Local News

Girl Scouts' post about hugging goes viral

Posted November 21, 2017 10:26 a.m. EST
Updated July 12, 2018 2:13 p.m. EDT

— Hugging and the holidays often go together, but the Girl Scouts warns that forced hugging can send a wrong message to young girls.

The article put out by the Girl Scouts comes at a time when there is a great deal of cultural awareness and reckoning -- about girls and women … and sexual harassment.

The story posted on their website, comes at a cultural moment when there is a great deal of cultural awareness and reckoning about unwanted sexual harassment. The Girl Scouts post warns that girls could be receiving the wrong message about consent and physical affection if they are told to provide hugs even if they don't want to do so.

"Think of it this way, telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn’t seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she 'owes' another person any type of physical affection when they’ve bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life," the article says.

The group posted the story to its website and the Girl Scouts post has generated over 4,000 interactions and nearly 7,000 shares.

Social media is lighting up with comments about the post, both supporting the article and condemning it. Some posts point out that the article teaches girls that her body is hers even at a young age. Other social media posts question the practicality of parents worrying about a child being told to hug a relative and if that would open the door for bad decisions and body insecurity later in life.

Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, the developmental psychologist for the Girl Scouts, was quoted in the story as saying girls can learn early about consent, which will help her "understand her rights, know when lines are being crossed, and when to go to you for help.”

Teresa Rogers, a grandparent, said young girls should be allowed to hug or not hug if they want.

"Oh, absolutely no, you don’t force them," she said. "That’s the wrong message,"

But parent Shirley Rodriguez sees it differently.

"I never really thought about it that way," she said. "I just thought about it being rude if you don’t hug a family member."