Women Gun Owner Numbers Are On the Rise and With Them...the Number of Pink Guns, Of Course
Women and guns; apparently the two go together better than you'd think. In the past few years, more and more women have been buying guns, and the industry has started to take serious notice. In fact there are now quite a few guns marketed specifically for women. Some of these are just what you'd expect: pink and glittery. Gag. But that's not true for all of them. More important than color, "guns for her" feature slimmer grips and firing mechanisms that don't require as much force.
Unsurprisingly, most guns marketed to women play up the self-defense angle. As opposed to the "guns are cool and masculine"-type advertisements more often aimed at men. And this trend isn't only the case in the United States. In India, a state-run gun manufacturer is actually making a gun for women as a way to combat the country's widespread problem of sexual violence, though the gun will most likely be too expensive for the vast majority of women.
But there are other reasons to think that guns won't make women safer. For one thing, women with guns in their homes are three times as likely to die by homicide than women without them. This compared to men, for whom gun ownership only increases their chance of homicide by 27 percent. Obviously, these statistics don't necessarily mean that a woman becomes less safe by buying a gun — maybe she is buying a gun because she feels like she is in danger — but they should give us all some pause.
Still, guns seem to be gaining popularity among women. Just this week, women's rights champion and Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis came out in support of a concealed carry law in her home state. And between 2005 and 2011 the percentage of women who own a firearm nearly doubled. So we may soon be entering a world where pink handguns are more normal than you'd expect.
Personally, I am not a fan of guns, and I probably never will be. But what offends me most about pink and glittery guns isn't the guns themselves, or even the sexist assumptions implicit there. No, what bothers me most about this urge to make guns "girly" is that, in our society, we associate "girly" with trivial. And guns are never trivial. They can be hot pink or leopard print or come with an image of Miley Cyrus sticking her tongue out along the barrel, but they can still kill people. And nothing that can kill people, that does kill people, every single day, should ever be trivialized.
More women are buying guns, but like with any other product, women don't need something to be pink to find it attractive. Manufacturers don't need to, and what's more shouldn't, try to make guns into something cute to cater to this new market. A woman who wants a guns wants a deadly weapon. There's no reason to ever make those deadly weapons seem anything less than what they are.