Yet, if one were to look beyond the political myopism of the situation one would see the real problems. Sure heavy-set women can't backpack well and so can't heavy-set men. I haven't place a high premium on Eagle for many years regardless of who "earns" them. Divorced mothers are looking for good role models for their boys and helicopter mom's are only interested in getting their sons to win the bling. And yes, there are other, more important factors, than these to be upset about other than sexism. Yes, ingrained social norms have been around since day one and other societies are worse than the next one. And yes, there are going to be problems. But the problems I see have nothing to do with sexism. Having worked with co-ed groups, I see the world far differently and I have experienced DIFFERENT problems than what BSA is working on at the moment. They are seeing the tip of the iceberg and are desperately trying to avoid a Titanic moment. Well it's too late to avoid the problems because the ship's already floundering. So now the focus is in how to save as many as possible.
As just one small example of what I mean. Last Sunday at the scout meeting I was teaching the boys lashings. One of the parents asked if a younger female sibling could sit in for the evening. I said sure. What I feared happened. She was 9 years old and interested in scouting. She sat quietly in the back and said nothing while the boys were being boys. I explained the lashing and then the boys were to work at doing it. I had enough equipment and invited the girl to participate. Well, the only one that was paying attention was the girl. It didn't take but a few minutes and she was teaching the boys who hadn't paid attention. This is great for a co-ed group, but a disaster for an all-male activity. I was unable to attend summer camp this past summer and at the last minute a second ASM stepped in to take my place. At the last minute she had to bring along her grandaughter and the camp allowed it. The #1 complaint from the boys was she "took over". The maturity level of girls at this age has been proven over and over in multiple studies that they are at least 2 years more mature than boys of the same age. This will in fact provide the total disappearance of Boy Scouts as we know it. I have know this for years and it's not that I'm against co-ed scouting, I'm against the last vestige of a program designed to help young men to adulthood without the unfair advantage in maturity girls hold over boys. I strongly suspect that once that advantage is mitigated in adulthood many of the resentments of younger years may be a cause of many of our sexist social concerns. I don't know if that has anything to do with it, but after 45+ years of watching kids develop, it remains a strong suspicion for me.
Will gals earn the rank of Eagle legitimately? Sure, but then listen to the older generations cast aspersions on it, especially those who never were able to earn it themselves. This is unfortunate, but it's going to happen, it is already happening. The reason I downplay the glorious achievement of Eagle is not because it some sort of competition one wins, but it is supposed to be something nice to hang on the wall along with one's high school diploma, and other achievements one has marked in life. It's not the Holy Grail of scouting.
Boys that have come through my program and Eagled for some reason have always referred to me as Mr. Stosh. Even if they turn 18 and are now in their 30's still call me Mr. Stosh. I even have told them they can call me now that we are peers by my first name. Inevitably they always say, "No can do, you will always be Mr. Stosh to me." Now, if that were able to be put on a certificate, I would hang that one on my wall.
All in all, the sad part of it all is the end of Scouting as I have lived it for my entire life. The next generation will not feel that way, but then again, I'm not going to be around to worry about it either.