Yesterday I came across an article about a 7-year-old boy who desires to be a Girl Scout. Yes you read that correctly, a little boy, Bobby Montoya, wants to be a member of an all girl organization that is famously known for their cookies (which I must admit are amazing). Bobby is a little different than what most Americans perceive a little 7-year-old boy to be. While most 7-year-old boys love to play with GI Joes, sports, and video games Bobby enjoys to play with dolls such as Barbies and Strawberry Shortcakes. When Bobby goes to school he does not wear a shirt of his favorite cartoon character, rather he wears blouses and dresses, and he even does his hair like a girl. Most American 7-year old boys would have nothing to do with Bobby. He receives plenty of criticism from his peers about his decision to dress and act as a girl. A reporter asked Bobby if it was tough to go to school dressed as a girl and if he is hurt from his peers down talk, Bobby said, “It’s like pretty hard. It hurts me and my mom both.”
When Bobby and his mother asked a troop leader if he could join the Girl Scouts, the troop leader said, “It doesn’t matter how he looks; he has boy parts, he can’t be in Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts don’t allow that, and I don’t want to be in trouble by parents or my supervisor.” This brought Bobby to tears. The worst part about this is that the troop leader said all of this right to Bobby’s face. Bobby’s mother, Felisha Archuleta, told reporters that the troop leader asked her, “What do you call it?” Uh what? If you are a parent how are you supposed to respond to that question? Archuleta has been right there for Bobby the whole time. She supports all of his decisions. Her protest against the decision of the troop leader is being heard by Girl Scouts, and a decision to let Bobby into the group is close according to Girl Scouts.
After reading the article I immediately thought about the issue of identity we talked about in class. The contingent factors of birth such as sex and nationality force men and women to fall into certain types of cultural stereotypes. Some examples of these cultural stereotypes that apply to sex are men don’t wear pink, women don’t propose, men are aggressive, and women are irrational. We learned that we should say to hell with those ideas! For we should be allowed to act out our own self interest no matter what. This is exactly what Bobby is thinking, he says, “Mom you’re right. They can’t be mean to me. I am a human being just like everyone else.” Bobby is a perfect advocator of Kwame Anthony Appiah’s ideas of cosmopolitan. Appiah states, “Cosmopolitism’s care about everybody, but not in a way that means they want everyone to be the same or like them.”
The question that I am trying to bring up is should we tolerate Bobby? Your first reaction to this story was probably close to, “Wait what? Is this kid out of his mind? He looks exactly like a girl?” Then you probably said, as most Americans would, “Tell this kid to snap out of it and someone please get this kid some action heroes!” Should we think like this? Should the contingent factor of sex affect our lives? Should Bobby’s self-interests be denied because of his “boy parts?”