“WALTHAM, MA (December 4, 2017)—Raytheon and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) are launching GSUSA’s first national computer science program and Cyber Challenge for middle and high school girls.” — Girl Scouts of the USA Press Room
When my 12-year old daughter Lucy caught wind of the Girl Scouts’ new computer science program, she was begging me to sign her up. She’d been a brownie years ago, so it seemed like a good idea. But then I thought, Raytheon? Isn’t that the largest missile manufacturer in the world? I didn’t want my little girl to have anything to do with the military-industrial complex! Luckily, my wife Cheyenne, who’s far more educated on the STEM gender gap than I am, pointed out my internalized misogyny. After all, who was I to let my daughter fall victim to the repressive social forces preventing her from becoming the boss lady she should be?
So we signed her up. And, trust me, I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t this just Raytheon co-opting feminism to cover up its imperialist agenda with a socially-minded cause? Well, no. Not at all. Not even in the slightest. And believe me, I had trouble accepting this too. Within the first month of the program, I was alarmed to learn that Lucy had developed near-fluency in precision-guided missile specs. One day, while I was dropping her off at practice, Lucy told me that a softball field has about the same lethal radius as an AGM-119 Penguin. I strongly considered pulling her out that day. But Cheyenne talked some sense into me. I mean, before the program she thought pi was based on an actual pie. Now, she was schooling me on radii! We decided to keep her in the program. Besides, how lethal could something named after a penguin really be?
The next semester, Lucy’s homework started getting more challenging. Instead of reading The House on Mango Street (which is just a delightful book for kids about the difficulties of the Mexican-American experience, by the way), she was operating guided-missile simulations, intercepting ICBMs from Iran and North Korea. Again, my liberal dad sirens went off. Not that a young girl like her couldn’t keep up! It just felt a little…intense. However, my wife Cheyenne, the female voice of rationality that she is, eventually convinced me otherwise. After all, Lucy was getting a wonderfully unique glimpse into geography and world culture. Not to mention, she was becoming so computer literate, like all the boys in her class!
But then one day, Lucy said something that really shook me. “Daddy,” she asked, “How long until I get to be a real defense contractor?” This was the last straw, I told myself. I could not, would not let my Lu-lu become a part of this dastardly imperialist machine! No, she’d work at Planned Parenthood or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, like Cheyenne and I had always wanted. But leave it up to my wife to, once again, shake me of my inherently sexist leanings. This was good, my wife explained. Lucy was becoming career-oriented. And who was I to stop her from becoming the ballistic-missile-designing girl boss she was meant to be?
During Lucy’s final year, the Girl Scouts assigned Lucy her very own FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile to look after. And guess what? I thought that was just great. Cheyenne and I have always been big on kinesthetic learning. During that whole year, Lucy didn’t even touch her Easy-Bake Oven.
When she had to return her missile at the end of the program, she held me and cried for hours. After a while she looked at me, and with the utmost sincerity, stated, “Daddy, I’m gonna be a weapons woman.” I was beaming. I couldn’t believe how far we’d both come.
For any left-leaning parents who might have moral qualms about signing their girls up for Raytheon’s computer science program, you should really reconsider. This program single-handedly changed the trajectory of my little girl’s life. And if you were wondering, yes, Lucy’s got me hooked on missile puns now.