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A different view on pink guns

Though I groused about pink guns yesterday, Joel — who disagrees — has a point.

In fact, his view of guns as (gasp) fashion accessories in some less hoplophobic and less legislated future evoked an image of the cheerfully armed denizens of L. Neil Smith’s North American Confederacy. Now, I can easily see the ladies of The Probability Broach wearing sidearms in pink or purple or paisley or anything else they wanted. Very large, very scary-looking girly guns, but nevertheless, girly. (WolfSong makes a point about the virtue of girly guns, too.)

Still, in this world I’m not yet ready to change my mind. It’s not the pink guns I object to. Or glittery guns. Or guns with Hello Kitty emblems on them. As commentors pointed out, in a sense “girly guns” are no different than guy guns with fancy engraving or staghorn grips. And they’re definitely not as gross as these. Or these. Of course, people ought to be able to decorate their guns to their tastes, however good or bad anybody else might judge them.

It’s the marketing to women as if we were all brainless bimbos that bothers me. In that sense, pushing pink guns at us is a definite step up from the days when marketers expected us to believe our friends would sneer at us because our dishwashers left spots on our stemware. Or that only the right toothpaste could give us sex appeal. And a woman without either “sex appeal” or a good shirtwaist dress, pearl necklace, and high-heeled shoes to do her vacuuming and cooking in was a woman whose existence had no point.

Yes, it’s a step up from all that. But not big step. Not really.


  1. Rick Burner
    Rick Burner March 25, 2011 4:08 am

    The whole pink marketing thing is just a swing of the pendulum.
    The women’s lib movement went much too far for a while: schools and the media were preaching that women were just like men but in a different package.
    Now that it is starting to become acceptable (again) to say that women and men really are different, some people are going a little nuts trying to emphasize the fact. The pendulum will swing back again in 10 or 20 years–and overshoot, again!
    Speaking of shooting (nice segue, eh?) I teach rifle marksmanship. In the past few years I’ve instructed hundreds of people including many girls and young women (>100). Only two brought pink-stocked rifles with them: a nine-year-old with a Ruger 10-22 and a 20-something with an AR-15.
    The pink gun girls are no more typical than was June Cleaver doing housework while wearing pearls.
    But Claire, if you want to carry a pink pistol and wear pearls I say, “go for it!” Ditto if you prefer denim and a camo shotgun. It’s your life.

  2. Pat
    Pat March 25, 2011 4:16 am

    “It’s the marketing to women as if we were all brainless bimbos that bothers me.”

    AMEN, Sister!!

    (And I didn’t mean to come on so _serious_ about it, either. As is often the case, when I say something, I forget to put smiley faces in. But the issue IS large enough that, when people can’t or don’t separate the piddling stuff from the bigger picture, the bigger picture should be pointed out.)

  3. Standard Mischief
    Standard Mischief March 25, 2011 6:56 am

    If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Nothing talks louder than federal reserve notes, (except…never mind, OT.)

    I always guessed there was a market for pink guns for the same reason there’s a market for pink razors. “This one is mine” is a reasonably powerful selling point.

    I bought my first pink razor handle after my ex-SO decided to secretly borrow mine. I had just put in a fresh blade and used it once when she borrowed it. Her legs have several times the surface area of my face, so when I used it next I expected shave #2 and got maybe shave #5 instead. Several little pieces of TP stuck to my face later….

    The other angle to “This one is mine” is being seen in public with a pink gun. No one is going to look at a lady on the firing line and think, “I’ll bet that’s her boyfriend/father/husband’s gun.”

  4. Matt
    Matt March 25, 2011 7:50 am


    I’ll agree with you on the marketing issue, I don’t care much for marketing in general, or marketing that reinforces lousy stereotypes. I have also stopped reading gun articles written by writers that come across that the average person will never really be proficient with guns only proffesionals can do that etc. Yuck.

    Back on the pink gun, as a color, topic. It isn’t a new idea. In the mid to late 60’s High Standard offered their Sentinel line of .22lr DA revolvers with colored frames. I thinnk they offered, pink, blue, gold, maybe do others. The few I have seen did not look as nice as Charter Arms models. I don’t think they were marked towards woman specifically, but it was long ago. Mostly they looked like good guns for pimps, politicians, etc.

  5. bumperwack
    bumperwack March 25, 2011 9:01 am

    guns, guns, and more guns! Make mine “tactical” pink…

  6. Kevin Wilmeth
    Kevin Wilmeth March 25, 2011 10:36 am

    Somehow, sadly, I doubt we’ll have solved the assumptive stereotype problem by the time my now-two-year-old daughter really starts grasping things. It really irritates me as well. Personally, I find simple, straightforward competence, and certainly the modest but obvious confidence that naturally attends it, to be the single most important criterion for earning respect. (As I age, I learn about myself that it is also a singularly required aspect of any substantive sex appeal.)

