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Letter to the Editor: Forward to the Past?
January 27, 2004
by Pat Taylor

"Back To The Future" or Forward To The Past? Three articles on ifeminists.net News struck my eye this morning [1/25] and meshed.

1) In "New Trend in Girl Scouts" , the GSA has decided to substitute charms for merit badges in a new Program (Studio 2B) to help "set their troop's agenda" -- to be guided by "college-aged women instead of moms." Bad idea all around.

What are charms but little-girl trinkets (that can be broken, lost or stolen), and mean nothing in the end. A merit badge, by its very name, implies both ability and worth, and many girl and boy scouts keep them for life as a reminder of what they were able to accomplish at that time beyond what life otherwise had to offer them. This accomplishment and the merit badge as a reminder gave them the self-confidence to move forward to another level. Trying to appeal to the girls' 'feminine' side while pretending they will have influence in their troop's destiny is disingenuous. We know they will not. If the GSA seriously wanted to promote the 'creativity' of their scouts, they would institute an intellectual program of ideas and discussion, invention and competition, challenging their scouts to find answers. Science projects, chess clubs, philosophy discussions, mensa puzzles all would serve better to get their little heads alive and thinking. This charm plan truly has no merit!

Another more sinister aspect of this decision: How is it decided which charms to represent what ideas; and whose ideas will be given credence in this program the scouts or their mentors? How would those 'college-aged women' know any more about the Girl Scouts than moms do? Or are they women currently attending college with mainstream feminist ideas?

2) The business of giving women soccer players "more feminine" uniforms is straight out of the movie, "A League of their Own" from the 40's! and really doesn't deserve any comment at all. The soccer federation's president (Sepp Blatter) is just plain old-fashioned. In spite of what ESPN thinks, sex has nothing to do with sport, and uniforms should *only* reflect the necessity for safety and movement of the sport itself. Soccer fans have always been in the minority, and attendence seems to ebb and flow with the country, the charisma of a particular player, or with the World Cup. (Too bad, because I appreciate soccer more than American football but that's the way it is.) To demean the integrity of the female soccer player by placing her uniform above her ability, is an insult to all soccer players. Why doesn't Mr. Blatter suggest that male soccer players play without shirts, or in breechclouts only? That would surely bring in more female fans -- for the male games at least!

3) Erica Jong states at the end of her article, "This has been the problem of feminism for most of its history. One generation pushes forward, and the next, oblivious to the struggle, allows freedom to ebb away. I pray that we will not have to lose the right to choose in order to value it again." How. So. Very. True.

But true of every other institution and idea as well, throughout history. Why do we insist on 'one step forward, two steps back'? Are we so afraid of our own human mind that we refuse to reason and think for ourselves? And so afraid to countenance something new that we refuse to learn from others' (history's) mistakes? Are we so afraid of every woman "choosing" to abort every pregnancy that we will not allow her to make the decision for herself?

The "Christian right" (which is not so Christian, or so right) has become the enemy of reason, the bane of those who would carry us forward into a philosophical 21st Century. There IS no philosophy attached to a backward-thinking country that sees no further than a church door, or a government edict, an organization's manipulation or a sportsman's prejudice. The above articles are all representative of where we are heading if we don't wake up to the reality of our enemy -- a caveman attitude of faith and force, implemented by people on both sides of the political spectrum who simply want the POWER to tell others what to believe and how to live.

How to break their hold on our lives? Girls refusing to accept "charms" in lieu of merit. Female soccer players refusing to wear sexist clothing. The country refusing to listen to politicians telling them when, where, how, and under what circumstances they can or cannot have a baby.

In short: JUST SAY "NO"!

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