So have you heard that people are boycotting the Girl Scouts, and more explicitly, their famous (and sort of overrated, sorry everyone, UNPOPULAR OPINION) cookies?
Occasionally I will read a piece of news and think, wait, I must have misunderstood that. So I go back and read the news again. Often I will look for other reporting on the same news because surely my brain has failed to grasp the actual sequence of events here, because events in that sequence make no logical sense.
I’m doing this right now, with this Girl Scouts cookie boycott.
Here’s the story: back on December 18, the Girl Scouts twitter feed shared a link to a thing on Huffington Post’s “Women” section, a thing entitled “These Incredible Ladies Should Be Women Of The Year For 2013.” It features a short article introducing a video. The video features a panel of four media-involved women, of whom moderator Caroline Modarressy Tehrani asks for their pick for woman of the year.
Malala Yousafzai gets a lot of love (as she should). One of the panelists briefly mentions state senator and Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, who made headlines last year by staging an 11-hour filibuster to protect abortion access in her state. Then it's mostly back to the Malala love-in.
The Girl Scouts’ tweet shared the HuffPo link to this article/video, including the headline, and asked, “Is there anyone you’d add to this list?”
Seems normal, right? Totally normal Twitter behavior. Here is a link, what do you think of it. You’re with me thus far, yes? We’re walking along with this story, possibly in a sunny meadow, -- because in our fantasy there is no polar vortex turning vast swathes of the US into desolate frozen wasteland -- and maybe we’re even holding hands, feeling kind of like we understand each other.
But then, this happens: COOKIECOTT 2014.
The Girl Scouts recently endorsed pro-abortion politicians Wendy Davis and Kathleen Sebelius as worthy role models for our children. In response, we're asking you to boycott Girl Scout cookies in 2014.
(The Kathleen Sebelius part happened in a similarly shared Notable-Ladies-of-2014 type link on the Girl Scouts’ Facebook page.)
So, to break it down into the simplest terms, anti-choice activists are finally getting the traction they’ve long wanted against the allegedly lesbianism- and abortion-promoting Girl Scouts because their Twitter person shared a link that the Girl Scouts had nothing to do with and asked followers to give their thoughts on it, like literally bazillions of Twitter and Facebook accounts, both official and personal, do every day. Somehow, this is being rewritten as the Girl Scouts and Wendy Davis being in abortiony cahoots together.
(Do these boycott organizers know something we don't? Is simply saying Wendy Davis' name a kind of feminist magic? Maybe very time someone says Wendy Davis' name, somewhere in the US a woman gets the safe and affordable abortion that she desperately needs. Maybe I just gave out two abortions in this paragraph alone.)
Frankly, I have trouble reading that original tweet as any kind of endorsement of Wendy Davis, but then my personal preference for logical thinking might be getting in the way. It would make far more sense to boycott the Huffington Post, unless maybe the boycotting groups believe that HuffPo was lured into saying Wendy Davis’ name on their site by wicked demonic abortion-loving sluts clad in green polyester and tempting them with heaps of rufinol-laced Tagalongs which ARE, I'll admit, weirdly addictive and compelling in spite of not being all that delicious (UNPOPULAR, I know, I know).
Maybe HuffPo IS blameless, and they are just pawns in the Girl Scouts' epic twitter agenda. Maybe it’s all a vast cookie conspiracy. Maybe I am typing under its influence EVEN NOW. MAYBE I ATE THE COOKIES TOO. OH MY GOD. THE ABORTIONS ARE COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE GET OUT GET OUT
Curiously enough, this is not the first effort by right wing extremists at a cookie boycott, although it might be the first with a really slick and professional website design. Did you notice the background image on that site, by the way? It’s a young girl in braided pigtails, balled-up fists over her eyes, apparently crying.
No, there was ANOTHER cookie boycott attempt back in January of 2012, when the Colorado Girl Scouts reversed a decision to deny participation to a trans girl named Bobby Montoya. After her local troop initially refused to let Bobby join, the state organization intervened and asserted that Bobby was welcome, as any child who identifies as a girl is welcome.
Then as now, the boycott claimed that the Girl Scouts of Colorado were promoting weird gay stuff (and also ostensibly promoting sensitivity, kindness and the importance of respecting and valuing diversity) and that simply WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO STAND. No gay gender-subverting abortionist blood-cookies for our children!
Cookie boycotts are difficult because, uh, they’re cookies. It's hard to hate a cookie. Especially cookies sold by earnest girls and young women to support their troop. People get really excited to buy Girl Scout cookies, and Girl Scouts get really excited to sell them. Except for me. I dreaded cookie season, because there was nothing that terrified tiny Brownie Lesley more than standing outside the local supermarket and trying to approach adults to ask them to buy my cookies.
Yes, I was a Brownie, and a Girl Scout, which I realize doesn’t exactly dissolve the argument that the Girl Scouts are producing strong-minded, pro-choice, politically invested women. But really, it's not about any particular set of politics; what the Girl Scouts ought to do, at their best, is teach girls and young women how to believe in themselves, and to make their own decisions, while respecting that those decisions may not be shared by everyone they know. Sure, that’s not the type of womanhood many religious leaders and right-wing extremists may want for their grown ladies, but it does make for individuals who have a positive effect on the world.
And, you know, more gay pro-choice cookies for the rest of us.