So, yes, the Girl Scouts could be described as feminist, but only in the most moderate sense of the term. It's telling that Christian right critics avoid dealing directly with the group's "go girl!" brand of empowerment, choosing instead to promote lurid tall tales. Maybe their tactic amounts to a tacit acknowledgement of just how mainstream the Girl Scouts' feminism is, and just how far from the mainstream the anti-feminist views of the Scouts' Christian right critics have become. The Girl Scouts focus on building self-esteem, teaching girls to care for their health, and promoting educational opportunities that help the girls' economic futures. Its Christian right critics cling to a tradition where women exist primarily to serve. If this tradition conflicts with the Girl Scout mission to help girls "develop their full individual potential," well, no wonder Bob Knight, the former Concerned Women for America anti-feminist organizer, had to spin that mission as "narcissistic devotion to self."
Correction, Sept. 15, 2011: Because of an editing error, this article originally misstated the name of the Girl Scouts' national organization. It is Girl Scouts of the USA, not Girl Scouts of America. (Return to the corrected sentence.)