WALSH: No, We Shouldn't Include Girls In Everything. Boys Need Space To Themselves.

It's fitting that the Girl Scouts are still the Girl Scouts while the Boy Scouts have changed their identity and now even their name to include girls. Girls can still have their own spaces and their own organizations in our culture. They are forced to allow boys into their locker rooms and bathrooms, which is insane and dangerous, but even in that case the boy has to pretend to be a girl in order to gain admittance.

Boys, on the other hand, are expected to include girls in everything. They are provided no area and no time to be boys, and do boy things, and be around other boys. We used to understand that boys need space apart from girls. Not anymore.

It's been trending this way for a while now. I remember when I played baseball as a kid and every team had a token girl or two. There was a perfectly fine girl's softball league available, but some girls wanted to play with the boys. Nobody ever asked whether the boys wanted to play with the girls. Had they asked, and had we felt free to be honest about it, we would have all said no. I don't think there's a boy alive who has ever thought to himself while playing a sport: "You know what this game needs? A girl!"

Of course, we've moved far beyond sports at this point. Wherever boys gather in our society, girls are allowed to intrude. We are not allowed to shut a door or tell them "no." Even the job of altar boy had to become "altar server" so as to include girls, in spite of the fact that girls cannot be priests and the whole point of the "altar server" is to help young men discern the priesthood. But inclusion is paramount, always, and not just with kids. Men's lodges are a thing of the past because their "exclusionary policies" are offensive to our modern sensibilities.

I have been told that this is the way it needs to be because we must "open doors" for girls. Someone on Twitter scolded me for my opposition to the new Boy Scout policy, saying I "must not have a daughter" because if I did I would want "all the doors of the world to be open to her."

Well, I do have a daughter. And, no, I don't want all the doors open to her. I want her to understand that she can't intrude into every space. She can't make everything about herself. She isn't going to be included in everything. Some things in life aren't for her. Some things aren't for my son. Some things aren't for me. When we insist that every last "door" must be opened for girls, and every organization in the world must include them, we only succeed in breeding self-centeredness in our daughters. I don't want that for my daughter. I want her to learn how to be excluded, because that's part of growing up.

There are times when my son is playing with his buddies and they clearly don't want to involve any girls. I have no problem telling my daughter to give the boys space and let them do boy things. And there are times when my daughter is playing with her friends and they don't want some smelly boy coming in and mucking things up. I have no problem telling my son to back off and let the girls have girl time. I will close the door, exclude them, make them cede the floor to someone else. I guess I'm just cruel.

Or maybe I'm simply acknowledging the fact that girls need time for female bonding and boys need time for male bonding. There's a reason why boys don't want to include girls in everything. Adding a girl into the picture changes the dynamic. They feel like they have to tone things down and feminize things for her sake. They will not be able to relax and enjoy themselves in the same kind of free and open environment that exists between boys. Worse, when you inject a girl into a whole group of boys, they feel pressured to impress her. Rather than bonding, they compete with each other for the girl's attention and affection.

Often you'll hear a girl say that she gets together with her guy friends and becomes "just one of the guys." But she's not. They don't see her that way. They see her as a girl, because she is a girl. She will not have the same type of comradery with "the guys" that the guys have with each other. She will not understand them the way they understand each other. She is not one of them and never will be, just as a guy will never be one of the girls. Both groups need time apart to be their unguarded selves. For a boy, that is going to involve spitting and burping and wrestling around in the dirt. That's a boy thing. It's how boys act. They just need some space for it.


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