouts should be open to being co-ed just as the Boy Scouts are. At the core, these organizations have two completely different focuses, and that’s all right. The result is the same: happy, independent, and confident future leaders. I don’t see why any parent would not want this for their child. Co-ed organizations help foster healthy relationships and teach children to get along and break down gender barriers. The understanding that they subconsciously learn is what important.

The Girls Scouts’ primary focus on leadership is through mentorship, STEM activities, civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and life skills. Whereas the Boy Scouts have a more STEM, wilderness, and community service-based focus. The option should be open for boys and girls to join either one because all of these skills are extremely important. The Girls Scouts don’t need to make themselves different or only appeal to girls. They need to follow the Boy Scouts’ example and rebrand for the benefit of all future leaders.

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About the Contributor
Nichole Shaw
Nichole Shaw, Opinions Columnist
Email: [email protected] Nichole Shaw is an Opinions columnist and Editorial Board member at The Daily Iowan, writing about culture and systemic oppression of different populations. She is a junior at the UI majoring in journalism and English on a publishing track.