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Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Just ask Rosie: Girls can do anything

July 06, 2011|By Joe Puglia

I was volunteering at an Eagle Board of Review, helping a boy transition to the pinnacle of Boy Scouts. His resume and interview were perfect.

I had the last question: “Have you ever done any projects or backpacking trips with a Girl Scout troop?”

He answered casually, “No, but I wish we had.”

Afterward, I was chatting with the Scout leaders when one of the men rolled his eyes and, in a patronizing tone, said, “Dr. Joe! Girl Scouts don’t backpack. They make bracelets!” My first inclination was to put my foot in his mouth — but I remembered my wife’s mantra when instructing our girls: “Use your words!”

I looked right through those guys and asked, “Can your scouts orientate a compass and follow an azimuth?” They hesitated but acknowledged not everyone could. In my typical Bronx tone, I replied, “The girls in my troop can.”

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They got the message. However, there’s nothing better than putting your foot down someone’s mouth to get your point across. I don’t tolerate male chauvinistic attitudes. Such attitudes are debilitating not only to women, but to men as well.

I have a confession: I am a recovering male chauvinist. I have been in withdrawals since I married Kaitzer and our daughters were born. I’d like to think that I’m completely recovered. However, when you’re socialized on the streets of New York and fermented in the Marine Corps, there’s always the possibility of regressing. The perspectives of a male-dominated culture are suspect. I now navigate moments of regression by conceptualizing an intellectual and pragmatic understanding of equality. Walking the walk of equality is intellectual honesty.

Plato’s Republic is a Utopian dialogue about a society that is ruled by a philosopher king. Plato includes women as productive members of the society who share similar roles as men. This view of gender was similar in Spartan society. The women of Sparta were granted an equal stake in the success or failure of their state. With the men constantly away training or at war, the women of Sparta were responsible for all else in Spartan society. Throughout the emergence of Classical Greek thought the concept of equality between men and women was one of the revered virtues.

You would think that in our more sophisticated world we would not have to legislate morality to insure equality.

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