Sean Bosker has recommended to my attention a new NRA publication—
The newest addition to the family of NRA official journals, Woman’s Outlook specifically caters to the multi-faceted needs of today’s NRA woman as she exercises her Second Amendment rights in pursuit and enjoyment of the American firearms lifestyle.—and in particular their article, Dressing Up Is Still a Blast!:
As little girls we liked to dress up; as women we still like to dress to the nines—a 9mm, that is.This lead-in is printed in a tender shade of pink, and illustrated with a photograph of a little girl playing dress-up in her mother’s clothing. Sean was struck by “…the way it empowers women to have guns, and still keeps them in their place by infantilizing them. Wonderful.”
The funny thing is, this condescending froufrou has been tacked onto a no-nonsense article about pistol-grip ergonomics for smaller hands, written by no-nonsense firearms instructor Gila Hayes. If I were the editor responsible, I’d want to avoid walking along backlit ridgelines for a while.In fact, none of the articles are strongly gendered, saving the presence of clumsily tacked-on girly bits. There’s a generic piece on travelling with guns, and a nearly generic piece on hearing protection that suggests that women might be omitting to wear noise-reduction gear because it’s unflattering, and a piece on gun safes that I strongly suspect was rewritten from manufacturers’ press releases:
A gun safe is a classic, beautiful addition to any home. … The evolution of the gun safe has seen products change from basic vaults, which protected firearms from theft, to beautiful, decorator cornerstones that ward off burglars; keep firearms out of the grasp of children; provide protection from fire; secure family valuables and also provide bodily protection for families.Big yawn. No cred.
What I think would be way cool would be if the NRA were to seriously femme out, go way over the line into girl cootie territory. Guns and dress-up? Sure. Wail with it. Do photo spreads of fashionable clothing that works well with holsters, and evening bags that’ll hold a handgun and ammo. If they don’t have at least one photo of a woman whose pistol grips exactly match her gown, you gotta figure they’re just messin’ around.
I’d also like to see them get into some earnest discussions of what firearm strategies are best suited to the kind of violence women most frequently encounter: up close and personal, involving someone who isn’t a stranger. If they’re serious about self-defense for women, they have to consider which guns are best for prostitutes to carry, and what kind of muzzle velocity it takes to stop a berserk ex-husband.
Looked at that way, what you need is a bitty close-range gun that’ll put one or two big fat rounds into someone who really needs shooting, but won’t carry much further. It should be fairly inexpensive, because you have better ways to spend your money. It should be small, so you can tuck it in your purse or pocket, and pretty, because pretty is good. It should also be pretty because that way, it’ll take him an extra second or two to figure out that that thing in your hand fires bullets.
In short, what you want is a muff pistol. Or a “My Friend” brand combination seven-shooter and knuckleduster. Or a palm pistol, also known as a Minneapolis Protector. But most likely what you want is one of Mr. Deringer’s ingenious little guns.
The bitty slow-velocity pistol is the all-American ladies’ gun; always has been. If you were crossing the plains back when, or are in the military now, you might need a big powerful gun to defend yourself from energetically hostile brown persons. But if you’re talking about using guns for self-defense in everyday life, the likeliest scenario for a female NRA member is going to involve popping a hole through one of her menfolk at close range. It might be a random thug who’s attacked her; but statistically speaking, malign strangers are very much the minority scenario.
The NRA has a lot of members. If it figures it can stand to lose a few of them in the cause of equal empowerment for women, who am I to disapprove?