Newt Gingrich's Sexist Girl Scouts Manual Will Save America

Newt Gingrich was the subject of a lengthy profile in the New York Times Magazine in which he established that he may be crazy enough to challenge Sarah Palin for the Republican nomination in 2012.

And I don't mean crazy in the sense that he might lose to her. I mean crazy in the sense that he might actually be legit insane, and thus exactly the candidate the GOP will elect to challenge Barack Obama. How do I know? In an interview in which reporter Matt Bai says, "It seems important to [Newt] that you know how much he knows," Newt opines about nothing less than the early Girl Scout movement.

I was still trying to process this nugget [about Charles de Gaulle] when the slouching Gingrich, now onto a point about steel plants closing, jolted upright. "The 1913 Girl Scouts manual!" he said, or at least that's what it sounded like. "Which I should get a copy of." He punched a button on his phone and dialed his assistant.

"Yes, sir?"

"Can you get me about four copies of the 1913 Girl Scouts manual, ‘How Girls Can Help Their Country'?" Gingrich asked. There was a long pause on the other end.

"O.K."

"I think it's on Amazon," Gingrich said helpfully. He leaned back and proceeded to explain to me that the Girl Scouts manual contained a recommendation that every girl learn to perform two jobs, just in case one of them went away. What we needed, apparently, were more steelworkers who belonged to the Girl Scouts.

While Newt, in his zeal, didn't leave us with much potential to procure the 1913 version, we did find the 1916 version on Google Books. And it doesn't exactly say a damn thing about girls needing to perform two jobs. Sexism, though, it had plenty of.

In the "Employment" section, this is what the 1916 version has to say about women's work:

Newt Gingrich's Sexist Girl Scouts Manual Will Save America


Oh, hmm. Nothing in there about learning two jobs, and a lot about just learning one.

Well, maybe it's in the "Study" section?

Newt Gingrich's Sexist Girl Scouts Manual Will Save America


Clearly not. You don't want to think too hard about too many things, ladies, lest you clutter your mind.

Finally, we checked out the "Careers" sections, for ourselves and the rest of the well-educated old maids.

Newt Gingrich's Sexist Girl Scouts Manual Will Save America


Well, I'd obviously better get my mind on nursing, so I can be a better wife and mother. Maybe that's what Newt meant by the fact that women needed to learn two jobs! There is, in fact, a rather large section of the manual dedicated to housewifely duties, cleaning, cooking and home management.

The best part, though, is the one that instructs girls about their proper role in society:

Kipling, in Kim, says that there are two kinds of women, — one kind that builds men up, and the other that pulls men down; and there is no doubt where a Girl Scout should stand.

Well, gosh, when you put it like that, it makes you wonder if Newt is actually buying the book for Ms. Palin! But there's more.

Many a boy has been strengthened in his character and his whole life made happier by the brave refusal of a girl to do wrong; while the opposite weakness has been the cause of endless misery and wretchedness.

Do you think Newt read that passage to the mistress he took while his wife was suffering from cancer before or after he left his wife for her? Not that it caused Newt "endless misery and wretchedness," I guess. But, yes, ladies, keep your knees together lest you wreck a man's life by allowing him to fuck you.

And, finally, the manual has this advice for the ladies who think that independence and self-fulfillment are truly important.

The chief difficulty in acquiring this happy and cheerful dignity comes from the desire to be admired, which is a tendency inborn in the great majority of women. It stands in the way of their greatest strength and usefulness, because it takes away their real independence and keeps them thinking about themselves instead of about others. It is a form of bondage which makes them vain and self-conscious and renders impossible the truest and happiest companionship between men and women friends.

Good to know that our greatest strength and usefulness is in service to a man and his needs, and that looking after our own needs as we see fit is just fake independence and bondage.

Newt. Again. [New York Times Magazine]
How Girls Can Help Their Country [Google Books]