Surreal, Unhealthy Sexism on the Opinion Pages


Today’s Newport Daily News reprints an op-ed that that Suzanne Fogarty, the head of the private Lincoln School in Providence, first published on the Web site of the Girls Scouts of Southern New England.  Now, in the spirit of practical consideration, we should remember that Ms. Fogarty has a (very expensive) school to promote, so we can only go so far in begrudging an all-girls school its sales pitch.

That said, this paragraph reads like a text that one might come across from some society that had succumbed to a strange bigotry.  Enlightened moderns can’t help but see the injustice and incongruity of the ideas, but even the most enlightened within the thus-tainted culture may not have been able to see it through the haze of their environments:

While I believe the Boy Scouts’ decision to admit girls is a step toward gender equity, that move in no way devalues the remarkable female-first environment that the Girl Scouts is committed to providing. Some people believe that if their daughters go to an all-girls school, then they will not be prepared for the co-ed world. The opposite is true. Lincoln students and Girl Scouts are more prepared because they are encouraged to be themselves every day in a culture that knows and supports them. They practice the hard stuff of trial and error, which leads to resilience, and resilience in turn leads to confidence. This becomes part of their DNA, which girls take with them into the world of college and beyond.

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Denying boys a space in which to be themselves in a “remarkable male-first environment” is “equity.”  Granting girls such a space is “empowerment.”  Sure seems like we’re writing off one half of a generation. That an educator would do this so casually illustrates how far we’ve gone into the haze. Given that most Boy Scouts are veritably guaranteed to be of lesser socioeconomic advantage compared with Lincoln’s clientele gives the double standard a more insidious feel.

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