[drawing a blank in the title department.]

I love me some NPR.

Zelda Fitzgerald and I listen every morning while I get ready for work and she follows me around the apartment. It’s the only time of the day or night that she does not meow obnoxiously at the top of her lungs. I can only assume this is out of concern for the international situation and that my cat is as much of a political junkie as I am.

Anyway, Morning Edition always includes some lighter news, I guess to balance out the latest updates from the occupation of Iraq. This morning, the news was about the Girl Scouts. You might know the Girls Scouts from their ubiquitous yearly cookie sale. It’s the one where the 6-year-olds put on their tiny caps and stand in front of the grocery store, exuding adorableness and shilling cookies.

The first thing I’d like to point out is that the cookies are not that great. I mean, they’re cookies. The only thing that makes them special is that you can only get them once a year. And the adorableness.

But the sales themselves are cutthroat. Having been on the inside (I was a Girl Scout from age 5 through age 9), I can tell you what I have seen. These ladies are competing for prizes, and they take the shit seriously. There’s always a few girls whose parents take their order forms to work and muscle their underlings into ordering boxes and boxes – they freeze well! – and just blow everyone else out of the water. These girls go door to door, they table everywhere that will have them…if we could stock them with clipboards and voter reg forms, November would be a piece of cake.

Anyway, everyone has a favorite cookie, but every few years the Girl Scouts switch things up a little. During the early 90s health conscious period, we rolled out a low fat oatmeal cookie, which was pretty gross.

For the 2008 pseudo-health-conscious period, the Girls are offering cookies in convenient 100-calorie packs.

You might be familiar with these in Wheat Thin and Oreo form. The idea is that you no longer have to count out a reasonable portion of food for yourself. You just eat what’s in the pack and know it is only 100 calories. “No counting or over thinking things,” according to Nabisco’s website. Mindless eating. Just what the doctor ordered.

It seems a little weird to me, however, that the Girl Scouts, whose mission is to empower young women, should jump on the “skinny or die” bandwagon. Yes, the cookies will sell. Yes, the Girls will make money to go camping or put on plays or whatever it is Girl Scouts do these days. But it seems weird to expose impressionable children to pressure to be thin, and to teach them about self-deprivation – 100 calories is like half a cookie – rather than eating a reasonable amount of normal food and getting exercise.

I probably don’t need to mention that these cookies will be primarily marketed toward women. The Nabisco website is crawling with svelte and satisfied looking women, but no photos of men daintily consuming their 100-calorie packs of anything. How empowering is it to teach girls that women should be concerned with their bodies and not eat delicious cookies, but that there is not a similar concern for men?

Perhaps the powers-that-be in the Scouting world should go back to the boardroom and reconsider what they’re selling the troops, and whether it’s worth it to move a few more boxes of cookies.


One thought on “[drawing a blank in the title department.]

  1. 1st: Still really excited that your blog is on the Interweb.

    2nd: This post raises all sorts of interesting questions. I 100% agreed with your commentary on the bullshit starfish story. Organize, don’t throw fish. However, this whole Alinsky ends-justify-means mentality may have some unintended side effects. Like the Girl Scouts thing: Selling cookies is, for better or worse, a pretty effective fundraiser for little girls. “Girls make cookies,” and people want to buy them and eat them. But Environment America could drill for oil and sell it and make a pretty penny and use that money to accomplish all sorts of things. But at what point do you decide that the ends do NOT justify the means? At some threshold, every conceivable thing you could spend an unlimited amount of money on is less beneficial to your cause than not doing whatever it is you did to raise that money. Encouraging little girls to be cut-throat cookie hockers just might cross that threshold, especially if the goal is to drive home to these girls that they can do whatever they set their minds to, societal gender constructs notwithstanding.

    Unless, of course, they spend the cookie money on challenging Boy Scout troops to merit badge contests. Girl Scounts would p0wn most of those.

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