Portlander Ethan Jewett has fond memories of growing up as a Boy Scout. But as his son Jackson neared Cub Scout age, Jewett felt that, like many parents, he did not want to enroll his son in an organization that continues to exclude LGBT folks and atheists.
So instead of just joining the campaign to transform the Boy Scouts of America, Jewett and other parents are making their own official scout troop. The 55th Cascadia Scouts are open to kids of all genders, sexual orientations, and religions. They already have 45 kids signed up to join the troop on outdoorsy trips.
“My love of the outdoors all traces back to my scouting experience—Troop 259! I really wanted that for my son,” says Jewett. “I continue to have hope that the Boy Scouts of America will change. But I have a five-year-old son. Time’s up.”
The Cascadia Scouts are an official scouting organization, merit badges, scarves, and backpacking trips and all. They are not the only independent scouting group. The World Federation of Independent Scouts oversees hundreds of scout troops worldwide that are distinct from the well-known Boy Scouts of America, including several other alternative troops in America.
Two students at Texas State University have founded the Former Majority Association for Equality to financially assist white men. Yes, only white men, because according to co-founder William Lake, they are "one group that just doesn’t have any support."
Mary Elizabeth Williams doesn't want to be sold pants by an ugly person. In her recent article for Salon, Williams maintains that the appearance-centered hiring practices and employee regulations of retail giants American Apparel and Abercrombie & Fitch are just, you know, logical and unproblematic corporate tactics to uphold brands. They're not lookist, they're not racist, and they're not sexist. Based on the evidence, though, we can't give her analysis that much credit.
Here's something I learned today: Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female physician in the U.S., gave a series of lectures in 1859 that emphasized the importance of physical
activity in the lives of girls-going so far as to define the first law of life as the law of exercise. Blackwell argued that a society that neglects that activity of girls-or, as the case may be, provides obstacles to it-denies girls "both happiness and life well lived."
It's 150 years later, and still, the freedom of American girls and women to live active, strong, healthy lives is still not on par with their male counterparts. Luckily, we have
another strong voice that is taking on Blackwell's legacy by taking the physicality of females seriously -- and without body-size hate.