Saturday, May 25, 2013

Annie Get Your Gun

Ethel Merman, Annie Get Your Gun, 1946
In the Broadway musical, Annie Get Your Gun, Ethel Merman belts out
The gals with 'umbrellars'
Are always out with fellers
In the rain or the blazing sun
But a man never trifles 
With gals who carry rifles
Oh you can't get a man with a gun.
With a gun, with a gun,
No, you can't get a man with a gun.

Sarah Palin might well disagree. She's all for guns and she has her man, Todd, and she's the darling of the National Rifle Association, where she was a featured speaker at their annual "Stand and Fight" convention in Houston. Palin tried to hit all the gun nut hot buttons; President Obama, a hot button needing no elaboration, gun control, the liberal media, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and those of us who "exploit" tragedies like Newtown to press our liberal agenda. Palin's brief talk was a highlight for many of the conventioneers, who pushed forward to get a good look at Palin's tee shirt, which had antlers and the words, 'Women Hunt' written across her ample breasts in bright pink.
Despite Sarah's appeal to the female shooter, the percentage of women gun owners in the population as a whole, an estimated 10%, is only about a third of that of men. Among people who admit to owning guns, 74% are men and 26% are women. The NRA is trying to change that statistic, as seminars and product displays at their 2013 convention demonstrated. The message being broadcast by the NRA is simple. If women want equality with men, buy a gun, and CRASH goes the 'glass ceiling.' Not really, but doesn't a woman feel safer carrying a gun in her handbag? You're damned right they do, at least according to the blogs cropping up promoting gun ownership among women.

It used to be that men owned guns to hunt. Then the NRA began getting out the message that they needed guns to fight the "jack booted thugs" of the ATF, and the FBI, and Obama's government tyranny, bent on denying them their Second Amendment rights. And men bought the message and they bought semi-automatic assault rifles (much higher profit margin) and 30-clip magazines.

The government tyranny pitch was a harder sell for women, so the NRA pushed the idea that women needed guns for protection from home intruders, murderers, rapists, and census takers. And they made designer handguns and holsters and concealed carry handbags, and knowing how women love to accessorize, NRA fashion consultants came up with concealed carry denim jackets, and 'tactical slacks,' and 'Women Shoot Too' tees, and holster bras, and sleepwear featuring gun motifs; all specially designed for the new Annie Oakley.
Display at the NRA 2013 Convention
The gun industry isn't contributing millions to the NRA to conduct safety classes. They expect the NRA to generate gun sales by whatever means necessary. The NRA has responded by appealing to a man's sense of independence, self-reliance, and patriotism -- all characteristics the male dominated NRA leadership believe their gun-toting male demographic exhibit, in addition to the paranoia that they encourage.

Not so with women. Women are still viewed by the NRA as 'the fairer sex,' basically little scaredy-cats, who, unless they have a CCW (concealed carry weapon) male companion, must substitute a sleek, compact Glock 26 to feel safe maneuvering their shopping cart in the Walmart parking lot (accessorize with a flashbang bra holster for concealed carry, ladies, and ask for a weapon with a pink grip to show you care about women's health).
The NRA's campaign to recruit more women to their ranks is eerily reminiscent of the tobacco industry's push to swell the ranks of the addicted by glamorizing smoking. The industry's sophisticated advertising transformed the image of the woman smoker as decadent slut to emancipated sex symbol, and convinced women that the way to slim down those waistlines was to take up smoking their 'torches of freedom.' And as the waistlines of women smokers slimmed and their ranks swelled, the tobacco industry could proudly proclaim, 'You've come a long way, baby.'
The NRA's campaign to recruit women gun owners has so far been less sophisticated than the tobacco industry's campaign, but given time, the gun industry will succeed in building its female demographic. They'll have a hard time, however, matching the tobacco industry's success in getting women killed -- there's been a 600% increase in smoking-related lung cancer deaths among women -- but give the NRA credit for trying.

Oh, by the way, ladies, more than twice as many women are shot dead by their spouse or intimate other, than by a stranger. So be sure you're armed around your gun-toting man, and do practice your quick draw from that flashbang bra.


Anonymous said...

You don't even know how to spell 'Houston' correctly.

Richard Badalamente said...

Good catch -- thanks.

Richard Badalamente said...