    Since that’s not likely to be a fixed issue, my intent is to use it as a teaching point. Packaging and presentation does not substitute for character or competence, but it can serve as a useful observational tool for competent characters.

    And it is always a tactical advantage to be underestimated. 🙂

  7. AlanR -
    AlanR - March 25, 2011 11:47 am

    They are simply supplying the demand for pink (and turquoise, etc.) guns. They wouldn’t be making them if there wasn’t a significant demand for them, it’s not cheap to add another SKU to a product line up.

    Kathy Jackson, of, instructor at Firearms Academy of Seattle and author, is interviewed on The Gun Nation podcast here:

    The pink gun discussion begins at 40:15. Like most of us she has a mixed opinion about it.

  8. Scott
    Scott March 25, 2011 12:15 pm

    No argument from me on marketing,though it’s not limited to women. Many-maybe most-marketing tends to treat their target group as slow third graders.
    On decorated guns or knives-to me, that means a laser-engraved grip/stock/handle, not a paint job(tho’ I do have a Space Patrol knife with a comic sealed in transparent handles),but that’s left to the owner to decide.
    Something I’ve noticed with my cousin’s teenagers-marketing is really effective in that age group..especially with electronics/videogames..used to be clothes,but that seems to be surpassed by electronics now.

  9. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal March 25, 2011 1:12 pm

    Several years ago there was a Charles Daly pistol in bright yellow and black that I really liked. I’ve always liked that color combination, though. Would I have a pink gun? Depends. I wouldn’t turn it down if offered to me free, and I might even buy one if it were the right one.

  10. EN
    EN March 25, 2011 1:58 pm

    I’m just glad people are buying guns. I don’t care about the color. Having fired a pink gun it’s as deadly as a black gun. I have green guns, dark earth guns and black guns. The color doesn’t change there nature, not one bit!

  11. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal March 25, 2011 3:48 pm

    You know, the more I think about it… I don’t think I’d really mind a pink gun too much. There are lots of nice pink things I really appreciate. 🙂

    Now, purple is a different story! Ick!

  12. naturegirl
    naturegirl March 25, 2011 8:24 pm

    Maybe I’m missing the allure because I just wasn’t a “pink girl” to begin with…..or maybe because I’m a bit more low key about calling attention to what’s about to happen…..

    I grew up along with mass marketing (exploitation of what people should like/be like), so I have no idea of how life would be without an ad telling me “what every girl should have”…..I remember rebelling against an Easy Bake Oven, so maybe target marketing has it’s virtues by also teaching resistance, LOL……

  13. Jim B.
    Jim B. March 25, 2011 10:16 pm

    It’s all about what people want.

    It really is amazing what one can do with some ingenuity and determination.

    Here’s an article about a man wanting a car so much, he built one, out of junk, when he was homeless.!5785679/homeless-man-builds-his-own-car-out-of-junk

    Don’t laugh. We may need to use such ingenuity ourselves if the economy gets much worse.

  14. The Grey Lady
    The Grey Lady March 26, 2011 5:50 am

    I’m with WolfSong,

    Here in Canerder it is near impossible to get folks to view guns objectively. There is a huge culture of fear and misunderstanding. When i was showing a friend the hunting rifle I was looking at buying on whim I showed her the pink Cammo option. How adorable she said. Now tell me how can you be afraid of something that is adorable? A possible new convert. She is now intrigued and thinking of joining me at the Hunter safety course… For me the PINK normalizes it for skittish women.

    That can’t be bad.

  15. EN
    EN March 26, 2011 12:49 pm

    I showed a pink gun owner this post and the previous one on the subject. I was hoping she would post here but she hasn’t. Perhaps you should try to get that view. Phrases like “the silly sistahhood of the cat” were flowing from her mouth and that’s the kind stuff. Amazingly she doesn’t care what pink gun haters like and informed me that “guns are not the penis you never had”. If she does show up here I want it to be known right now that I’ve not said a single bad word about pink guns or the woman who own them.

  16. Samuel Adams
    Samuel Adams March 26, 2011 6:54 pm

    @ Standard Mischief: “The other angle to “This one is mine” is being seen in public with a pink gun. No one is going to look at a lady on the firing line and think, “I’ll bet that’s her boyfriend/father/husband’s gun.” Now, there’s a stereotype. Two, in fact.

    @ EN: Quite right. *Never* insult anyone with a pink gun. Or any other color, for that matter.

    As a very practical matter, I prefer my guns be dark colored and a matte finish, in case I have to use the thing at night from concealment.

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