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Culture Beat / Nov. 8, 2018

Girl Scouts Sue the Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts changed their name to include girls, and the Girl Scouts aren't happy about it.

The Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) this week filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America over the latter’s decision to change the organization’s name after electing last year to allow girls to join. In the suit, the Girl Scouts allege that the BSA’s name change “marginalized” its unique brand, claiming, “Only GSUSA has the right to use the Girl Scouts and Scouts trademarks with leadership development services for girls. We did what any brand, company, corporation, or organization would do to protect its intellectual property, the value of its brand in the marketplace, and to defend its good name.”

As we predicted back in May, the Boy Scouts’ announcement didn’t sit well with the Girl Scouts. Now a legal fight over gender-based branding rights is brewing.

It’s ironic that, in the name of inclusivity, the BSA has effectively ignored the important distinctions between the sexes. When the name that once served to clearly define the focus of an organization is no longer applicable due to fundamental changes in the very nature of the organization, it might help be helpful to no longer claim the name. It’s false advertising.

The Boy Scouts of America issued a statement saying the lawsuit was under review, adding, “We applaud every organization that builds character and leadership in children, including the Girl Scouts of the USA, and believe there is an opportunity for both organizations to serve girls and boys in our communities.” Well, if both organizations decided to allow both boys and girls to participate, why not merge, rebrand as The Scouts, and remove gender distinctions entirely? Then everyone would be happy, right?

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