Welcome, parents, to tonight's Trashfire Girls open house! Please, help yourself to juice and cookies, and once you're settled you can open the brochure on your seat. We're fetching some more folding chairs for those of you standing in the back. I guess that leaked U.S. Supreme Court opinion on Roe v Wade is going to mean a packed summer!
We love and support our scouting sisters — the Brownies, the Girl Scouts, whatever that hardcore survival camp is where they dump you in the woods with a flint and a Kind Bar — and their respective missions to raise confident, competent young people ready to contribute to their communities. The Trashfire Girls organization seeks to complement the standard camp skillset with a curriculum built for the misogynistic dystopian trash fire in which our kids are growing up. Because as cool as making lanyards is, it's not really going to help you escape forced birth, is it?
Sure, bear safety is important. Bears reportedly killed five people in the U.S. in 2021. Scary stuff. Meanwhile, one in four people with uteruses in the U.S. undergo abortions in their lifetime, per the American Journal of Public Health. And now the safe and legal healthcare procedure is on the cusp of becoming criminalized and dangerous as hell again. If that's not bad enough, Republican legislatures are talking about nixing exceptions for rape and incest, even for the one in 50 pregnancies that are ectopic — non-viable pregnancies that frequently require therapeutic abortion to save the life of the mother. And don't get us started on prosecuting stillbirths and miscarriages. Buckle up, buttercups. We're not gonna weenie roast our way out of this one.
Turn to page 4 of your brochure and you'll see a partial list of merit badges geared toward readying our children for survival and resistance under a government that really seems to hate them. Here are some highlights:
• Tracking your menstrual cycle like your life depends on it because now it does. (Those six-week bans go by fast, kids!)
• Maintaining total secrecy about your cycle and medical care lest a bounty hunting Texas neighbor narc on you for the $10,000 reward.
• Using camouflage to completely conceal yourself from view anywhere. Like the waiting room of a doctor's office.
• Smelting brass knuckles from recycled trash.
• Disabling teargas grenades with traffic cones.
• Actually helping a new parent with the overwhelming cost and labor of childcare because these anti-choice people sure as hell aren't showing up with diapers.
• Yelling at elected officials and Supreme Court justices in airports and restaurants.
• Junk punching people who toss out the phrase "legitimate rape."
Some traditional camping activities still will come into play, like canoeing and/or hiking under cover of darkness to a state with more reproductive freedom. We'll still make s'mores — on page 3 there's an adorable picture of last summer's campers toasting marshmallows right after earning Molotov cocktail badges. We'll learn a fun song to help us memorize the 22 states with trigger laws and previous bans that will likely snap into effect if Roe goes down, and another to remember the 13 states where child marriage is legal and you can be married off as a tween to some creeper with a signature from one parent and a judge. We have another song about all the states where men are punished for causing unwanted pregnancies instead of just going after pregnant people and their health providers. It goes like this: "None." Yeah, not exactly "99 Bottles of Beer," but a fun one. We won't be telling scary stories around the fire, though, since we're all terrified already.
Some may worry Trashfire Girls training is overreactive, since it's just not American to take away people's bodily sovereignty or treat women like breeding stock. Please turn to page 6 of your brochure, where you'll see a photo of Harriet Tubman just kind of staring you down.
Others may feel our kids are too young for this. We'd love to shelter them but we just can't afford to. But if you have some way of keeping them from being affected by attacks on their civil rights, harassment, outright assault and the legal, physical, emotional and financial impacts of forced birth without actually locking them in remote towers, please drop a note in our suggestion jar — the huge empty one with an inch of dust on it next to the snickerdoodles.
Jennifer Fumiko Cahill (she/her) is the arts and features editor at the Journal. Reach her at 442-1400, extension 320, or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @JFumikoCahill.