Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Friday, August 17, 2018

Did the Boy Scouts of America mess up admitting girls, or will this revitalize and renew the relevance of their flagging brand?

First, we should admit girls are going to get in pretty much wherever they want to. The question is why they’d want to, given (whether in prospect or consequentially) how they’ll be treated when they get there. What self-respecting girl wants to deliberately run a gauntlet of entrenched Filiarchy?

The answer is easy to see: tomboys. Not every protowoman wants to sell cookies and sash up merit badges on things like modesty, fidelity and homemaking. If the Girl Scouts had stolen a march and badassed their achievement list ages ago, maybe none of this would have ever happened?

Maybe it would’ve.

Girls as an organization have had a branding problem for years. It’s time to think about rebranding girls entirely, something with gravitas, something with heft: protowomen. The problem still doesn’t exist, but it becomes manageable.

The Boy Scouts then respond by changing their name, to what retrospect suggests it should always have been: Man Scouts. This is accompanied by a big ballyhoo’d return to the whole “Man means everyone! Girls too!” ethos, as of old. Controversial? Inflammatory? YES. But sometimes ladies and gentlemen, you’ve got to play a thing out. It wasn’t we who crossed the line first. The line crossed all of us - and now we have to change the game to make sense of the rules! The Girl Scouts would almost certainly up their own ante to keep up with the uncles. To keep the Man Scouts trying to poach their recruit base, they’d need to reinvent themselves as Women Scouts (note the plural! A deliberate emphasis on collective individuality over the abstraction of Man).

Would this be enough to stave off the threat of encroachment? Which proud way would young girls choose? The battle for the very soul of Scouting would be joined!

And with the advent of the new gender-inclusive Man Scouts, eager Eagle Scouts looking to advance to the new next rank of Man would be expected to earn badges in things like cooking for one, self-maintenance (vehicle & home), tax filing, Powerpoint and sports negotiation. At that point, the Woman Scouts would be screwed! They’d need to ramp up their own offering in response, or risk being relegated to a secondary status.

Eventually, a sort of parity would be reached. Colleges would be rebranded as Scouting, open to either side. Beyond college, graduates would continue Scouting right on through life. There are many ways they could do this. For example, they would be well-equipped to take over the task of canvassing the nation’s major Scout Houses for promising future pro athletes.

It’s just a matter of more deeply integrating Scouting into the national fabric, so that it can again become an indispensable part of what forms our character, and guides our young leaders into a hopefully less-confusing future.

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